Zebra Labs: Digital Best Practice Workshops

Sketching: thinking, communication and design

Capture and visualise concepts quickly and engagingly

Does anxiety about your drawing ability stop you sketching? Do you wish you could confidently walk up to a whiteboard, or a piece of paper, and sketch your ideas out in front of your colleagues? Do you wish the characters in your storyboards were a bit more lively than just skinny stick men? Or that you could effectively sketch UI design ideas, and communicate with the team?

Would you like to find a way to actively involve colleagues and clients in design work? And how about the notes you take during conferences and meetings? Would you like to make them more interesting and memorable?

This hands on 1 day workshop will supply you with the practical skills and inspiration to help communicate your ideas more visually and engagingly.


We will start with warm-up and basic sketching exercises and learn how to sketch simple objects, people and expressions, as well as discussing how and why sketching fits in with design process. We’ll look at some key concepts of visual explanations and then move rapidly through a series of hands-on exercises interspersed with live demonstration and group reviews.

We’ll look at how you can use sketching by yourself, in pairs, or in groups as part of your work, and we’ll explore techniques for practical critique.

We will also dive into the topic of visual notetaking (also known as sketchnoting), exploring why visual notes are powerful and how you can start capturing presentations and meetings in a more engaging way.

This hands on fun sketching workshop will equip with you the fundamental sketching skills and confidence to allow you to use sketching as a communication tool to express your ideas in a visual manor.

Francis Rowland

Hosted by
Francis Rowland

Currently Lead UX Designer at a big European science institute and one of the founding organisers of Cambridge Usability Group, Francis is a renowned User Experience Designer and actively involved with the UX community, speaking at events and conferences since 2010. Notably he spoke in Paris about how to use sketching to get ideas out as for Francis sketching is an important tool to explore problems and communicate his ideas. He also just returned from Belgium where he was teaching the design part of a big scientific data visualisation course, a big focus being sketching and critique.
Francis sees sketching and sketchnoting as a must activity, and is keen to help others develop their confidence and ability in either.

Zebra Labs are taught by industry leading experts who have mastered their trade within multiple sectors. Now at the top of their game they have partnered with Zebra People to develop and upskill existing industry practitioners.

What you’ll learn

  • How to get better at sketching
  • that effective sketching isn’t about artistic skills
  • that simple pen and paper can be a powerful part of your design toolbox
  • being able to make marks on paper means that you can develop a visual vocabulary
  • that you can have confidence in your own ability to communicate and to express ideas
  • ways of structuring sketches
  • methods for involving others
  • techniques for critique (the critical counterpart to sketching)
  • how to use visual note-taking to get more out of talks and meetings

Who should attend

This workshop is ideal for anyone who wants to gain the relevant skills and confidence in sketching to allow you to capture and express your concepts quickly and engagingly. With no previous sketching skills or knowledge required this workshop is ideal for a range of disciplines from designers, researchers, product managers, developers, project managers. The techniques taught in this workshop will provide you with a valuable communication tool to add to your arsenal.

Why choose Zebra Labs

  • Learn from leading experienced practitioners
  • Network with peers in the industry
  • Practice and play: explore technologies/
    skills outside of the workplace
  • Very intense, content rich course. The information was layered well and presented in good bite size chunks. The group was the optimum size and there was an open feel to where attendees could interject and discuss problems and solutions. I would strongly recommend this course.
    – Gareth Thomas, Senior UX Designer, Mr & Mrs Smith
  • The day was great fun. I learnt a lot from Eva-Lotta and was inspired; it gives you the confidence to pick up a pen and illustrate a design concept rather than just discuss the concept. I now carry a sketch book with me and have started taking sketchnotes, which is actually a very useful way of focusing the mind onto the important parts of the meeting/discussion, rather than just making linear notes. Great course.
    – Julian Alders, Creative Director, Fidelity

Be alerted when dates are available

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Get in touch if you have any questions about this Zebra Lab

Contact Lauren on 020 7729 4771 or email ben@zebrapeople.com and we will do our best to help you with any questions you might have.

A few organisations we have trained...

  • Cancer Research UK
  • Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Superdrug
  • News UK
  • Which?
  • ASOS
  • Moshi Monsters
  • Whitbread PLC
  • Whizz Education

Held at London Escalator
A combined power of a vibrant community of start-ups, corporates, innovators, and investors together with state-of-the-art event spaces and two world-class accelerators.

69-89 Mile End Rd, London E1 4TT (Nearest stations are Whitechapel and Stepney Green).

Teas and coffees will be available on the day.

Other Zebra Labs...

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  • Advanced Axure prototyping for mobile

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  • Conversion Rate Optimisation for eCommerce

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