How I Draw Diagrams in Biology HL

Most people recognise my notes in IB Biology from their diagrams. For me, drawing them was one of the best ways of understanding the content and being able to remember it. I am able to condense a page of text into one diagram in most cases. Since I began sharing my notes with others, I’ve had a lot of questions about how I draw my diagrams and make them so neat/clear to understand.

Here are the steps I take when drawing a diagram:

  1. Find a good diagram to copy from
    1. This can be online, in your textbook or material from your teacher/lecturer
  2. Sketch out a rough outline in pencil
    1. Be sure not to press down on the page too strongly
    2. My favourite pencils to use are mechanical pencils as they give a fine line
  3. Add in the details (still using pencil)
  4. Draw over it with a black fineliner – my favourite is the Stabilo point 88 fine 0.4 pen or the Staedtler triples fineliner
  5. Use coloured finalisers for any details or to make parts of the diagram stand out
  6. Once you are happy with the result, rub out the underlying pencil lines
    1. Remember to make sure that the fineliner has dried completely before rubbing out the pencil lines

Quick disclaimer: Even though many of my notes do have fairly neat diagrams, they do not take me a long time to draw and I do not waste my time trying to make them perfect. I would never spend more than a minute or two drawing a diagram. Also, there is no need to draw out every diagram from your textbook, it’s only useful to draw out those that help you to understand the topic better. Making notes should make up only a small part of your revision routine, as most of it should be focused on ACTIVE methods of revision.


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