I’ve been using sketchnotes a lot lately as a way to help me focus and retain information with virtual PD. Here’s a mini-post in case you’d like to know what tools I use for sketchnoting (or were thinking about getting some for yourself.)
A quick “note”: I prefer physical sketchnoting. I know that there’s great apps out there, and yes I have a school-issued iPad and Apple Pencil. But I love the feeling of physically drawing and writing on paper. I’m around screens so much of the time (and screens provide so much distraction). When I’m sketchnoting, I just want my pens, markers and pencils.
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9 Tools for Physical Sketchnotes
Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Medium Hardcover: This notebook is my personal favorite. I like the dotted pages, because it works well combining drawings and text, and you can get fairly straight lines. This notebook has two bookmark ribbons, which are great if you want to refer back to a certain page frequently. It includes an index for the first few pages and all the pages in the notebook are numbered, so if you’re an organization nerd like me, you can make it really easy to find and refer back to different entries. It also has a storage pocket in the back of the notebook, where I tend to keep ephemera from my travels and a mini-ruler.
Runner-up: Moleskine Classic Dotted Hardcover: This is a really great notebook and you can find them just about everywhere.
Sharpie Pen Medium Point Black: These are my favorite pens for outlines and lettering. They show up really well and they don’t bleed.
Sharpie Art Pens: These are one of my favorite ways to add pops of color. I usually pick two colors to take with me, but if you want rainbow sketchnotes, these have got you covered. I love how well the pens ink. Pro-tip – store them upside down to have the ink last longer.
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers: These are fantastic for filling in block lettering and adding color. If you have a local art supply store, try to check them out in person – you can usually buy individual pens so you can get the colors you want. Or, just order a multi-pack and have lots of options. I really like writing my lettering with the brush tip first and then outlining it with the medium point Sharpie pen
Clear Tip Double-ended Highlighter Pen (Muji): I bought several of these highlighter pens at Muji in NYC and they remain my absolute favorite for adding subtle accents in sketchnotes. I’m sure there are other great highlighters out there, but ever since I got these, I haven’t looked elsewhere. They don’t seem to be available for sale on Muji’s website, but they do seem to pop up a lot on eBay.
If you have other suggestions for great highlighters that are easy to find, please share them in the comments!
Westcott 6” Stainless Steel Ruler: I keep this ruler in the back of my notebook. If you want to make straight lines in your sketchnotes and have a clean sketchnoting style, this is super helpful.
Prismacolor Premier Soft-core Colored Pencils: Sometimes I like to add color and shading with colored pencil instead of markers. When I do, I turn to these.
Frankie & Coco Grant Pencil Case: Because having a cute pencil case makes you more likely to actually use your sketchnoting tools, right?
What are your favorite sketchnoting tools? Share them in the comments 🙂
2 thoughts on “9 Favorite Tools for Making Awesome Sketchnotes”
Thanks for the great inspiration! I am currently taking two teacher-librarian (TL) courses online and will need to create a handbook as a culminating project. Although I will need to use online tools, I have to agree, there is something about paper and pen that you just can’t get with using a screen! The colours, the tactile feeling, and all the fun and beautiful writing utensils are just so satisfying! I think some notebook shopping might need to happen ASAP! Your website and blog will definitely be added to my TL Handbook. You’ve got some great ideas!
Thanks Meghan! I’ll often digitally scan my sketchnotes after creating them, so that might be a workaround for you.
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