Healthy sketches start with good handwriting


Happy #Inktober and #thinktober! Grab a notebook and juicy pen (or your favorite app + stylus) and scribble a little today.

Better yet, practice handwriting for the next couple days.

Good, legible handwriting goes a long way in any visual thinking exercise. Every image you sketch (on paper or on a tablet) probably has annotation and labels of some kind, and if you/your audience can’t read it then those notes are doomed to be discarded!

I think it's so important that I put it at the foundation of the "food pyramid" for visual notetaking that I use in my workshops (pictured). About 80% of the material in my own visual notes is actually handwriting or lettering.

Tips for improving your handwriting:

  • Slow down and draw each letter
  • Space your letters a little more than usual
  • Get some good, ol' fashioned practice sheets.

Once your handwriting is legible, add a few ingredients to break up large blocks of text:

  • Bullets in different shapes, sizes, colors
  • Color text
  • Play with CASE for emphasis
  • Highlight or draw colored boxes around words and phrases
  • Try writing your own version of bold or italic

Even if you're not an avid sketchnoter and mostly take written notes, studies suggest we remember and understand more when taking notes longhand.