new pen has arrived. Expect pictures and a review sometime (next week?)

Theory I’m testing out: The quest for “finding my voice/style” in creative fields is usually a distraction. You have a style, you just can’t identify it and once you’ve identified it, you’ll probably try to change it.

A Sketchnote Love Letter to Aeropress

I love my aeropress. It’s a great way to get good coffee, doesn’t take much space and has a fun, kinetic experience (press that plunger!) So I made a sketchnote love letter to mine.

Can a love letter have a complain (my issues with removing coffee grinds?) regardless, I wanted to show my simple technique for using an aeropress. It’s not the sort of thing that would win me any of these aeropress championships, but it works for me.

About the sketchnote

I used my leuchttrum notebook and two Faber castell pens in small and 1.5 for most of the sketchnote. I also used a Faber Castell brush pen in black for the brush letter “Enjoy” and a grey one for some shadows. I wanted to try a slightly different headline style for the main item. I didn’t spend too much time on the text within the sketchnote but the main headline and images were more important to me.

Is it even possible to buy a course on Udemy for full price? (related: Is it possible to buy a good course on Udemy)

A game for Monday (very easy for iOS users). Go and count your open tabs. In iOS, if you long press on the tab button a dialog box opens with the option to “close all tabs”. I had 165 open on my iPad 🤪 now I have 0

Setting aside old and proven jokes about Work Chat and socks, most of the criticism for Evernote stems from this very issue: the company has always been too slow in listening to user feedback and bringing feature parity across platforms. - Federico Viticci In Club MacStories.

That’s a good summary of the main issue with Evernote and one of the things which annoys me about some of the continued criticism which highlights when people haven’t used the app. It’s much better, but still not consistent. I perhaps ought to shift to DEVONthink or something similar (no, not bear) but Evernote still works for me (thank you Polish regional pricing).

Sketchnote - Plan Your Week with the Accidental Creative

The Accidental Creative podcast is one of those which I frequently return to despite it often being only Todd Henry talking. I love that it isn’t overly long and often has practical tips for creativity.

In a recent episode, Todd shared how he plans his week and the weekly planner he used. I liked many of the ideas he shared and knew I wanted to turn them into a sketchnote. So I found a copy of his planner (which you can buy) imported it into Procreate, and added some notes around the side.

This kind of sketchnoting – with images imported and highlighted – is a style I don’t often use but is highly useful. It adds the real object you are referencing, but allows you to add your notes and comments. You can create quick references cards to return to and making it leads to a greater understanding of the idea.

I’m going to make one for Todd’s Daily planner too so.

One of the biggest mistakes we make is overvaluing the impact a tool will make and undervalue the impact of focus, intention and time.

The switch remastered version of Link’s awakening looks AMAZING. I played the original to death on my Gameboy

The Advantage of Building a Procreate Sketchnoting Brush Set

Although I most often sketchnote using pen and paper, I also use procreate for digital sketchnoting. When I started I spent a while exploring the different default brushes to learn what did what. That meant I often found myself rooting around and spending vital time searching for a suitable pen instead of actively listening and sketching.

After a while, I started to settle upon a few useful tools including a custom brush or two that I picked up along the way. But this introduced a different problem. I couldn’t quickly get to the brush I wanted.

The Problem with the default Procreate Brush Layout

One brush I used was in the top section of pencils, another in the final imported set I had created. Another was somewhere around the middle in the brushes set.

This added friction and time when sketchnoting and took more mental processing power.

It’s no wonder many sketchnoters prefer apps like linea and paper which have fewer options. In fact, this had been the approach I had adopted for a long time.

A simpler app without the power features except when I was sketchnoting a book or other content where I could take my time.

Saving time and mental energy with a Custom, Sketchnote Brush Set

A month or so ago I solved my transition problem with a simple solution. A custom set of brushes specifically for sketchnoting.

This is the digital representation of my dual micron set up. A thin pen, thick pen and brush pen for a wide variety of basic needs. Then a couple more experiments and textures for other purposes.

This allows me to use the app I really like with creative limits and I can add more to my sketchnotes later.

If you’d like to download my custom set of procreate brushes for sketchnoting. Click this link.

Letting Go of a Domain, Letting Go of a Dream

I got an email today informing me that a domain was coming up for renewal. It was one I grabbed several years ago and – unlike many others– put some effort into. But I won’t be renewing it, that idea hasn’t been my focus for a long time and keeping it would be a distraction from the one or two things I am doing now.

