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visual recording on the iPad, illustrated

This week I’ll be giving a talk at IFVP 2010 on visual recording with the iPad. While I was preparing my notes, I discovered how easy it is to make Quicktime movies of your notes with the Brushes app, so I made a little movie. Then I got carried away narrating it and adding in other images and … well, it’s almost 13 minutes long now, and if you watch it, you can skip my talk. Though I’m better in person, and there are a few things I didn’t put into the movie. Ah HAH.

(Note: In the movie, AirSketch is attributed to “Grayon,” but the company’s name is actually “Qrayon.” My bad.)

How’d I Do That?
I started with a sketch of the outline of my talk:

scribbles on paper

initial sketch for my talk

While making the outline, I tried four different apps (Adobe Ideas, Qrayon’s AirSketch, Brushes by Taptrix, and Autodesk SketchbookPro). I made a quick, entirely subjective list of pros and cons for each one, using each app to make its own list:
Adobe Ideas Test Sketch
AirSketch Test Sketch
Brushes Test Sketch
SketchbookPro Test Sketch

Next, I transcribed my notes using Brushes, which automatically records the strokes as you go. I then sent that file to myself via email, opened it in the Brushes desktop application, and saved it as a Quicktime movie. This became the base content for my how-to video.

While watching the animation play out in Brushes, I recorded the narration using Audacity. I broke it into pieces so that I could match it up more easily with the different sections of the movie. I also filmed myself making the test sketches, using my Flip Mino camera mounted on a mini Gorillapod. Finally, I put all of this into iMovie, which let me split up the video from Brushes, add freeze frames to allow the narration to catch up with the drawing, speed up the drawing as needed to keep pace with the narration, and so on. I threw in a couple of still images and some lovely, Creative Commons-licensed music (Somewhere by Robin Grey), and there you have it.

Here’s the final image from Brushes:

talk notes

Visual Recording on the iPad (in Brushes)


  1. Es says:

    A blogger who regularly writes back to her readers on a post that’s at least 2 years old! Thank you, I didn’t expect a reply!

  2. AL says:

    I love your sketces, Art, and Ipad Visual recordings! Thanks for sharing, I do Kaizen events at the company I work for and you have inspired me to do a total event around visual facilitation.

    In one of the upper photographs you sketched your initial ideas on a sketch pad that has an open area in the center and on each side note sections. What kind of pad is this? And if you don’t mind, where can i get one?

    Thank You also for the YouTube video.

  3. ninmah says:

    Hi Al,

    I’m glad my post and video were helpful! The pad you’re asking about is from Levenger (, but it doesn’t look like that exact pad is on their website. The closest thing might be the Oasis Shaded Annotation Concept Pad. I love them for sketching out ideas and notes.

    Good luck with your event on visual facilitation!



  4. ally says:

    hi love your
    just wanted to know what screen recorder you used

  5. ninmah says:

    Hi Ally,

    I didn’t use a screen recorder. As I mentioned in the blog post, all this was done using Brushes on the iPad.


  6. Ingo says:


    this tutorial is the one I’m searching now for a long time. I want to make videos for my classes to impelement the Flipped Classroom concept but struggled with the software. You know ppt, impress etc. Today I found two solutions: This blog-entry, which is really great, because I understand the whole process and I already have the apps. And I found VideoScribe from Sparkol. Which also looks very nice – escpecially the app. The desktop version is incredible expensive. You havt to pay every month!

    What I wanted to know: Do you know VideoScribe? What do you think about the app?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ingo (from germany)

  7. Ingo says:

    One more question: Where can I find the Brushes desktop application? I just find the brushes 3 app in the Appstore.

  8. Mina says:


    I’ve been searching for a similar tutorial for a while now as I prepare my first video scribe. I have script and description of images. I tried using a Wacom tablet but drawing was really difficult. So much out there but you have it nailed! Your illustrations are great, fun and informative. Did you use a stylus?

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful work and this great tutorial.


  9. […] read about how I made the movie on my blog: lmd_source="24672527"; lmd_si="33583746"; lmd_pu="22521685"; lmd_c="BR"; lmd_wi="728"; […]

  10. monika says:

    thank you!

  11. […] Recently I forced myself to try iPad doodling. It works fine, even when using only my finger, but zooming is essential. Apps I may recommend are Penultimate, Bamboo Paper and Inkflow (also there’s Inkflow Plus, the paid version). I’ve also heard of Adobe Ideas and many others paid apps but I haven’t tried them yet because I’m looking towards free options for now. The main convenience in using an iPad is with sharing the notes online. Suuuuuuuper easy compared to manual scanning and editing. Perhaps once I’ve gained more experience in iPad doodlenoting I’ll write a dedicated blog post about it, inshaAllah. But in the meantime you can hear from others who are more experienced in this, eg. Sacha Chua, Linda Saukko-Rauta and Rachel Smith. […]

  12. […] {For more information about visual notes: see my inspiration, Rachel Smith: and her helpful HOW-TO’s: – Specifically: […]

  13. […] the full post on Rachael Smith’s blog, Ninmah Meets the World. Check it out and let us know what you […]