Sketchnote Equipment – What pens and markers to use?

[This post is one of many inspired by Agile 2015.]

When my sketchnotes circulated on Twitter due to Agile 2015 people asked me what pens and markers I use. Many sketchnoters have carefully chosen equipment. I don’t. Not yet, anyway. You don’t need special equipment to get started. Use whatever you have. Normal paper and a biro will do. There’s enough time to research equiment once you know that you like visual notetaking 🙂 Your sketchnotes will become nicer with better equipment, but it’s not necessary.

At Agile I used pens that I grabbed in the office right before I left. Except for the light gray marker. Once I had pledged to sketchnote at the conference, I borrowed a “shadow marker” from a colleague (Thanks, Peter!). Shadows are important to me.

Anyway, here’s my combo:

3 pens - Neuland No One Marker #102, orange Sharpie, edding 1200 black felt pen
The markers I used for all Agile 2015 sketchnotes
  • Neuland No One Marker #102 for the shadows – Can absolutely recommend! You can paint over other pens and the lines won’t bleed.
  • Orange Sharpie I got from the organizers after losing the board marker I’d brought (Thank you!) – It’s okay. Bleeds a little and stinks a little. Would use again.
  • edding 1200 black felt pen – It’s okay. Bleeds a little. Doesn’t stink 😉 I’ll try to find a non-bleeding pen with a finer tip to use next time.

Additionally I used thicker-than-usual paper (100gr instead of the usual 80gr) because I had a stack at home and thought the bleeding might be less of a problem. I like the thicker paper. Feels more substantial and it’s nice that they are less transparent. If I hadn’t had thick paper I’d have used the “normal” one for printers.

Many sketchnoters have beautiful notebooks for their sketches. I love to look at those, but I would be inhibited by such a book. I’d always be afraid to put in a shitty sketch in between the nice ones. (It has happened. I’ve redone sketchnotes before.) I can sketch more freely on loose paper. Maybe I’ll overcome this one day.

If you’re already a sketchnoter, what pens and paper do you use?