SICB Annual Meeting 2017
January 4-8, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Workshop: Sketch Your Conference Notes! A Hands-on Visual Note-taking Workshop

January 5, 2017, 12:00-1:30pm (brownbag), Room 222

Sketchnoting, also known as visual note taking, is the practice of sketching or doodling notes while listening to a lecture with the purpose of summarizing or recording key concepts visually. Visual note taking is not detailed scientific illustration! The process of listening, identifying key points, and quickly translating them into a visual story on paper 1) increases focus during presentations, 2) helps in the retention and recollection of key concepts and complex scientific ideas, 3) creates a visual dialogue to communicate and share what was learned with the broader community, and 4) is fun! This is an introductory level workshop where you will learn about the power of visuals for learning and communication, practice simple sketching techniques, explore how fonts, colors, design and layout can help get your message across effectively, and how to overcome the challenges of time and complex material. We will also talk about different ways to sketch (from pens and watercolors to digital) and tips for building your sketching tool-kit. This hands-on workshop will include time to practice new techniques and a chance to create your first sketchnote!

Intended Audience:

This workshop is intended for graduate students, postdocs, and research faculty who have an interest in visually capturing challenging concepts and key points quickly during lectures or conference talks. No artistic skills necessary, just the desire to visually communicate more efficiently and effectively!


Shayle Matsuda is a science communicator and PhD student at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He has been watercolor sketchnoting for three years (you can check out his past three years of SICB conference notes on Twitter @wrong_whale). He is a science storyteller (, Story Collider, Nerd Nite), event host (Science, Neat, ChemLab: Chemistry lessons behind the bar), and part of the ComSciCon organizing committee (the National Communicating Science Workshop for STEM graduate students).

What you’ll learn:

• Conquer your fear of drawing!

• Turn complex concepts into visual stories quickly

• Tricks for visual storytelling

• Create a visually engaging page

• The power of fonts and colors for emphasis

• Build your sketchnotes toolkit

• Practice live sketchnoting