The apostle Paul once wrote “this one thing I do”. It’s hard to argue against his influence even if you are an atheist. I’d suggest that this radical focus was a large contributor for his contribution.

It’s not pursing bad things you need to worry about

When I was a teenager I was worried that I’d not get stuff done because I would spent too much time on bad things (or at least things which didn’t bring value). In my late twenties I realised the issue had evolved. Now it was “good” things that might prevent me from doing good things.

By giving up this domain I’m ending that dream, but giving up that dream is the only way to bring into existence my remaining goals.

Or as Patrick Rhone might say,

Saying no is actually saying yes to other things.

Things I’ve learned this year

my Micro Monday recommendation for today is @bennorris it’s been a delight to get to know him recently.

Okay Pen folks, I want to get a cheap pen with a flex nib to experiment with writing with a flex nib fountain pen. Any recommendations?

Photographing English Cathedrals • Peter Marlow • Magnum Photos 🔗

Photographing English Cathedrals • Peter Marlow • Magnum Photos

This required exposures of between one and five minutes. With that length of exposure, reciprocity failure, where the film requires a much longer exposure than is indicated on the light meter, was a big problem. I discovered that Fuji FP 100 Instant film (used for Polaroids) suffered this effect to the same extent as the negative film, and that the aperture setting for a well-exposed Polaroid would be one and a half stops greater than that for the negative film.

I love the story of this project– a commission which he didn’t want to stop – and the details and problems he overcame (seen above) to get the result he wanted, with the tools he choose. It’s a great example of following curiosity and overcoming challenges that arise (and not just sticking a DSLR to multiple exposure and letting lightroom do the rest).

Very excited to take a peek at today’s Fuji x100t photos. I haven’t had a chance for a good old fashioned photo walk in a LONG time. Probably about 6 months which is just a bit older than my daughter…I’m sure there’s no connection.

A Year of Sermon Sketchnotes

Last year I selected a Field notes dime novel for my sermon sketchnoting book for the year. I had used other field notes notebooks before as I found the pocket size to be good for sermons (especially as it fits inside my pocket leather NIV Bible). The Dime Novel provided a slightly larger size (meaning it didn’t fit in my bible anymore) and a different type of paper.

The texture of the paper (“Natural White” Strathmore Premium 70# according to the field notes website) is a little rougher than most I’ve used. It does mean that there’s very little bleed from most pens I used and it is a little slower to write on.

Over the course of the year I used a variety of pens including

  • Pigma micron 0.3 and 0.8 (dual wielding)
  • Faber Castell drawing kit (including a brush pen)
  • some random red felt pens

I have one more dime novel that I’m using for this year’s sermon sketchnotes too. I don’t know what I’ll move to after that one is finished, I guess that’s the downside of limited editions.

Calligraphy And Mindfulness

About three years ago I started getting interested in calligraphy. It was born out of my desire to improve my teaching board work so that students could read my writing more clearly…and because of the repeated mention of lettering from the sketchnote army podcast. My initial explorations were very rough and disparate with no clear practice or routines. Unsurprisingly, I made little or no progress. But a year and half ago I finial went along to a calligraphy lesson. This was very different.

  • It was planned
  • The activities were repetitive
  • There was a style to emulate

At that time I was struggling with what St. John of the cross called “the dark night of the soul”. My mind was a mess of thoughts, considerations and darkness. Things felt bleak and thinking didn’t help.

Calligraphy got me into a state of flow that helped clear my mind. It didn’t have an immediate effect and I need some good conversations, a resetting of good routines and some time to process thoughts slowly but I emerged the other side.

This Wednesday I went to a calligraphy class again. It wasn’t to escape the pit, but to elevate up to flow again. I chose a different style (copperplate) using equipment and techniques I was unfamiliar with to increase the challenge.

I hope to continue these classes as this mindfulness practice does my soul a world of good…and it’s just cool to write well.

20 Life Lessons from Leonardo da Vinci | The Saturday Evening Post 🔗

20 Life Lessons from Leonardo da Vinci | The Saturday Evening Post 🔗

The fact that Leonardo was not only a genius but also very human — quirky and obsessive and playful and easily distracted — makes him more accessible. He was not graced with the type of brilliance that is completely unfathomable to us. Instead, he was self-taught and willed his way to his genius. So even though we may never be able to match his talents, we can learn from him and try to be more like him. His life offers a wealth of lessons.

This is actually the second to last part of the Isaacson biography and well worth a read on it’s own. The whole book is fantastic, but this section might inspire you and help you to be a bit more curious.