Apologies for not publishing this sooner. Back in April I ran my 3rd Sketchnote workshop. I will be running this workshop for the final time on Monday 14th June 12pm (UK time). Click here for more details.

I want to thank the following participants who were brave enough to share their creations on twitter:

Exercise 1 – Draw A Drink

I always open up with workshop with a simple drawing exercise. This is to help people develop the confidence to draw something simple and share it, no matter how bad they think the drawing is (which it isn’t). Drawings on sketchnotes don’t have to be detailed or perfect – a simple, recognizable drawing is enough to get your point across.

Last time, I asked everyone to draw a tree. Second workshop I asked everyone to draw a castle. This session was just a week before the pubs reopened in the UK so I decided that drinks should be the subject for this exercise. Participants could choose any drink they wanted. It could be a cocktail, a pint of beer, or something non-alcoholic like a cup of tea or coffee.

One tip I always give people when trying to draw is to quickly google some images to give you some inspiration on how to draw it. The drawing can be as simple or detailed as you want (I usually prefer simple).

Here are some of the pictures that were shared:

Exercise 2 – 99 Second Talks

The next exercise is designed to help people practice note taking skills. I often use lightning talks (short talks that are between 1 to 10 minutes long) to practice taking notes. Its a great way to improve your listening skills, and get used to identifying the key points rather than attempting to write everything down.

For this exercise, we listened to a 99 second talk. Everyone was asked to write down some notes as they listened to the talk. At this point, we weren’t creating sketchnotes. The aim was to write down some basic notes without worrying about making them look good.

The 99 second talk I chose for this exercise was given by Antonella at TestBash Netherlands 2020. You can watch this talk here, and its the first 99 second talk of the session.

Exercise 3 – Tell A Story

If you are not confident at drawing pictures, creating a sketchnote with pictures can be a challenge. I’ve often said that if you think you can’t draw, then don’t draw. There is nothing wrong with a sketchnote that only contains text. Focus more on borders and colour to make your sketchnotes look attractive.

However, I strongly believe that everyone can draw. Just because you are not Rembrandt or Frida Kahlo doesn’t mean that you can’t draw. Drawings included in sketchnotes don’t need to be detailed or elaborate. Simple and basic drawings can be just as useful for demonstrating an important piece of information.

I developed this exercise to encourage participants to have a little fun with their drawings. Develop a simple story using stick figures. For a little inspiration, it is useful to draw an obstacle that the stick person has to overcome.

Here are some of the stories that people shared:

Discussion – How would you ‘draw’ Exploratory Testing?

Generating ideas of fun drawings to accompany sketchnotes can be a challenge, especially with something like software testing which doesn’t have much of a physical form. I creating an exercise where people discuss how to draw a software testing concept. For this, I chose ‘exploratory testing’?

I setup a MetroRetro board asking people to add Post-its to the board. Questions I asked people to consider included:

  • What is the literal explanation for Exploratory Testing?
  • What is Exploratory Testing like?
  • What is Exploratory Testing not like?

Answers to these 3 questions can then be used to identify drawing ideas.

Suggestions included:

  • Map exploration, specifically an incomplete map
  • Several paths leading from a starting point
  • Trees, following different branches
  • Something exploring a forest with different tools such as a magnifying glass or map.

Finally, I asked those attending to use these ideas to ‘draw exploratory testing’. Here are some of the drawings:

Exercise 4 – Creating a Sketchnote

For the final exercise, we created our own sketchnote on a topic of our choice. I love that people choose for this exercise.

This is the process I follow when creating a sketchnote:

  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.


While each workshop will follow a similar format, I have planned different exercises for each one. So, even if you’ve already attended one of my workshops, you might still enjoy taking part a 2nd time.

99 Second Talk round at TestBash Manchester 2020

Participants were encouraged to share their creations either on Twitter using #MOTSketchnoteWorkshop. You can view these here:

Notes from the 1st and 2nd sketchnote workshop that I ran: