Sketchplanations

About Sketchplanations

Sketchplanations is now a book! I think you'll love Big Ideas Little Pictures

Thanks to my Patrons for enabling me to keep creating Sketchplanations 🙏

It's also a podcast. Prefer to listen to the ideas on your commute or while doing chores? I don't blame you. And now you can: Listen to the podcast

Looking to use a Sketchplanation? Please do! See the licence page for details.


Follow

The best way to follow is by signing up to the weekly newsletter. I send one sketch a week with short commentary and sometimes a personal touch.

Subscribe to the weekly Sketchplanations newsletter

I also try to share sketches on social media, albeit with less commentary:


Explore the archive

The sketches cover all sorts of topics. Try a search or start from some common themes below to find what interests you:

Explore more themes


Support Sketchplanations

Sketchplanations is a side project. Some people choose to support me to pay for the costs of the emails, website and time to do a good job. It makes an enormous difference.

If you're in a position to support and like what I'm doing, please consider supporting me by becoming a patron for a mere dollar a month or whatever you can: patreon.com/sketchplanations

Become a patron


Sketchplanations the Podcast

Sketchplanations the podcast thumbnail

In 2023, together with Rob Bell (TV presenter) and Tom Pellereau (inventor and former Apprentice UK winner), we launched a podcast to accompany the sketches. In each episode, we take a sketch or several and dive into more detail. It might sound a little crazy to have a podcast about a sketch site, but, somewhat to my surprise, it works rather well. I hope you enjoy it!

Listen at sketchplanations.com/podcast


The backstory

In 2012 my sister bought me a book with a page every day for a year for a sketch. I used it to practise my drawing.

When I finished it I needed a new challenge. So I set myself the challenge of explaining something with a sketch — as explaining is a handy skill. Over 2013 -14 I posted one sketchplanation a day. Since then I switched to one per week, and the quality improved. Subscribe by email to get new ones in your inbox each week.

I draw them using Sketchbook Pro on an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. It took me a long time to go all fancy and digital, and I still kind of miss the analogue touch of the originals (last pen and paper one).

The original ones are drawn in Moleskine storyboard sketchbooks (quite hard to find in stores). I used three Uniball Vision Elites and a Copic marker for the grey. I think it is the best combination of pens there is.

At its best, making sketchplanations looks a bit like this:

Notebook, pens, coffee — making Sketchplanations at its best

Curious to see how I make them now? Watch me draw sketchplanations on Youtube

I'm working on a book of the sketches with a US publisher. Look out for it in 2024!

If you have ideas for new sketchplanations or other ideas, do get in touch: jono.hey@gmail.com

If you would like to use a sketchplanation in a blog post or for non-commercial purposes, please go ahead. If you have a moment to email me where you used one, it makes me very happy. Check out the licence page for details.

I don’t do anything with your data except store your email address in Mailjet (previously Mailchimp until they got too expensive) if you choose to subscribe. See more: sketchplanations.com/privacy

If you buy something using links from the sketches — for example, buying a book that explains a topic in depth — I may earn a commission. Anything I earn directly or indirectly from sketchplanations helps me keep making them.


Carbon Removal

Stripe Climate badge

If you make a donation while downloading a sketch (you can always download for free too) I give 5% to Stripe Climate to support carbon removal projects. Learn more


About me

I run product at Zen Educate and previously ran UX and design at Nutmeg. Find more about me at jonohey.com or see Jono Hey on LinkedIn


Want to learn to sketch?

A lot of people ask me about learning to sketch. The truth is I 100% think it's possible for everyone to learn. Nobody starts an expert. Like most things, it requires caring, work, and practice. If you'd be interested in lessons or a short course from me, please let me know: jono.hey@gmail.com

Here are a few resources that you could start with. They're not for a classical art education — more about drawing to think and communicate better.

Books

Sketchnoting — taking visual notes of talks, for example — is also popular and a great way to practise:

Other inspiration

  • xkcd — proof that your sketching really doesn't have to be great to get the point across, though some of Randall Munroe's drawings these days are highly accomplished
  • @semi_rad

And the real master is Bill Watterson 🤩

Some Principles

Copy, copy, copy

Before writing your own music it's typical to learn to play other music. The same is true of drawing. Whenever you see a drawing you like try and copy it. Look closely to see how they did it. See if you can do it just as well.

Practice

  • Get a postcard sketchbook and send old-fashioned postcards. Bonus: you'll appreciate your surroundings a lot more on holiday if you take the time to sit, observe and draw
  • Try practising with some of the drawing sketchplanations
  • Do the Sketch a Day for a year yourself

Draw to think

Be the first on the whiteboard — physical or virtual. Need to figure something out? Start by putting some lines on paper. There's nothing wrong with boxes and arrows to start.

Persevere in the middle

Sketches often look bad in the middle (see the learning pit). It's a process. Don't give up because something looks rubbish. Keep working on it. See how you can correct it. You may learn more from figuring out why a sketch looks wrong than if you happen to get it right.


Music

I know you didn't come here for this but I made some music. Perhaps you'll enjoy it:

Listen on other platforms

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