I’ve just finished running my first ever online workshop about sketchnoting. I wanted this to be an interactive workshop, and encourage people to share what they managed to create from the workshop. Easier said than done when the workshop is being run online and I can’t actually see the people taking part. Fortunately, several people were brave enough to share on the Club.

Exercise 1 – Draw A Tree

The reason I wanted to run this workshop was because I wanted to get people drawing and sharing their sketch-notes. This first exercise was designed to encourage everyone to draw something simple, and develop the confidence to share what they draw.

Here are some of the pictures that were shared:

Exercise 2 – 99 Second Talks

For the next exercise, we took notes as we listened to some 99 second talks. This exercise was designed to improve our general note taking skills. We weren’t creating any sketch-notes at this point. I’ve said before that I don’t sketchnote live. I write rough notes first, and then adapt them into sketchnotes. I practice my note-taking skills by listening to 99 second talks.

For this exercise, I create a metro retro board and asked people to either post a picture of their notes on The Club or add a post-it to the board with some notes about the talk.

In total, we listened to 3 99 second talks:

Who Found the Bug? – By Louise (Me)

You can watch this talk yourself by listening to the first 99 second talk round from Test Bash Home, at point 2:30 in the video.

3 Reasons Testers Shouldn’t Learn To Code – By Lee (The Pirate Tester)

You can watch this talk by listening to the second 99 second talk round from Test Bash Home. This was the first talk of the video.

Optimism and Testing – By Jen

You can watch this talk by listening to the second 99 second talk round from Test Bash Home. This was the second talk of the video.

Exercise 3 – Tell A Story

If you are not confident at drawing pictures, creating a sketchnote with pictures can be a challenge. There is nothing wrong with a sketchnote that only contains text. If you do decide to add drawings, then they can be as simple as you need them to be. For this exercise, I asked everyone to draw a simple picture that tells a story.

Exercise 4 – Creating a Sketchnote

For the final exercise, we created our own sketchnote on a topic of our choice. I loved the variety of topics that came up. Some chose We did this in stages:

  1. Take a blank sheet of paper, and add a header (include date, name, event and any other important details).
  2. Add details to the sketchnote, in the form of small blocks of text.
  3. Draw boxes around each detail (or group of details)
  4. Add pictures and colours to make the sketchnote look awesome.


Ania was unable to attend the live workshop, but did find time to watch the recording. I hope this was just as informative as the real thing. During the event, I became conscious that the event was being recorded so when responding to comments in the chat, I tried to include the original comment in my response – although I know there were several occasions when I forgot to do this.

Mindmapping is a useful method for creating sketchnotes. They include brief notes about the talk, and are presented in a visual format. Here are Ania’s notes from the talk, presented in the form of a mindmap.

Great work Ania!

Final Thoughts…

It was so unnerving to give a talk without being able to see everyone else who was taking part. I really want to thank those who were brave enough to share their creations on The Club. It really helped me when running the workshop as I felt I could interact better with those taking part.

For those who were unable to attend this workshop, I will be giving the talk again:

Can’t wait until the next workshop. I’ve got some different exercises planned for future workshops.