Sketchnoting as a Mindfulness Practice

I began the Solano County GAFE Summit with my sketchbook and tweeting out my slightly blurry sketchnotes following Lise Galuga's opening keynote called, "Growing Up Google." Little did I know how that tweet would change my GAFE Summit experience.

Since beginning taking visual notes more than a year ago, it's always frightening to share with others especially keynote speakers. Knowing the time and effort speakers put into their presentations, it's scary to share something that couldn't be created without the speaker but in which the speaker is not the intended audience. I think visually and regularly taking visual notes helps me process information. So, it was a new experience when Lise wanted to meet me, take a picture together and see my other sketchnotes. We connected the next morning and the learning began.

 Pictures were taken, previous sketchnotes were reviewed, and conversation continued. The conversation quickly evolved into the idea of creating a time-lapse video on Sunday morning's Keynote by Roni Habib. Tables were swapped, apps were downloaded and tripod was set up and before I knew it my cell phone was capturing images every 30 seconds during the Keynote while focused on my sketchbook.

Ironically, a major theme of Habib's keynote address was the importance of being mindful and being present. It's so easy now to do things mindlessly. The presence of a camera created heightened awareness of my process and choices. I was more aware of the colors and images I was using. Regardless of the camera, that's what I appreciate about sketchnoting. It is a practice that allows me to be more mindful as I consume information whether that is from a book or from a live presentation. I can take something I read, see, or hear and make it my own through a very deliberate practice.

I had a full-circle moment during the last session as I presenting on Google Drawing. I was sharing a vector portrait I created and a teacher asked how long it took to complete. I found myself not answering the question directly but rather explaining how when I work on these projects everything else drops away. I am present in the moment and my mind is clear. It is my mindfulness practice.

Wondering about the time-lapse video? Here's the raw footage. I'm not done with this yet. There's another blog post or two about this process and perhaps even a workshop session in my future. Stay tuned.