In this post I’m going to demonstrate step by step how I create a banner with folds and shading. For step by step instructions slowed down and broken into bite size pieces- keep reading.

 Frequently Asked Question: “How do you make doodle notes while keeping up with the teacher?”

Answer: With practice, I’ve learned how to space my words and lettering so I can write down a simple statement, then come back and embellish when the speaker is answering questions or telling stories. Since a good speaker balances lecturing, telling stories or sharing illustrations, and answering questions, in most of my courses this method works really well.

When Curt Thompson said this quote at an event I attended in Seattle, I loved it and knew I wanted to visually emphasize it in my notes. Knowing that, I carefully spaced the words in well spaced lines, which would allow me to go back and embellish later. Here’s that first step:

how to create doodle note banners during a lecture 35

Once I’ve captured the quote, I have the freedom to move on, or to go ahead and embellish the text into a banner. Usually, to help me gauge spacing better, I at least go ahead and do a rough outline of how I’ll embellish the text.

For a banner, this starts with drawing a rectangle outline around each line of text. I like my doodle method because the irregularity of shapes becomes part of the style.

how to create doodle note banners during a lecture 37

After the rectangles are drawn, I imagine the rectangles as a folded banner, and draw those connecting strips linking each line together in a “continuous” banner.

how to create doodle note banners during a lecture 39

Normally after the banner is drawn I’ll jump to other elements of my notes and return to the details later. When I’m ready to detail, I usually use an N1 Copic Sketch Marker to color the places where visually I want to make it appear that I’m seeing the “back” of the ribbon:

how to create doodle note banners during a lecture 40


Over the entire thing (including the portion I just colored grey- Copics are designed to layer and blend) I add my color, in this case RV11 – Copic “Pink”.

how to create doodle note banners during a lecture 41

Next, I use closely spaced black-inked lines to create even more depth- adding texture to the colored shading already added.

how to create doodle note banners during a lecture 42

That’s it! Sometimes, like in the video below, I use a *N0 Copic to add shading around the lower left of the outside of the banner, and N2 Copic to create distinct shading on the reverse side of the banner, but I’ll save that instructional for another post (though, if you watch the video below you’ll get a sneak peek at both.)





While I prefer Copic markers for grey shading, these illustration markers aren’t a great fit for a student budget, for a cheaper option, try the Zebra MildLiner in Grey (essentially, a grey highlighter available in singles from Amazon). Though it doesn’t blend, it works perfectly fine for creating basic drop-shadows. Experiment with this grey highlighter and crosshatching for a shaded gradient effect.

Leave a Reply