Sketchnote Tools and Resources

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 Digital Sketchnotes for Visualizing Learning

Interested in using digital sketchnotes either personally or with your students, but don’t know how to get started? This session will share easy ideas and resources to quickly begin using sketchnotes in your classroom. Participants will explore what a sketchnote is and why research identifies it as a powerful learning strategy to organize and document thinking, ideas, reading, and listening. They will learn about the basic components of a sketchnote and tools/apps needed/helpful to begin creating digital sketchnotes on an iPad with their students.  They will discover resources, lessons, video tutorials, and examples from the presenter and her students (including a complete sketchnote course in iTunesU) on which will equip them to launch sketchnoting in their classroom. Bring your iPad or tablet and get ready to sketch!

Here are resources for the session:
**Participants should have a tablet and stylus if you wish to participate in this session.
** Also have a drawing app downloaded onto your tablet. Suggested apps:

iOS : You can use the drawing features in the Apple Notes app

Tayasui Sketches - recommended free app! I currently use Tayasui Sketches Pro version for most of my sketchnotes.

            Paper53 (free)

Android: Autodesk Sketchbook or

Windows: Autodesk Sketchbook or


I am thrilled that my free sketchnote course has been published via Apple Distinguished Educators Lessons for the Classroom series. It is a complete curriculum for learners of all ages (adults and students) and contains app suggestions, video tutorials, and lesson suggestions. It contains everything you or your students need to get started with using sketchnotes!


I joined with a  group of Apple Distinguished Educators at the ADE Institute in Berlin in July 2016 to develop a multitouch book about using sketchnotes in education. The book is available for free download and gives background, examples, and hints from educator sketchnotes.

Want to learn more?  - I love working with educators to help them explore how to effectively use iPads and other technology tools to leverage learning and creativity in their classroom. Click here for more information on working with me.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Follow me on Twitter @karlyb and Instagram @karlyb

My Videos:
Sketchnote Elements - video overview geared for students, lasts seven minutes, perfect way to begin, covers what, why, elements
Sketchnote Overview - covers the what, why (6 minutes)
Sketchnote Elements - covers the parts of a sketchnote
Digital Sketchnotes for Visualizing Learning Youtube Playlist - all my tutorial videos collected in one list for easy viewing, includes app tutorials!

My App Tutorial Videos:
Sketchbook X (Express)
Tayasui Sketches
Tayasui Sketches 2 Pro
Procreate Advanced Tricks
Using Layers in Sketchnotes
Over/Under Tools
Self Portrait Sketchnote Tutorial

Lessons Examples from my Students:
NEW 10/17! Middle School Fiction/Non Fiction Sketchnotes
NEW 10/17! Video Clip of Student Discussing Benefits of Sketchnotes
Middle Pages Blog Post showing examples and comments from middle schoolers
More Sermon Sketchnotes - from Middle Schoolers
PBS World Explorer Video Sketchnotes - from Middle Schoolers
Journal Sketchnotes - from 6th graders
Sketchnotes from Chapel - from 6th graders
Exploring Space - from 2nd graders
Non-fiction Sketchnotes "The Bison of Caprock Canyon" - from 4th graders

Predicting Weather Sketchnotes - from 4th graders
Sketchnotes with Africa videos from Discovery Streaming - from 6th graders
Student Sketchnotes across Subject Areas - from middle schoolers
How To Sketchnotes - from 6th graders

My Example Resources:
Flickr Collection of My Sketchnotes - both conference and sermon notes
Sermon Sketchnotes 2017 - all my sketchnotes from the year compiled in online ebook form
My Pinterest Pins on Visual Notetaking - many examples, ideas, resources, inspiration! 
Visual Notetaking with the Flipink App - personal post on how I use this app for sermon sketchnotes

K12 Online Conference 2015 - October 26, 2015

Here is my Keynote session "Let's Draw Some Attention: Digital Sketchnotes for Learning" from the "Beyond the Core: Arts and More" strand of the 2015 K12 Online conference.

Here is my presentation for my sketchnote session for the MACUL conference in March 2015.

