Sketching Superpowers

Sketching Superpowers

Chris Murphy · 23 February, 2021

Workshop participants always ask which pens I use, so I put together the following page collecting everything in one location. You don't need these pens for the workshop, but they do improve your sketches (especially the brush pens). At a minimum you need:

  1. A handful of pens in different colours.
  2. Some plain, preferably low cost, paper (photocopy or printer paper is perfect).
  3. An old credit card, some coins at different sizes and a ruler.


I recommend limiting your palette to a handful of finepoint gel pens in different colours and some brush pens for adding highlights. I’ve evolved this kit over the years, testing various pens and different shades of brush pens.

For details, I recommend Pilot G-Tec-C4 Gel Microtip Rollerball Pens. For the broader brushstrokes, I swear by the Tombow ABT N75 Dual Brush Pen, which can elevate any drawing. If you can afford a set of these with a blender pen, even better.


I always carry a notebook. Always. You never know when an idea will emerge from the ether and there’s nothing worse than forgetting that perhaps world-changing idea, because you weren’t prepared.

If you have access to it, plain photocopy or printer paper is perfect. By using low cost paper, you remove the stress ("Oh no! I've ruined it!") of the sketching process.


I use a variety of stencils for sketching, but you don't need anything expensive or hard-to-find. The tools I use most are:

  1. An old credit card, for drawing the outlines for a phone or browser.
  2. A handful of coins at different sizes, for drawing around.
  3. A ruler.


I'd recommend the following books, in this order, i.e. buy The Sketchnote Workbook first:

Scratch Notebooks

The following is a draft for my scratch notebooks system.

Scratch Notebooks (Draft)
Scratch Notebooks (Draft)