"Data sketches" was a year-long collaboration between Nadieh Bremer and Shirley Wu, both data visualization designers, where each month they chose a topic and visualized it by the end of the month in an overly elaborate & geeky manner. In this talk, Nadieh will share her most important lessons learned in the fundamental areas of data, sketching & coding the visual onto the screen. How some months became favorites, the mistakes made along the way, and how they were overcome. It will especially highlight that many of the visualizations had humble, ugly duckling beginnings, but that through many (embarrassing) iterations they were turned into unique and compelling results. And finally, touching upon the impact & benefit of collaborating heavily with someone (halfway across the globe) for a year.