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Frequently Asked Questions

Last tended on June 27, 2020
🌱 Budding


What tools do you use to illustrate?

Primarily my brain and upper body limbs. With a little help from Procreate on an iPad Pro. I do a little colour and brightness editing in Photoshop as well, but it's a pretty minor step.

I'm betting want more information than that, so I wrote a whole post called What App is That? for you.


Do you have any resources or advice for someone who wants to get started with making illustrations?

Lots! Have a look at the Resources page for a collection of courses, learning platforms, and books I personally recommend.

You might also want to read my essay series on Drawing Invisible Programming Concepts


I want prints of your illustrations. Can I buy prints from you or print them myself?

You can indeed print any images you find here for your own personal use!

The image quality on the garden notes and twitter is low for printing (72dpi). But if you join my email list I send out high-quality, downloadable versions on there (300dpi – big enough to print on the side of a wall if you so desire).

I'm not fan of the carbon emissions involved in printing, storing, and shipping these from a central location. So if you want professional prints I suggest finding a local printer near you and sending them the high-res files.


How would you describe your work?

I think about this too much, but I have three main words I use: illustrated notes which do what they say on the tin. And illustrated explanations or illustrated essays for longform work I spend more time researching and crafting.

What I don't make...

  • Comics - Comics tell a narrative story over time. I mostly explain non-narrative topics and explore ideas atemporarily out of time. They share a lot of comic-like qualities though, and I've spent countless hours studying & stealing techniques from comic artists like Will Eisner, Nick Sousanis, and Scott McCloud.
  • Infographics - Infographics have a particular aesthetic that makes my eyes bleed. While technically these do communicate information through graphics, the word infographic comes with visual baggage. And I would like to run very, very far away from it.
  • Sketchnotes - If we define 'sketchnotes' as true sketches – unrefined, unplanned visual scribbles – my work doesn't fit. They're far more crafted and planned than stream-of-consciousness sketches drawn in one fell swoop.

Have a question I haven't answered?

Feel free to ask me on twitter

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Maggie Appleton © 2020