 Books: Here are the titles of some books that I have found inspiring as I work to develop my sketchnote skills:
The Sketchnote Handbook  by Mike Rohde (a must have!)
The Sketchnote Workbook: Advanced techniques by Mike Rohde
Visual Note-Taking for Educators by Wendi Pillars - excellent book that examines sketchnotes from an educational perspective
The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown
Sketchnotes for Educators - from Sylvia Duckworth
 Additional Videos:
Sunni Brown's TED talk: Doodler's Unite (note: some content inappropriate for students)
Drawing In Class - another TED talk by Rachel Smith
The Higher Purpose of Doodling - from CBS Sunday Morning
How to Make 
Toast - using sketches for design process, TED talk from Tom Wujec
 Stylus Recommendations:
Inexpensive Stylus - for student use
Apple Pencil - a must have for drawing on an iPad Pro!  Currently the stylus that I am using!
Apple Pencil Cozy - keeps the top of your Apple Pencil attached!
Pencil - syncs with Paper53 and Procreate apps, pressure sensitive, works without sync in any app, easy flow!
Lynktec Apex Fine Point Stylus - A good fine point stylus for writing. See my review here.
Sensu Brush - amazing brush that works on the iPad!
Sensu Solo Brush - another less expensive option (I have not tried it)
Adonit Jot Pro Stylus - for fine lines, writing
 Research/Articles Related to Sketchnotes:
**Get Students Creating with Sketchnotes - ISTE article on how I use sketchnotes with my students
The Science of Drawing and Memory - Edutopia (article)
The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard
 (study abstract)
The Lowdown on Longhand: How Writing by Hand Benefits the Brain (article)
Taking Notes: Is the Pen Still Mightier than the Keyboard (article)
What Does Doodling Do? (study abstract)
The Drawing Effect: Evidence for Reliable and Robust Memory Effects in Free Recall (study abstract)
The Benefits of Doodling and Sketchnotes in the Classroom (article)
Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick (article)
6 Ways Doodling Can Make You Smarter, Happier, and More Productive (article)
"Picting", not Writing, is the Literacy of Today's Youth (article)
Educators Who Sketchnote: follow these educators on Twitter for inspiration
@Braddo - Brad Ovenell-Carter
@rockourworld - Carol Anne McGuire
@sylviaduckworth - Sylvia Duckworth
@langwitches - Silvia Tolisano
@rebezuniga - Rebeca Zuñiga
@Sharron_Drummond - Sharon Drummond
@MrsKemper - Mary Kemper
@jmattmiller - Matt Miller
@itsallaboutart - Nicki Hambelton
@ProfVigeant - Margot Vigeant
@lancslassrach - Rachel Smith
@TannyMcG - Tanny McGregor, great ideas to use sketchnotes with literacy
Also, follow the hashtags #sketchnotes #sketchnote #edusketch
Hybrid Sketchnotes: links to creative ideas to combine sketchnotes with other apps and/or software:
iBooks Author + audio + sketchnotes: Carol Anne McGuire's Sketching the Sermon book
Thinklink + sketchnotes: Sylvia Duckworth
Tellagami + sketchnotes: Greg Kulowiec
Photos + sketchnotes: Greg Kulowiec
Other Resources:
Sketchnote Element Handout - from Carole Anne McGuire
Sketchnotes for Beginners (on the iPad) - presentation from Sylvia Duckworth
Sketchnoting for Learning - presentation from Sylvia Tolisana
How to Get Started with Sketchnoting - resources from Vicki Davis
Sketchnoting in Education - resources from Kathy Shrock
Sketch "Quotes" - article from Heather Marshall/Middle School Minds with great examples

App Suggestions/Overview
 Tayasui Sketches (free/in app purchases for additional tools and layers)
 An excellent free option for student use! 
Tayasui Sketches Pro (paid) is my current personal favorite app for sketchnotes!
  • Realistic looking tools include ink, watercolor, pencil, marker, and crayon
  • Cool tool that draws shapes filled with color or pattern
  • Background lines/grid/paper texture
  • Customize color palette
  • Paid features include layers and ability to customize tool width and transparency, shapes, and text
  • Undo gesture works easily,  w/paid version can add as icon to tools
  • New tools added to Pro Version, including "knife" that lets you cut/paste areas of your sketch!
  • Ink tool makes large dots (difficult to dot your "i")
  • Must purchase to customize tools, add layers
  • IMPORTANT: Sometimes the app locks up, you will need to delete it and reinstall! (save all drawings to camera roll!)

 Autodesk Sketchbook (free, in app purchase for pro tools)
  • Multiple drawing tools, can adjust size, color, transparency
  • Undo tool
  • Insert photos, add simple text, import images
  • 3 free layers in free version
  • Additional tools and layers available for purchase in app Pro Version
  • Do not like the "look" of some of the tools, especially the paint
  • Helpful paint bucket tool no longer available in free version
  • Note: former versions of SketchbookX and Sketchbook Pro no longer available on iTunes

ProCreate (paid) - another personal favorite for creating sketchnotes!
  • Exceptional variety of drawing and painting tools, can adjust size, color, transparency
  • Layers, can select, resize, and move elements in each layer
  • Lasso tool to select and resize elements within a layer
  • Can add and write over images
  • Color drop tool to fill shapes
  • Can easily create video that documents the drawing process
  • No text
  • Variety of tools may be too much for beginners
  • Cost

 Paper53 (now all tools are free!)
  • Realistic tools that easily flow while drawing
  • Favorite app of artists and creatives
  • Can fill background with solid color
  • Use with the Pencil styus
  • Pinch to zoom in and undo button! (easier than the previous gestures)
  • Add photos and text checklists!
  • Cannot adjust line size or transparency (some people like this, but I do not)
  • No bucket fill, layers
  • Sync with Pencil stylus does not always work
  • Cannot type on actual drawing
  • Need account to use, you may be able to bypass this step

Adobe Photoshop Sketch (free)
  • Realistic pencil, paint, marker, ink tools
  • Can customize tools for size, color, and transparency
  • Add photos, layers, grid, shapes
  • Undo button or gestures
  • Must have Adobe account to use
  • No text

 For Younger Students, I suggest these apps
  • Hello Crayons (free) - simplest interface for PreK - 1st
  • Drawing Pad (paid) - easy interface, beautiful realistic drawing tools, also can add text
  • Drawing Box Free - another good free option with textured tools
 I have only created sketchnotes using my iPad,
but here are some possible suggestions for creating sketchnotes with other kinds of tablets:
Apps for Android Autodesk Sketchbook                     Sketch (Sony Mobile)
Bamboo Paper                                Paint Free
Microsoft One Note
Apps for WindowsAutodesk Sketchbook                     Fresh Paint
Microsoft One Note                         Sketchable