A work in progress, here is a glimpse at the supplies I keep on hand every time I note take and bullet journal. Go ahead and skip to the bottom for paper recommendations for bullet journals and sketchnotes.
Endlessly useful. These tiny super sharp scissors fit in the back of my pen case and, paired with my glue pen, make it easy to cut out accents or important snippets and add them to my journal.
Black, black, and only black. Consistent black lines give me the freedom to fill and shadow with more color. Though MultiLiners are perfect for certain spaces, the Sharpie Pen feels like a never-fail option that resists smearing under Copic inks.
Mostly I keep these pencils around for making margin notes in textbooks, but the fine lead also works well, with a good eraser, to give yourself a bit of a temporary grid before you start inking in your layout.
I tried the Martha Stewart glue pen and love it. Guys, I love it. It goes with me to school and work daily as a permanent resident of my pen case. It’s 10X lighter and smaller than carrying a bottle of glue and works way, way better than a glue stick to apply glue precisely and evenly.
I’m typically a sucker for quality products, but I have searched art stores high and low for good erasers and my favorite remains the gummy, scented erasers from Daiso.
Copic has hundreds of color options to suit your own style, but here are the 5 colors I always carry in my pen case:
The multiple nib sizes, as well as replaceable nibs and refillable ink make the Multiliners my top choice for inking. My only complaint is that they can sometimes bleed, depending on paper, if not allowed to dry long enough before filling the background with copic ink.
GREY COPIC MARKERS
Ya’ll, grey markers are the coolest. The. Coolest. Adding depth and shadows without making the page busy is their specialty- and I’ve got a tutorial about it.
If you wanna go big, go for the 12-Piece Neutral Gray Set, however for doodle notes (as opposed to, for example, illustrating comics or architectural sketches) I have never used darker than N3. For that reason, even though individually copics are more expensive than the set, if you want to experiment with grey you might want to go with individual markers:
Also shown in this set is the COPIC BLENDING MARKER. If you try copics at all, you’ve got to add this marker to your set. It will fade and feather one color or can be used to blend multiple colors together for a watercolor type effect.
Post It Notes
Don’t forget the organizational powerhouse of Post It notes. I’m a loyalist to post it Super Sticky notes and always keep a stack in my pen case for shorthand notes that are more temporary than belong in my bullet journal.
I’m fairly convinced a ruler is a basic necessity, and this angle ruler is my pick. It’s practically useful, and the fact that it is flexible and foldable means that it slips into the back row of my pen case and won’t break when I force the zipper closed over a few-too-many markers.
I’ve ordered many pen cases and returned almost as many. This Basic Pen Case gets my vote as the winner. It’s cheap, not the cutest, but WOW has it held up well. After 18 months of heavy use (being tossed in the bottom of a bag through a public transportation commute, most days) it shows virtually no wear.
It’s sized well to hold copics and I like the center “page” layout which helps make it feel more like a portfolio of writing supplies instead of a jumbled pencil case.
1. For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been hooked on Whitelines Paper. This innovative paper company has created paper with a very subtle grey grid that keeps doodles and headers straight without the intrusion of lines or lined grids. They had me at grey on grey, but whitelines is 3-4 times more bleed resistant and smudge resistant (miracle!) than Moleskine, Fabriano, or Leuchtturm’s papers.
2. After I’d been using and recommending Canson Mixed Media Paper Spiral Notebooks for awhile, my artist friend Kate turned me onto Strathmore’s lovely new collection of softcover mixed media journals– perfect for bullet journaling. Both of these are great choices if you blend copics or use watercolor in your journals- mixed media paper has the heft to stand up to these stronger pigments.