Doodling for a living in Hamburg

Ines Schaffranek can’t spend a day without doodling. It all started when she used to get bored at school and started sending notes to her classmates — now she hosts workshops at companies and is hired as a visual communicator and expert at events.

By Sabela García Cuesta

Ines, why is visual communication so important?

“Look, as we talk to each other right now, our minds are creating pictures. Yours is creating some and mine is too. However, how do I know the pictures in your mind are the same as the ones in mine? By doodling we can define the abstract world and make it graspable.”

So you told me you started sketching at school?  And afterwards?

“I used to get bored at school so I started exchanging notes with my best friend, doodling and sketching. Afterwards I studied Japanese, I was so in love with Kanji, the calligraphy! That all connects to my love of sketching.”

How’s your daily life as a sketcher?

“I don’t consider my life as sketcher that special. I do home office which is great because you have the freedom to manage your own time.”

Could you spend a day without sketching at all?

“No, I do sketch every day. Of course, I often sketch just for myself … [She shows me some flashcards she has in her bag] I sketch things I need to learn or remember. You can also be very creative and sketch a recipe for example. It’s nicer and more fun than just writing it down!”


How can doodling be useful at work?

“I would use it for example if I’m talking about a project and I want to make sure that everybody understands the same thing. Also interesting is the fact that we, as human beings, can only process seven pieces of information every 30 seconds (Miller’s Law). What happens nowadays is that everything we do might require much more than that. Sketching can, therefore, be really helpful here.”

Is there any spot in particular where you feel inspired?

“The central library [laughs] I love that place, I am a total nerd! It’s like my second home in Hamburg. By the way, they also have really good coffee in the first floor as well as free internet.”


So you released your first book in August 1st 2017, congratulations!

“Yeah thanks, that’s the result of one whole year of work. I took two weeks off to Las Palmas to be able to work full time on it and concentrate fully. I landed in the cheapest and filthiest hostel so I used to leave very early in the morning and come back very late at night. It was a great opportunity to spend the whole time working without distractions since I did not want to come back to the hostel. My second home that time was a really nice coworking space I can definitely recommend: Coco Coworking. Working at your desk with the ocean in front is pretty cool!”



Just one more question, tell me what is your next step.

“I want to empower people to give them tools to sketch. Many see me doing it but I want them to inspire them and teach them how to do it by themselves. Thinking in pictures is just an amazing experience and then you can use these tools again and again both in your private life and at work.”

Check out Ines’ first book “Sketchnotes kann jeder” and start putting your thoughts down in a more visual way. 

Featured image (C) Carina Bertsch

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