Sketchnote Tip #5: Color like a pro!

Color like a pro!

You can’t throw darts on a color wheel and come up with a winning combination (most likely!) Choosing colors for your sketchnotes should have a strategy. 

You may be familiar with terms or “color schemes” like complementary, analogy, triadic, etc. This is a good place to start, but following it can still get you into trouble. 

The best rule of thumb for sketchnote coloring is this: 

Lighter and Brighter! 

You’re probably sketchnoting on white or light paper with black ink. You want your content (your text and drawings) to stand out, and if you color it too dark, your sketchnotes will be too hard to read and will look bad. You might describe your notes as heavy, dark, or muddy.  

Notice the circles at the bottom of the page. See how the black line is barely visible with most of the colors on the left? That’s not ideal! The colors on the right are lighter and brighter, and allow the black lines to show up.

Using lighter and brighter colors on your sketchnotes helps create better contrast, visual interest, and understanding.

For more coloring tips, check out “The Sketchnoters Guide to Confident Coloring” at