|Name: Matt Madden
Location: New York
Profession: Cartoonist, speaker, author, teacher
Matt Madden is a cartoonist whose works have been published by small and large publishers. Matt also teaches comics at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and gives talks around the country and abroad. He and his wife Jessica Abel (also a cartoonist) are series editors of the Best American Comics (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and their second textbook on comics, Mastering Comics (:01 First Second Books) will be out in May. Evernote is Matt’s go-to tool for conceptualizing and creating his comics, as well as his teaching assistant.
I use Evernote, Everywhere
- Web Clipper (Chrome, Firefox)
I use Evernote for…
As a cartoonist and educator, I have to organize my creative work, teaching and projects that I work on with my wife, Jessica. Keeping track of everything I’m working on is an ongoing project in and of itself. Evernote has become my project hub. In Evernote, each project is contained and viewable.
Evernote for gathering story ideas, organizing my comics and more
Before Evernote, I had sketchbooks, manilla folders and boxes where I kept all of my notes and sketches. Now, I have a centralized place to collect all of my ideas, drawings, and more. Here’s a glimpse into how I organize my creative life in Evernote:
- Everything I care about goes into Evernote. 90% of what comes into Evernote is related to comics. I save story ideas, reviews, blog posts, random thoughts about artists I like, comics I’ve downloaded or clipped off the Internet, etc. into Evernote.
- I save jpegs of my work in Evernote for easy reference. In Evernote, these images almost look like a slideshow version of any given comic. It’s a great way to have easy access to works-in-progress.
- I still sketch on paper, but I save my sketches digitally. I scan or take pictures of notes and doodles from various sketchbooks and save them all to Evernote so that they’re centralized and accessible to me anywhere.
- I’m diligent about tagging my notes. One thing I use tags for is to catalog notes using more esoteric or abstract categories. I have tags like “memories,” “observations,” or “notions” that help me keep track of all the random creative material I come across every day.
- I review my Evernote weekly. Every week, I go through my Evernote account to clean up recent notes, add tags, assign notes to notebooks, etc. I have a few tags that help me here, such as “read/review,” “reminders,” and “temporary.”
- I have a notebook called Matt Projects ACTIVE. This is where I keep all my notes about short-term and long-term plans for creating and publishing comics. These notes include sketches and status reports on comics-in-progress, lists of books I want to collect and publish, older books I want to reprint in coming years, as well as notes from meetings with my agent and publishers.
I’d love to go through all my old sketchbooks and scan or take snapshots of all of my useable materials so that I can always go to Evernote to see what stories I could re-use and drawings that haven’t been utilized yet.
Evernote for collaboration
Since my wife and I often work on projects together, we use Evernote to collaborate. For example, we are the series editors of the annual Best American Comics, and the job involves tracking down and reading every comic published in the U.S. and Canada, every year. We have a Shared Notebook where we can both make notes on things we’ve heard about. There are lots of top 10 lists that come out every year, and we save them into this Shared Notebook. [Learn about sharing from Evernote]
When it comes time to make our choices for what to include in the book, we can review all of our notes in Evernote. We also keep a list of contributors, drafts of forwards we’ve written and notes for future ones, information about our contacts, workflow documents to help us keep track of the complicated project, and more, all in Evernote. Evernote helps us manage a vast amount of information and stay on top of what we need to deliver to our editors and production team.
Evernote for teaching at the university level
I first started using Evernote as a convenient way to have notes for workshops that I teach. When I’m asked to give a workshop or lecture, I make a new note with a syllabus for that event. I can often look up related workshops I’ve done and adapt material I’ve already worked on. These days I use Evernote in a number of ways to help me manage my teaching work. I keep all of the syllabi from classes and also use Evernote to capture notes around things I’d like to do in the future.
- I save articles by writers that have influenced me, podcasts, and general ideas for doing different kinds of creative projects.
- I show Evernote to my students as a way to organizes ideas and story notes. I teach undergrad and adult education classes and I’ve noticed that my students are always really interested in learning more about my process.
- I have a Shared Notebook with my drawing students. I copy weekly assignments, videos and various articles to it so that all of my students are able to access them. [Learn about sharing from Evernote]
- I travel a lot for workshops and speaking engagements, so I email notes to my Evernote account to review on the plane. [Learn how to email to Evernote]
Among my creative work, teaching and personal life (Evernote is our family’s recipe archive), Evernote has truly become an indispensable part of my life.