Which Sketchbook Is The Best? A Sketchbook Review

Which sketchbook is the best? That depends on what you want to get out of your sketchbook. This sketchbook review will help you choose the right sketchbook for your drawing habits. Keep in mind where you sketch and with what medium when selecting a sketchbook.

 

 

Affordable Sketchbooks

When you want to practice and crank out as many sketches and studies as you can.

 

Canson XL Mixed Media Pad

This is my go-to sketchbook. Inexpensive with paper that can take some abuse. Is it a beautiful handsewn book? No. But buy it and fill it with insane doodles and watch any fear you have of ruining a sketchbook melt away.

  • 60 sheets / 120 pages
  • Size: 12" x 9"
  • Paper weight: 98 lb / 160 gsm
  • Texture: Minimal
  • Best for: Pencil, ink
  • Can Handle: Light watercolor, gouache and acrylic
  • Avoid: Heavy applications of water

Check current price on Amazon

 

 

Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Sketch Pad

With a toned sketchbook you can create dimensional drawings quickly by taking advantage of the mid-tone of the paper and adding in darker tones and highlights. This is a great sketchbook for markers, ink, colored pencils and white gel pens.

  • 50 sheets / 100 pages
  • Size: 12" x 9"
  • Paper weight: 80 lb / 118 gsm
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Best for: Ink, colored pencils, markers (bleeds through)
  • Can Handle: Light gouache highlights
  • Avoid: Water

Check current price on Amazon

 

 

 

Beautiful Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks as a finished work of art

 

Moleskine

Moleskine sketchbooks are extremely popular with artists. These books have a sleek, minimal design that keeps the focus on the artwork. Ink drawings look great in these books. The paper is slightly yellow with rounded corners.

  • 52 sheets / 104 pages
  • Size: 5" x 8¼"
  • Paper weight: 111 lb / 165 gsm
  • Texture: Minimal
  • Best for: Pencil, ink, colored pencils
  • Can Handle: Light watercolor and gouache
  • Avoid: Heavy applications of water

Check current price of Moleskine Sketchbook on Amazon

 

 

 

Accordion Sketchbook

Accordion sketchbooks are incredibly dramatic when opened. These are very different from the other sketchbooks on the list but they never fail to impress. These books work great for a collection of drawings of a similar subject. Or create one continuous, epic drawing.

  • 10 panels
  • Size: 6" x 4"
  • Paper weight: 140 lb / 300 gsm
  • Texture: Cold press
  • Best for: Watercolor, gouache, ink
  • Can Handle: Light acrylic

Check current price of Pentalic Watercolor Accordian Sketch Book on Amazon

 

 

Cottonwood Arts

My pick for the most beautiful sketchbook. Cottonwood Arts produces several different sketchbooks meant for different media. They also produce both a portrait and landscape version of each of their papers. The paper is high quality and the book itself is very well made. These sketchbooks have an elastic closure and a hard cover that looks great as is and is easy to decorate if you want. If you would like to try this sketchbook, I recommend buying this book through Amazon to save on shipping.

  • 60 sheets / 120 pages
  • Size: 11 ½" x 8 ¼"
  • Paper weight: 65 lb / 175 gsm
  • Texture: Very smooth
  • Best for: Ink, pens, pencil
  • Can Handle: Markers (bleeds through on back of page but not to next sheet)
  • Avoid: Any water

 

 

 

Pocket-Sized

Mobile sketchbooks for lunch breaks, buses, cafes and wherever else you wander.

 

Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook

A miniature version of the moleskine sketchbook. Each has a hard cover, elastic closure and an inner pocket.

  • 40 sheets / 80 pages
  • Size: 3 ½" x 5 ½"
  • Paper weight: 111 lb / 165 gsm
  • Texture: Minimal
  • Best for: Pencil, ink, colored pencils
  • Can Handle: Light watercolor and gouache
  • Avoid: Heavy applications of water

Check current price of Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook on Amazon

 

 

Stillman and Birn Alpha Softcover Sketchbook

Stillman & Birn books are still new to me but so far I'm impressed with this little red sketchbook. The paper is sized and of a high enough quality for experimental work. Stillman & Birn offers these pocket sizes bound for portraits and landscapes. If you prefer a pocket sketchbook with a softcover, try this one out.

  • 46 sheets / 92 pages
  • Size: 3 ½" x 5 ½"
  • Paper weight: 100 lb / 150 gsm
  • Texture: Medium tooth
  • Best for: Dry media and ink
  • Can Handle: Light watercolor and gouache
  • Avoid: Heavy applications of water

Check current price of Stillman and Birn Alpha Softcover Sketchbook on Amazon

Hopefully this sketchbook review will help you find out which sketchbook is best for you. I'll be updating this page as I try new sketchbooks so let me know in the comments if your favorite sketchbook isn't here.