I always wonder how other reviewers take notes so I can learn and improve my own note taking. And when I saw designer Mike Rohde’s Moleskine notes from the recent SXSW music and media festival I was reminded of what I do during a show when the sketching bug bites me and I get filled with the inspiration to draw what I see going on onstage instead of scrawling my usual rock crit half words and mumble jumble. I haven’t done live sketching during a show in awhile since I usually turn to sketching when I’m at a festival outdoors or I’m at a venue where I can see what I’m sketching. These past several months I’ve been indoors at the clubs where its dark and better suited for the scribbling of nouns and verbs instead of the doodling of rock n roll sketches.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of using a Moleskine journal I highly recommend them for review notetaking or any kind of journaling. The one Rohdes used is the standard left-to-right journal style and I use the reporter version that opens top to bottom and is perfect for concert reviewing and note-taking when standing up since you can prop the notepad against your body and use the entire page top to bottom with one hand (a nice feature if you have smaller than average hands like I do and a standard left to right notepad is to big and clunky if you’re standing up.)
The best part about Rohde’s sketches is that they act as powerful visual cues much like the live sketches I do, enabling me to have instant recall to what I loved or didn’t about the show and allowing me to more effectively trigger mental notes and jogging my memory better than words I usually scribble down. That being said, I can’t wait for the festival season to start. I want to start live sketching again.