Sketchnoting as a #GrowthMindset Journey

A couple of colleagues and I are facilitating a full-day sketchnoting workshop, and as an introduction, we plan to share our sketchnoting journey, so I wanted to take time to reflect and pick out key steps on my path. By the way, I have no art background, and I feel like I'm quite under-qualified to "lead" this session, but I'm working with fantastic colleagues, and we've had a great time planning the workshop.

I discovered sketchnotes in the winter of 2014, and I've been trying them off and on since then. I would like to be more consistent with my practice, so this post will also serve as my attempt to become more accountable. 😉

After I learned about Carol Dweck's work, I always shared the concept of mindset with my students. (Check out all of my posts about mindset.) That particular year, however, my students really struggled with the ideas of failure and risk-taking. I thought if I took up the practice of sketchnoting and shared my work with my students, I could show them my attempts and we could document my improvement over time. I still say, "I'm not an artist," and I continue to have a pretty fixed mindset about it, but I'm determined to practice what I preach!

I found a few sketchnoting resources and started practicing. I believe that's when Sylvia Duckworth started freely sharing her sketches too, so she has inspired me for many years!

At the same time, one of my teammates was finishing her dissertation (basically about notetaking and retention techniques) and she asked if we could try some visual thinking maps with our students. YES, please! One of our units was extra-heavy with vocabulary, so that's where we started. We asked the students to create graphic organizers/sketchnotes to show the relationships between the terms and concepts in the unit. Here's the only sample I saved (and it wasn't even my student) but I loved this student's design and use of colors.

At the end of that school year, I transitioned to my current job, and my interest in sketchnoting grew. Sketchnoting was the subject of my "Genius Hour" project in 2015, and I shared one of my very first sketchnotes with session participants that fall.
Since 2014, I watched countless videos and webinars about sketchnote techniques and tools. I read books, blogposts, and followed Twitter hashtags. I attended sketchnoting sessions at TCEA, ISTE, and at edcamps.

My sketchnote turning point was participating in the 2017 #sketch50 Twitter challenge. I completed all 50 prompts (on time!), learned new techniques, and grew my PLN. The daily prompts were perfect brain breaks, and every day, I looked forward to creating during lunch or as a relaxation activity after work. Here's my entire album of sketches, and it's so fun for me to see the growth and improvement in my sketches.

Another key from 2017 was participating in #ClassyGraphics. That course taught me about colors, fonts, and design, which really helped with my sketchnotes, too.

For the 2018 #sketch50 challenge, the focus was creating quick sketches and #ProcessOverPretty. I'm working to complete more quick sketches, but I still like to take a bit more time with my sketchnotes.

In 2018, I took #ClassyVideos and the subject of one of my earliest videos was a quick overview of my sketchnote journey.

Over the years, I have sketchnoted blog posts, TED talks, podcasts, personal learning, and books. I also try to sketch workshops, but I'm much better at creating sketches as reflections and to synthesize my work, rather than real-time sketching. I've included a few of my sketchnotes in past blog posts, and another goal is to start sketchnoting our podcast episodes. (We'll see.)

For 2019, I have 19 goals ("19 for '19") and one goal is to master 50 sketchnote icons. The experts say you should have 100 icons in your visual vocabulary, and I'm about a quarter of the way there. 😳

A sketchnoting highlight of 2019 was to host Sylvia Duckworth at Region 10 for a full-day workshop, so I learned from the best!

I continue to have a #growthmindset about my sketchnoting, and I'm always learning!

If you want to see the images that are too tiny to see in my Sketchnote Journey graphic, here's the entire album.