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Just getting started in planning and want to know what are some of the best planning tools to start out with? Well then you my friend, are in for a treat!
I have composed a not-so-extensive list for beginners of the best planning tools I use and have been enjoying. I did not want to go too far into the realm of decorating planners. Specifically because if you are new to planning, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed.
And then also, everyone’s decorative style is not the same. So here are some general planning tools to get you going at an affordable price (and this isn’t in any particular order).
Best Planning Tools For Beginners
It’s my opinion, but the Sharpie Fine Point* pens are by far one of the BEST pens I’ve ever used! If you’re looking for any type of thick-tipped black ink pen, the sharpie fine point pen should be your go-to.
At a very affordable price, the Sharpie pens write very smooth and are fluid in ink. I’ve never had an issue with skipping and the nib makes it easier to flow as you write.
The ink is not too thin but not too thick or bold and is a great medium if you don’t like ultra fine point tips but not necessarily a big fan of thicker tipped pens either. It’s not a gel pen and there is absolutely NO smearing either! One of my favorite pens ever!
Staedtler Triplus Fineliners 0.3mm Pens
A good runner up to the sharpie fine point pens are these staedtler triplus fineliners*. They are very light, never an issue with ghosting or bleeding and come in so many bright and wonderful colors.
Another awesome, quick drying pen and leaves no smearing and comes in a wonderful array of colors. Where the Sharpie pens lack (for me anyways) is in their shortage of different colors and that’s where the staedtler pens easily whisk me away!
The ink is slightly thinner than the Sharpie pens. So with a tip size of 0.3mm, they do border on the ultra fine point side.
Also, another GREAT bonus is that they never dry out! The cap could be off for hours (DAYS even) and the ink will not dry up! A great addition if you tend to forget to put your pen cap back on (or lose your pen caps). I once left a pen cap off for two days because I couldn’t find it, and it still wrote like a dream! I seriously adore these pens so much and they are a great addition for beginner planning tools.
Tombow Fudenosuke Calligraphy Brush Pen
When others tell you that the tombow fudenosuke pen* is a perfect brush pen for new calligraphy artists, believe them. I use it now to be able to hand letter into smaller areas, but overall it really has improved my muscle memory.
The pack I get comes in three, and there is a flexible tip and a hard tip. Of course, it’s all written in Japanese which I can’t read 😐 but it’s easy to distinguish because one feels more stiff and controlled than the other.
The hard tipped version is the best one to start with if you are new to hand lettering since it will allow you to focus more on the pen movement and give you a decent outcome.
Flexible tipped brush pens are NOT hard to work with, but if you’re not sure how to move the pen when lettering, your work will definitely come out sloppier. Just saying.
So add this to your list of planning tools if you want to start practicing calligraphy!
I will be honest and say that I don’t do a lot of separate practicing with hand lettering outside of what I decorate in my planners, but even within a year of off and on practice, the improvement is very noticeable.
Pentel Brush Pens
If you want beyond the regular black ink of the tombow fudenosuke brush pens and want a more colorful and vibrant brush pen, the pentel brush pens* are pretty hard to beat! The colors are beautiful and bold and they are easy to write with.
Now, the pentel brush pens have a flexible tip, so lettering with them is a lot looser. If you are still in the beginning stages of calligraphy, these brush pens will be tougher to use, but it’s not impossible and might help you learn faster.
But if you’re in the mood to try your hands on some premium flexible tip brush pens, or you just really want some colorful brush pens, the Pentel brush pens are the best! The colors are extremely vibrant, even the yellow is GORGEOUS! They easily add a pop of color to ANY planner spread or notebook.
Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens
When I first got into planning, the papermate inkjoy gel pens* were a staple in my planning tools for a LONG time. They come in both 0.7mm and 0.5mm sizes.
I, personally, have always been partial to thicker tipped pens, so my go to was always the 0.7mm size and it. IS. A BOLD pen. The 0.5mm size is very fine for a gel pen and better suited for those who enjoy thinner ink writing pens.
It is a gel pen so it does have the ability to smear a bit right after using it. But once you let it dry, it never smears again on paper. If you write on stickers, it will heavily depend on the type of sticker paper you use because sometimes it DOES smear even after drying, but not much. I tend to feel like Sharpie pens are better for writing on stickers than the inkjoy pens.
But, for those who prefer a thicker (or thinner)-inked tip, the papermate inkjoy gel pens are great!
Erin Condren Dual Tip Markers
Erin condren dual tip markers* are not to go unnoticed in the writing utensil community lol.
They are very nice writing pens and come in a plethora of colors! Great for doing hand lettering and faux calligraphy and come with a fine tipped side and a thicker marker side.
I think the best thing about these markers really are the color choices and that there are so many to choose from! Bold and vibrant colors are very important to me, so trust me when I tell you that these ARE the go to markers of you’re in search of some intensely colorful writing utensils. And the pen itself feels very durable and maintains its quality we know and love from the Erin Condren brand.
