Sketchnoting: Lesson 1: Tools

The good news is that you don’t need any special tools for sketchnoting. Technically, the back of a napkin is just fine! But you’ll probably prefer a good notebook and your favourite pen. 

When I sketchnote online sessions, I tend to use A3 printer paper. This gives me more space to work and lets me draw bigger icons. At conferences, I bring a notepad with blank paper. This provides a bit of support when I don’t have a table to lean on. 

In terms of pens, I use whatever is near me at the time.. You may want to explore the ‘Pens, pens, pens’ lesson in my Intro to Graphic Facilitation module for ideas and inspiration. 

However, I do LOVE Pilot Frixion pens as you can erase them. They come in ballpoint (e.g. biro) and fibre tip (e.g. felt tip) types. You can buy refills for the ballpoint pens, which reduces plastic waste! 



Photo of Pilot frixion pens.

Top tip: if you can’t unscrew the pen to change the refill cartridge (because it’s stuck), wrap an elastic band round each end and try again! The rubber gives you extra traction. 

If you want a demo, here’s a reel I made for Instagram: 

For commissioned pieces, I use digital tools: a drawing laptop and digital pen with adobe fresco. I also use a drawing glove, so the pads of my hands don’t interfere with my drawing. In regards to software, I use Adobe Fresco. If you’re an Apple user, Procreate is a popular tool. 

digital pen

Every digital drawing software is different so whatever you choose, I’d recommend having a play around. I find the best way to learn to use the software is to use it. You may need to find some online tutorials to get you started. 

This course will focus on sketchnoting in general. You can use whatever tools you like. 

If you have any questions, or find an amazing tool to share, please post it in the Facebook group.