All about the apps

Paper 53

Paper 53 icon.png

Everyone loves Paper 53, especially for its beautiful painterly washes. No other app does this so well.

It is so simple to start and you can go straight ahead and create a nice drawn note. Karen Bosch has made a quick start video to show you what it can do and there are many more online. Try out the different pens (not customisable) and the cut/copy tool.

There are so many tutorials and amazing artwork created on Paper 53, all you have to do is search on YouTube. Here’s a playlist I have created. Just click the 3 little lines in the top left corner to access all the videos:

mastering Paper 53

Adobe Draw 


This is my app of choice having eventually made the crossover from Adobe Ideas. The reason I love it so much is for the layers and opacity.

Adobe Draw allows you more customisation as you can make each tool opaque or smaller/larger with the touch and drag of a button. Layers allow you to easily trace and move items about. Try out the pens and layers.

Have a look at some other videos in the following playlist:


Notability is an excellent starting app for transitioning from paper notes to digital.  Its simplicity is what makes it so useable. You can draw/write, type, cut/paste/rotate as well as insert audio, images and shapes. It really does seem to do it all and easily. Have a look at the following tutorial and try it out:


If you like working with pen and paper, have a look at Rocketbook Wave, a Kickstarter project I supported in 2015. It seems like a regular book, but the magic starts when you pair it with its app to send your notes to the cloud and onto various other locations. Amazingly it can also be put in the microwave when full to clear it – very sustainable!

Explain Everything


Explain Everything is another tried and tested great app for visualising your thinking. You can draw, type and record your thinking. The app’s creator Reshan Richards demonstrates his live notetaking in this video below:


PPT logo

You can even draw and record your screen using Powerpoint. See Dan Roam demonstrate his method (equally interchangeable with an iPad):

Other apps to try out:

Procreate          Tayasui Sketches      Goodnotes          Do Ink             Notes            Notes Plus

Procreate-3-Store       Tayasui    goodnotes    Do ink GreenScreenLogo    apple-note-notes-writer-write-document-file-paper-message-folder-pen-office-draw-3937bf77fef28333-512x512    notes plus logo

Playlist on Visual Notetaking on YouTube