MRM Illustration by visual artist Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Creative Strategist, Visual Artist, and Illustrator Mayra Ruiz-McPherson brings 25 years of seasoned, hybrid design experience to creative projects.

In between freelance, art licensing, and publishing projects, Mayra’s working toward completing her MFA in Illustration with the Academy of Art University.

Mayra also holds a second masters in Media Psychology and is founder of her own practice, ruiz mcpherson | media.

MRM Illustration

Sketch note example and illustrations by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Sketch Noting Illustrations Inspired by Academic Orientation Sessions

Unlike text-only note-taking, sketch notes are a form of visual note-taking that brings information to life using a combination of loose doodles, casual sketches, illustrations, and hand-lettering accents.

The latter elements, coupled with good use of layout, offer content a graphical context that visually reinforces concepts, ideas, and commentary.

Real-time sketch noting

When taking sketch notes in real-time, doodles, hand letterings, and other inspired drawings don’t always come out perfectly. Still, the end result (including uneven marks, ink blotches, and other natural imperfections) is quite pleasing and fun to read.

And that's the case with the sketch notes I've shared in this post, which I recently doodled while attending an academic orientation for my doctoral degree.

As members of the faculty spoke (over multiple Zoom meeting sessions), I busily doodled away, often jotting down what I felt were important nuggets of information using squiggles, words, and images to organize my thoughts and visually journalize the orientation experience from start to finish.

Sketch note example and illustrations by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Sketch noting: materials and edits

To achieve this series of sketch notes, I used a navy blue felt tip pen and an aqua blue marker.

I also used a regular, No. 2 pencil to sometimes lightly sketch out a visual idea or lettering layout before committing to it with pen or marker.

After committing, I’d ink over my pencil marks and then use an eraser to remove all traces of pencil thereafter.

After the sketch notes were completed, I then imported them into Photoshop for light clean up and color tweaks but all the while, making sure to preserve most of my imperfections.

Sketch note example and illustrations by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of sketch notes.

I don’t often get a chance to do much sketch noting and would like to doodle many more of my notes in the future.

Overall, this visual notes experience has been really enjoyable.

The ideas I was able to visually journal during the orientation have become easier for me to retain as a result, and the final aesthetic outcomes shared here have been super fun to consume and share.

If you have any sketch notes to share, I'd love to see them. Please do share any links to your sketch notes in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

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Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Mayra is a multidisciplinary artist, illustrator, and creative director writing about illustration love and other art and drawing-inspired topics.

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