I made this iPhone X wallpaper from a note I took while reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. It’s one of the affirmative call of the book in contrast to the negative warning against social media and endless streams.

Now I see it every time I go to unlock my phone. A reminder to not cram every minute with other people’s thoughts and words, but to spend time reflecting and thinking.

As a Christian, this time naturally turns to prayer. Both that of gratitude and supplication. I didn’t specifically add that so that any reader might find it useful and choose to use it.

You can download the image below.

The actual creation was rather simple. I have a template in procreate based on an iPhone screen size. I started with that and then dragged in a black later. I left some space at the top for the time and date. Then, from my sketchnote pen set, I used my “sharpie” shape for the main line. I soon realised that doing everything in large letters would be too much, so I used my “thin pen” for the smaller parts. Finally, I used a brush pen for “be” to add some more variation.

I wanted the largest text to be sufficient on its own. “Alone…thoughts..” it works as a call though the rest obviously enhances the call.

I love my aeropress. It’s a great way to get good coffee, doesn’t take much space and has a fun, kinetic experience (press that plunger!) So I made a sketchnote love letter to mine.

Can a love letter have a complain (my issues with removing coffee grinds?) regardless, I wanted to show my simple technique for using an aeropress. It’s not the sort of thing that would win me any of these aeropress championships, but it works for me.

About the sketchnote

I used my leuchttrum notebook and two Faber castell pens in small and 1.5 for most of the sketchnote. I also used a Faber Castell brush pen in black for the brush letter “Enjoy” and a grey one for some shadows. I wanted to try a slightly different headline style for the main item. I didn’t spend too much time on the text within the sketchnote but the main headline and images were more important to me.

The Accidental Creative podcast is one of those which I frequently return to despite it often being only Todd Henry talking. I love that it isn’t overly long and often has practical tips for creativity.

In a recent episode, Todd shared how he plans his week and the weekly planner he used. I liked many of the ideas he shared and knew I wanted to turn them into a sketchnote. So I found a copy of his planner (which you can buy) imported it into Procreate, and added some notes around the side.

This kind of sketchnoting — with images imported and highlighted — is a style I don’t often use but is highly useful. It adds the real object you are referencing, but allows you to add your notes and comments. You can create quick references cards to return to and making it leads to a greater understanding of the idea.

I’m going to make one for Todd’s Daily planner too so.

Although I most often sketchnote using pen and paper, I also use procreate for digital sketchnoting. When I started I spent a while exploring the different default brushes to learn what did what. That meant I often found myself rooting around and spending vital time searching for a suitable pen instead of actively listening and sketching.

After a while, I started to settle upon a few useful tools including a custom brush or two that I picked up along the way. But this introduced a different problem. I couldn’t quickly get to the brush I wanted.

The Problem with the default Procreate Brush Layout

One brush I used was in the top section of pencils, another in the final imported set I had created. Another was somewhere around the middle in the brushes set.

This added friction and time when sketchnoting and took more mental processing power.

It’s no wonder many sketchnoters prefer apps like linea and paper which have fewer options. In fact, this had been the approach I had adopted for a long time.

A simpler app without the power features except when I was sketchnoting a book or other content where I could take my time.

Saving time and mental energy with a Custom, Sketchnote Brush Set

A month or so ago I solved my transition problem with a simple solution.
A custom set of brushes specifically for sketchnoting.

This is the digital representation of my dual micron set up. A thin pen, thick pen and brush pen for a wide variety of basic needs. Then a couple more experiments and textures for other purposes.

This allows me to use the app I really like with creative limits and I can add more to my sketchnotes later.

If you’d like to download my custom set of procreate brushes for sketchnoting. Click this link.