Sketchnote recipe

5 Tips for short recipes

Do you want to record your favorite recipes on paper in a short and concise way and design your own recipe book? Then sketchnotes are just the thing! By using abstract symbols, arrows and illustrations you'll capture the most important information and understand it without any long accompanying texts.

Dagmar from AugeAnHirn brought along 5 easy tips on how to transform your favorite recipe into sketchnote-style. Still need some sketchnote inspiration? Then skip to the bottom of the post now and download Dagmar's free sketchnote template.

Click here for free sketchnotes

Hi, I am Dachma!

I am an illustrator and comic artist. With my husband I just moved into an ancient house in the middle of East Frisia. We renovated for a very long time and I waited even longer for my new kitchen to arrive. Now it is finally here and I would love to just cook all day. Or draw ... so why do not both together?

You will need the following materials for your sketchnote recipe:


Still need a place to store your Sketchnote recipes? Then check out our Tombow DIY Recipe Kit. Along with a pretty metal tin, it includes everything you need to create your own creative recipes.

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Tip 1: To avoid any confusion, I use a fixed color scheme on my recipes:

Orange-yellow shade for bakery products

Green for Vegetarian recipes & salads

Red for barbecue recipes

Blue for fish and seafood

Pink for desserts & sweet stuff

Tip 2: Less is more

However, it does make sense to organize your color scheme according to your own needs.

I generally do not like to stick too strictly to any recipe, and I prefer to improvise. Granted, that may go wrong at times. But if something has worked, it is very important to immediately write down the recipe. Otherwise, you may forget a few important ingredients during while indulging in your  meal.  I have thusly accumulated a considerable loose leaf collection. Little by little, I am now working my way through recording them.

Of course, it is fun to draw every detail of the recipe, but it is not not always helpful. Deciphering complex drawings often ends up being trickier than simply writing down the terms. So I have to decide if I am drawing my recipe for art's sake (i.e. the main point is that it looks great), or if I really want to use it as a kitchen aid. There is merit to both. I can also decide to either draw one or a few recipe ingredients or to put the actual preparation process onto paper.

If I want to spice up my recipe with a few sketchnote-style doodles, often less is more  to avoid my recipe card from becoming crowded. So: Before I spend a long time on a  text, I draw a pan, above it (or around it) I name the ingredients of the dish, and place a few arrows. Done ;-)

I do not have to draw the doodles any more complex than necessary. 

Tip 3: Design and structure

Even with a recipe, it makes sense to determine a layout beforehand and perhaps roughly sketch it out. This way I do not forget anything important details or risk for it not to fit on the page.

I usually lay out my recipe cards like this:

  • Headline
  • Ingredients (Doodles)
  • Quantities
  • Preparation steps

Tip 4: It is easier to draw doodles two-dimensionally.

Sidenote: What are doodles?

Originally the word is derived from "doodling" and means the carefree drawing and sketching of basic motifs. They are simple scribbles, and it is fine if they are not perfect. In recent years, a certain doodle drawing style has become established. Doodles are usually particularly flat motifs without shading and only their outlines are drawn.

So anyone can draw doodles!

I roughly sketch out the individual doodles with a pencil so I end up with a nice layout on the sheet.

Then I draw my recipe doodles in the colors of the respective category and use the thicker tip of the TwinTones for the outlines. The finer details I draw with the thin tip.

The text I write with a legible black pen, for example the Fudenosuke.

I let the colors dry for a moment and then erase my preliminary drawings.


Sidenote: How do I structure my sketchnotes?

Sketchnotes are supposed link mental images, ideas, and verbal or visual instructions with one another. A good sketchnote directs the eye. There are a few tricks to help you structure them.

  • Size plays a decisive role. If something is  capitalized or written in capital letters, we usually perceive it as important.
  • Contrast is also a handy tool to indicate important elements of a sketchnote. Dark or colored items attract more attention.
  • You should think about which emotions you want to elicit when using colors. Warm colors (red, yellow, orange) are often perceived positively and associated with warmth and calm. Cold colors (blue, green, purple) are more likely to be regarded as frigid and forbidding.


Tip 5: That certain something!

Like the secret ingredient in a recipe, there is one last piece of advice in order to give your recipe that extra something. As a finishing touch, I like to blur the outlines in some spots utilizing a damp (not too wet!) paintbrush.

Unfortunately, I cannot show you a photo of the finished muffins, because they've all been gobbled up already ...

Try it out for yourself right now and share your recipe with the Tombow family at #tombowinspiration.

About the author


-Dagmar Gosejacob

Dachma likes it colorful and actually draws everything. She also loves experimenting with new (and old) materials. She works as a freelance illustrator, draws and writes comics, gives workshops, illustrates books, and is on the road as a graphic recorder. She especially loves watercolor techniques, colored pencils, alcohol-based markers and (in her words): "...can't work without the Fudenosuke!"

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