Since I started sharing my digital sketchnotes of the Next 90 Challenge I have been asked a couple of times about what materials I use to create my digital sketchnotes and what other tools I recommend for sketchnoting. Before I share those with you, keep in mind, that all you need to get started with sketchnoting is a simple pencil and a piece of paper. Everything else is just a bonus. Still, here are some of the materials I love using for digital and analog sketchnoting.

For Digital Sketchnoting

iPad and Apple Pencil

I draw my digital sketchnotes on my iPad (6th Gen) with an Apple Pencil. For me, buying an iPad was one of my best investments of 2018. There are many other drawing tablets that you can use as well, such as Microsoft Surface. However, I haven’t tried any of them, so I can’t give you any opinion on other tablets.

iPad and Apple Pencil for digital sketchnoting


iOS App – Procreate

The software I use for my digital sketchnotes is called Procreate. I love this software for so many reasons, but mostly because, unlike many other apps, it’s not subscription based. You can purchase the entire software once for around $10. I’m planning to write a more extensive article on the pros and cons of Procreate. When that happens, I will add a link here. 

Other Drawing Apps

The biggest disadvantage of Procreate is that you can only use it to create pixel-based art. Depending on what you use sketchnoting for, you might need a software for vector-based artwork. Therefore, I compiled a list of some of the other drawing apps I heard of. I haven’t tried these yet, so you have to see for yourself if they work for your specific needs. 

Brad Colbow makes really good reviews that might be helpful as well.

Pens and Markers

Brushpen – Tombow ABT

The Tombow ABT brushpens are most known from bullet journaling and handlettering. These pens have two sides, one with a brush tip and the other one with a market tip. I’m a minimalist, so I try not to own too many brush pens, but since I use these every day, I definitely don’t regret purchasing a couple of sets.

Here are the two sets of brush pens that I use every day:

I use the Tombow ABT brushpens for highlighting and also to create shades for the containers in my sketchnotes.

Staedler Pigment Liner 0.3

The Staedler Pigment Liner 0.3 mm is my favorite fineliner for writing and sketching. This is actually the only pen I use on paper. 

Stabilo Marker

I use the Stabilo marker pen 68 mostly for my sketchnotes in my bullet journal. I use it mostly for writing titles or a key message from something I learned.

Neuland Marker

Unfortunately, you can only buy Neuland markers in the Neuland stores. Luckily, you only need these markers if you want to use sketchnoting/graphic recording on a flipchart or a canvas.


I bought a couple of these ring notebooks years ago in IKEA. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen them since then, so I tried to find something similar on Amazon. I haven’t tried these yet, but based on the reviews, they should be quite good and one of my favorite German sketchnoters, Nadine Roßa uses them as well.

Block notebooks in size A5 and A4

I hope you found this helpful. If you don’t know how to get started with sketchnoting or you’re just looking for more resources, check out my resources for visual thinkers page.

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