How did this all begin?
Hi! I’m Emily Mills, and I created Sketchnote Academy. The story begins in 2015 when I was hired to be an artist for The Sketch Effect, a visual communications company based in Atlanta. At The Sketch Effect, we create visual notes (aka “sketchnotes” or “graphic recordings”) for clients at their live events. While I had illustration experience dating back to childhood, this job was a completely different ballgame! I had to be trained in order to be successful, and it took lots of time and practice. My job training was with the company founder, William Warren, and I also attended a sketchnote workshop on my own given by Mike Rohde just after I was hired. After that, I had to practice, practice, practice. Check out my first-ever sketchnote below!
A Need Arises
Fast forward 2 years to 2016. I had been documenting and sharing my sketchnoting experiences online and had gained a bit of a following on my Instagram account. I had people messaging me regularly asking to teach them how to take sketchnotes. I felt pretty unqualified since I had only been doing them for 2 years, but I decided to start writing lessons in my spare time for an online course course so I could teach people one day.
In 2017, I stepped into the world of in-person workshops when Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN brought me in to teach 30 people in their congregation how to take sermon sketchnotes. I taught 7 total in-person workshops in 2017 and learned A LOT along the way! I planned to launch an online course using the workshop material I had been testing and refining all year, but then something completely unexpected happened.
In late 2017, a publisher approached me and asked me to write a book about sketchnotes. Fortunately I had been writing, testing, and refining lessons over the past year, so writing it was just a matter of putting it all together in one book called The Art of Visual Notetaking. (Don’t get me wrong, though… it was a ton of work!) Working on the book project, I realized I was going about teaching sketchnotes all wrong. Instead of a single extensive, exhaustive, and expensive course for people who have never tried sketchnoting but want to learn, I needed to create smaller courses to help people who were already taking sketchnotes. Most people who were asking for my help didn’t need to know how to get started, but they did want to know how to level-up their skills.
Online Courses Launch
In 2018, I completed the book project and began working on launching the first course for Sketchnote Academy. Every course you take in Sketchnote Academy is designed to help you level up your sketchnoting skills through lessons and exercises. All material has been tested. If there’s something you really want to learn, you can let me know by filling out this 3 question survey. Thanks for being here! I hope you find the courses valuable to your sketchnoting practice.