This post is part of a series. Here’s the introduction and overview.

As I look back on this experiment I see that both my sketchnote taking and post-processing have evolved in a relatively short period of time. For me, the most important take-away is:

It’s FUN!

Now, that being said, what were the most striking lessons learned during the experiment?


The sketchnotes themselves evolved pretty quickly. If I’d have to remind my future self of the things to watch it’d be:

  • Using different typography styles can add a serious amount of interest to a sketchnote;
  • My handwriting improves when I take a little more time and focus on each stroke;
  • Callouts add visual interest to any item;
  • Invest in a visual library - adding a little icon or illustration should use a minimum amount of processing power;
  • I tend to fall back on a linear sketchnote format when using A5 notebooks. Time to get some new itinerary…


The whole point of this experiment was to figure out my personal preference when dealing with post-processing a sketchnote. For me it should be a relatively quick process, to avoid procrastination. And since (again: for me) these notes aren’t an “artistic expression of my deepest hopes and fears” or something along those lines, 80% is definitely good enough.

The final process that I settled for is:

  • Scan the notebook (at 300 dpi);
  • post-process the image in GIMP with the following steps:
    • Straighten & Crop;
    • Sharpen (Unsharpen mask with radius 5, amount 1, threshold 0);
    • Threshold (low value approx. 140-150);
    • Clean up the resulting image;
    • Apply a Gaussian blur (1x1 or 2x2);
    • Add colour and grey accents on separate layers (Darken only);
  • Add metadata (in Aftershot Pro for now);
  • Distribute & Archive (Evernote, web, etc.).

Final thoughts

When cleaning up an image you have to deal with issues like:

  • Irregular lighting;
  • Irregular focus;
  • Ink bleeding through the pages.

Because I only used black fineliner on white paper, Threshold was a natural choice to clean up all of these issues. The inevitable jagged edges can be smoothed with a simple Gaussian Blur. These days I tend to go for 1x1 or 2x2.

It’ll work best if the image is in black and white. As such I do not have a need to use colour or grey accents on the original drawing, which saves me some time during note taking.

Post processing typically takes between 5-10 minutes, which I find both an acceptable amount of work and a good way to review the material.

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