Visual Library cards

Creating the cards itself started as a practice exercise for expanding my symbolic visual vocabulary, and thus also functions as an external visual library. A deck of icon cards can be used in varying ways, and this set of cards was created in order to function as an icebreaker exercise for a workshop.


Icebreaker exercise with icon cards

Participants were asked to choose the icons they found most represented the answer to specific questions. Thus we got the participant to start thinking about the topic for the workshop before the agenda was even presented. The icons on this deck of cards may seem random, but are chosen because they have different typical symbolic meanings attached to them. Asking the participants to choose two or more cards, created a dynamic between the cards that further makes the participant think creatively. It is important to get the participants to explain with their own words why they have chosen their cards.

My current collection is 100+ cards and growing.


First review: Ipad pro 12,9″ for live sketchnoting

This blogpost is my first review of working on the ipad pro for live sketchnoting. After having played around a bit with procreate, adobe sketch, adobe draw, and a couple less known apps, I chose Adobe draw for my first real practice with live digital sketchnotes.

Speed and accuracy:
When I draw or do illustrations, the precision is great and I love the ipad pro as a tool. The moment I try to go as fast as I do when I sketchnote live, my writing is terrible and I have much less control of my sketches than I am used to having on paper. I tried adding a screen protector in order to create more friction, but I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Hopefully more practice will. As it is now, my writing especially looks very messy. I will get back in a month when I am more familiar with it.

Separate layers required in order to move or resize an element:
In order to be able to move an element or change its size, I need to have it on its own layer. I can’t just zoom in an select it with a tool and move it somewhere else, which makes layouting digitally just as difficult as in my analogue sketchbook with ink – Unless I make each element/section in its own layers. This workflow will take some getting used to. Making sure to check which layer I am in before I sketch, switching between them (as a person who is used to auto select in photoshop) is a PAIN. I cannot count the number of times where I had to duplicate a layer and manually separate them by deleting the wrong part of each layer. This especially is a problem if I use one document for several different notes, where I need to be able to hide the notes that are on different topics.

Limited number of layers available:
I quickly found out that there is a limited number of layers available, and the template I created used 5 layers alone.

Creating my sketchnote template:
In my analogue sketchbook I usually have a similar layout of a few elements like my logo, the border, the headline, space for the speakers name and a speaker quote. I figured that when going digital I could reuse these elements and dublicate the template. This also saves me time choosing my preferred pen settings, as it resets to its default collection when I open a new document.

My choosen pen settings:
I am still playing around with it, but I find using the 4 available pen slots for 4 different purposes provides me with the flexibility I need. The first pen is for general outlining, the second is better for writing headlines, the third is for grey shadows, the fourth is for coloured headlines. Keeping the outlining the same thickness will give a more unified and simplistic look.

I still keep forgetting I am able to zoom in and out:
I will need to test out an A3 format next, where I zoom in on each part I am creating while sketching. I think this will provide me with the space I am lacking at the moment. For a long time I have been used to the same sketchbook format.