Here’s the course I failed

A couple of years ago when the concept of Sketchnoting was new, I was bound and determined to learn how to do them.

I started small; scribbling things on my iPad.  The results varied between childish and embarrassing with a severe tilt towards embarrassing.

I’m not sure what I would do with sketchnoting but I had a couple of ideas that I think would present well nicely using this artform.

I tried; I really did.  

I tried various applications; my daughter bought me a stylus for my birthday; I had a number of other styluses that I’d obtained from here and there but nothing seemed to improve when I was done.  I reverted to my finger.  I’m now convinced that I have a defective finger.

At a Bring IT, Together conference a couple of years ago, I had my chance to learn in the class of the master – Sylvia Duckworth.  I still remember it.  I sat in the front row, eager to learn.  My friend Colleen Rose sat next to me.  I should have known there that I was out of my league.  I’m convinced that when Colleen breathes out in the cold northern Ontario air, it is a beautiful piece of art.

So, I followed Sylvia’s instructions to the letter.

The results were still embarrassing.

The best, positive takeaway is now my Twitter avatar.  Colleen drew it as I tried my best to learn.

I guess that I need to keep on keeping on.

Fortunately, Sylvia has made her presentation available for us to enjoy in the form of a Google Slides presentation.

I’ll keep at it.

Maybe someday I’ll surprise myself.

In the meantime, we can all enjoy her lengthy slideshow here.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: Follow me on Twitter: I'm bookmarking things at:

One thought on “Here’s the course I failed

  1. Good morning, Doug!

    A few thoughts, in the hope of offering encouragement and motivation …

    1) Colleen teaches art, so she has spent a chunk of time at this.
    2) 10, 000 hours is all it takes.
    3) How do you get to Massey Hall? Practice, practice, practice. (Canadian version)
    4) Start playing Draw Something with @aforgrave again. Remember how you advanced your drawing skills when playing that game — you had over 600 consecutive and successfully identified drawings when that programming bug busted our streak.
    5) Here’s a 5-minute Ignite presentation by Sunni Brown:
    6) Here’s Sunni Brown’s website:
    7) How to get Started with Sketchnoting:
    8) Remember that playing Draw Something with @aforgrave is good practice in thinking about the key characteristics you need to draw to represent an idea.
    9) How I Teach Sketchnoting by Royan Lee (he also has a link to his google site about Sketchnoting)
    10) Check out this free eBook featuring Ontario’s Sharon Drummond and some other ADEs:
    11) Remember that you only truly fail a course when you stop trying to pass …
    12) Maybe this free chapter from Mike Rhode’s “The Sketchnoting Handbook” will offer some valuable starting points ..
    13) Every sketchnoter has their own style — you just need to allow your style to emerge.
    14) Did I mention playing Draw Something?
    15) Perhaps you want to consider Draw, Sketch, Sketchnote, or Visualize as your choice for your #onewordONT word for 2017. Let @jacbalen know!


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