Sketchnoting in Reverse

Sketchnoting in Reverse

A little while ago I was introduced to the idea of sketchnoting by Mike Rohde and the sketchnote army website.


I bought Mike's book and I've been using the method for taking notes in presentations and during training sessions. I found it to be a great tool for retaining information and for refreshing your memory once an event is long in the past.

A few weeks ago, I needed to do a presentation on deliberate practice, TDD and using cyber-dojo as a TDD platform.

I really wanted to spend most of the session live coding a demo with my editor window on the screen rather than inflicting death by Powerpoint on the audience. My problem was I didn't like the idea of following a written script and I didn't have a presentation to follow in case I got lost in the middle.

I hit on the idea of using the sketchnote concept in reverse; sketching out the main areas I want to discuss beforehand and use the sketch as reference material to drive my talk instead of a script. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and quick glances at the completed sketch meant I was able to keep my place in the presentation very easily and without dropping out of "live coding" mode.

I tweeted my idea to Mike and he responded asking me to share.


I wasn't really prepared for this. My sketch was meant for my eyes only (I hid it during the presentation so no-one would be distracted by it) but in the interests of sharing, here it is:

Original sketchnote

Feedback from the session suggests I made the right choice, so it's something I'm going to continue. I'm happy with how it turned out, even if it's not the most elegant or elaborate it did the job and I would use it again to give the same presentation.


The original sketchnote got damaged when my moleskine notebook got wet so I redid it and enhanced it based on feedback after giving the talk a few more times.

Here's a cleaned up scanned image of the new version of the sketchnote:

Update sketchnote

Update 2

I had this approach to writing presentations featured at Sketchnote Army