Sketchnote Revolution: Michael Rohde & Carolyn Sewell

I am a blog delinquent for waiting this long to post. Need to pick up the momentum. Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture on the art and practice of sketching nothing hosted by the Art Directors Club of Metro Washington (ADCMW). The guest speaker was Michael Rohde, a sketchnote pro who started Sketchnote Army, an online community for sketchnoters around the word. Sketchnoting is a design style I really dig because of its humanist nature and the fact that the messages are simplified by use of pictures and symbols. In this digital age, it’s nice to see elements of the human hand.

I found Michael’s story to be impressive on a number of levels: he has a beautiful sketchnote style, he has managed to build a career doing what he loves, and he’s taken a “WE” approach to this rediscovered artform by promoting/helping other designers. As a new designer it was also nice to be reminded that good design takes time and that everyone gets dry spells.

One of Michael’s designs I adore is on this SXSW Tote Bag…

Photo credit:

Wed night was a double whammy because in addition to being exposed to Michael’s work, I met another graphic artist, Carolyn Sewell, who attended the event. Carolyn is a DC-based graphic designer and sketchnote artist who I recently discovered and quickly came to admire. Her vivacious personality, straight forward attitude, and boundless humor comes through in her designs, which make hers designs (that I’ve seen) truly unique, an element that’s hard to attain and sustain in this field. Her Woolly Mammoth Theatre posters demonstrate how using simple form or color make for a strong visual message (often times I want to throw everything into my designs!). As far as sketchnoting, I love the clever and playful fonts Carolyn creates in her postcard series, Postcards to My Parents. Get ready to laugh because the messages, which she explained to me are a compilation of quotes from friends, are seriously hilarious. Among my favorite…”I’m calling in fat tomorrow.”


One thought on “Sketchnote Revolution: Michael Rohde & Carolyn Sewell

  1. Kate says:

    I saw that you are interested in Sketchnoting. I’ve been working on it myself for about 4 years but still consider myself pretty much of a newbie. I also love (and aspire to) Mike and Carolyn’s work who are absolutely first tier Sketchnoters par excellence.
    You might also like Eva Lotta’s work if you haven’t seen it.

    I’ve been trying to capture the practice — like how do you start. If you’re interested, there’s a bit on my own wordpress blog.

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