For The Extra Artsy
Tombow Dual Brush Markers
Probably the first of my art planning tools were the tombow dual brush markers* pack. They started me into such over-dramatic decorative planning, and I still love to use them! Calligraphy is how I tend to use them the most and I’ve gotten much better at it over the years.
These markers come with a flexible brush tip and a sturdy writing tip on the other. This is GREAT for learning how to hand letter with a flexible tip, but it is difficult seeing as though the tip is MUCH larger than a tombow fudenosuke or pentel brush pen.
Aside from lettering, these markers are also great for coloring! They are water based markers so they don’t easily bleed through paper like an alcohol based marker would. They also do a decent job at blending.
Most (if not all) tombow dual brush marker packs comes with the colorless blender brush (the white brush), and with it, you can practice doing faux watercolor techniques. They also come in a wide range of colors and at a decent price too.
Faber Castell Artist Pens
Faber Castell Artist pens* are great for outlining my art and doodles. Since I tend to draw alot in my planner, having good quality pens for that is important to me. I haven’t found anything I like using more than these and they are a definite staple in my planning tools.
I’ve been using them for over a year now and have not had any issues with the ink fading over turning green (or any other color for that matter). And the XS small pen* is GREAT for adding small details to your artwork as well.
Erin Condren Sticker Sheets
I really love the ease of using Erin Condren sticker sheets*. These sheets make it easy to decorate a weekly spread in just a few minutes!
Created for the simple decorative planner in mind, the entire sheet can be all you need to craft your aesthetically pleasing weekly spread. They come in a variety of different themes, but styles are discontinued over time. So if there is one you love, better snag before it’s gone forever!
Crayola Supertip Markers
The cheaper alternative to tombow dual brush markers are the crayola supertips*, and much like tombow, they come in many wonderful colors too. I use these for mainly highlighters and actual coloring, but sometimes I also use them for calligraphy.
The supertips are just they are. Smaller tipped fat markers (at least compared to most other Crayola markers). Obviously, there are other smaller fine tipped markers out there, but the super tips are a nice medium for coloring both large areas and smaller areas that call for a…well, a smaller tip.
I feel that for the price, these markers are wonderful and incredibly easy to work with and can be used in a variety of ways.
I still find the dual brush markers easier to use for calligraphy though.
Other Planning Tools To Have On Hand
Sticky notes* are great all-around planning tools to have handy. They are notoriously used for pre-planning and jotting down additional thoughts/tasks/whatever throughout the week or even months ahead.
This is one the best planning tools for the more “indecisive and spontaneous” planner to have since nothing has to be written in stone. They allow you to pre plan for as far out as you can think and never forget to jot down another appointment or deadline again!
Half & Quarter Box Stickers
I say if you’re going to start buying ANY type of decorative-but-functional sticker in your planner, go for half and quarter boxes first.
It is possibly thee absolute simplest way to add color and decor to your planner without having to crack out an entire sticker kit or come up with some meticulous theme for the week.
I, personally, like to make my own that I also sell as printables in my shop. I use them to record my work hours, track appointments, and keep memories of things that I want to remember down the line.
Happy Planner Stickers
But um, if you care to be a little more decorative, then Happy Planner stickers are WONDERFUL additions to your planning tools! A lot of the nicer ones tend to sell out fast, but even the older versions leave a lot to be desired. The value that you get out of them is excellent and if you want to start decorative planning, I would start with a Happy Planner stickerbook first.
Being a very experimental type, I like to add things into my planners that are not stickers. Things like cardstock decorations and other memorabilia. A tape runner* is essential for the scrapbook-planner and allows you to explore a range outside of just washi and stickers all the time.
Scissors / Exacto Knife
It’s one of those planning tools that you don’t really think about needing… until you need it. Scissors can be used for trimming down stickers, trimming planner pages, or just cutting out different things to add.
Happy Planner Punch
If you have a Happy Planner or a similar disc-bound planner, then having a Happy Planner Punch* is definitely recommended! The biggest reason to love a discbound planner is because of it’s flexibility.
And the flexibility in customization is ENDLESS once you add a Happy Planner Punch to your planning tools. Add in useful pages that you create yourself, add in paintings or drawings or even just a motivational quote that you printed off of pinterest. The options are infinite!
And yet, another planner supply you don’t think about until you need it. Of course, a ruler* is not mandatory, but it is pretty helpful. Especially if you can be OCD about having those perfectly straight lines.
I put this at the bottom of my list because I have not tried them personally, but I have seen others use them and they look absolutely AMAZING! They make it easy for you to visualize exactly where you want to place stickers and also make it easy to lift them up off the page.
I found these on amazon* if you were interested in trying them out for yourself.
Ready, Set, PLAN!
And that’s going to wrap up the beginning essentials for your planning tools. Aside from the Extra Artsy section, you don’t need a ton to get started in planning. And once you get into it, your planning style will evolve along the way. I can assure you that. 😐
So just jump in, have fun and enjoy your planners! And until the next post, have a great day!
What are some of your essential planning tools? Share them below!