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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Sketchbook for You

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Sketchbook for You

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Sketchbook for You

Choosing the perfect sketchbook for your needs can be a tough task. There are so many different types and styles of sketchbooks available on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. However, by considering your individual needs and preferences, you can narrow down the field and find the perfect sketchbook for you. In this article, we'll give you a few tips on how to choose the best sketchbook for your needs. So whether you're looking for a large-format book for detailed drawings or a small and compact notebook for quick sketches on the go, we've got you covered. Let's get started!

Size: Do you want a large sketchbook for detailed drawings, or a smaller one that you can easily carry around with you?

Probably the most popular size is the A5 book with 8.5 x 5.5 inch sheets. These handy books pop into your backpack or purse for art making on the go.

Or if you really want something small try a pocket sketchbook at 5.5 x 3.5 inches. These little journals are ideal for making sketches or drawing when hiking in the great outdoors.

Maybe you would like more surface for your art making. Then look for larger sizes, 7 x 10 inches, 8.5 x 11.5 (also known as the A4 size) or even super large at 11.5 x 16 inches.

Paper type and quality: What kind of paper do you want to use? Some artists prefer thicker paper for a smoother drawing surface, while others prefer thinner paper for quick sketches and easy portability.

If you are looking for paper best for pencils or ink, you may want smooth paper -- sometimes call hot pressed paper.

Or you may want "cold pressed" paper made for wet media that is rough and thick. Some types of paper offer a happy medium between the two -- smooth with a bit of texture. You may want to try different types of paper to see which you prefer. 

Binding: Would you prefer a spiral-bound notebook or sewn thread bound book? Consider that some books are hard bound and others offer a soft cover.

Spiral-bound notebook: This type of sketchbook offers a generous page size and is easy to use. The spiral binding also allows you to open the book flat, making it easier to draw on. However, some artists dislike the bulky look and feel of giant rings on the binding.

Hardcover book: A hardcover sketchbook is a good choice if you want a durable book that will last for years. But, keep in mind that these books can be heavier to pack and are more expensive than other types of sketchbooks.

Softcover book: Flexible PU Leather covers make books lighter in weight and easier to pack around. These sketchbooks feel less bulky and more comfortable to hold. Often the larger sizes of soft-covered art journals will lay flat for easy art making.

Number of Pages: Check how many pages the books offer. Number of pages range from 65, 100, 160 or even 200. If the quality of paper is good you can make art on both sides of the pages – doubling the amount of art in each book. .

Brands? Which Brand to Choose?

In July 2022, Art Blogger Cat Ellis at the Creative Blog did an extensive review of sketchbooks on the market and ranked the top books. Her list of the five best brands is a good place to begin.

Moleskine notebook: Cat picks Moleskine notebooks are the number one journal for sketching. Moleskine books are famous for their compact size and sleek design. They're perfect for artists who want a sketchbook they can easily carry around with them. However, some people find the pages to be too thin and delicate for drawing.

Leda Art Supply Sketchbooks: Ranking number two on Cat's list as a "superb all-rounder", Leda is popular for its flexible cover and soft and smooth paper. Leda gives you 160 pages -- 54 more pages than Moleskine's Art Plus. And fans say that the paper quality is better than the leading brand. Leda comes in 4 sizes -- from pocket to extra large. However, the paper wrinkles with watercolor and markers may show through on the back side of sheets.

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad: Number three best is a spiral-ringed sketchbook. Creative Blog says it is one of the best available for professional artists. The fine-tooth paper carries graphite, colored pencils and pastels well. And the pad lays flat on the table. However, some artists think that the look and feel of its metal ringed binding is a drawback aesthetically. And the price per sheet means it's probably too expensive for regular use. 

Bellofy Artist Sketchbook: coming in at fourth place is another Spiral bound art book made with super thick watercolor paper. It is perfect for wet media like ink or watercolor and allows for dry media like charcoal and pencil as well. This book is ring-bound at the top, making it easy for left handed artists. Negative reviews report that the paper is too rough for graphite, does not erase well and tends to peel and break apart.

Canson Artist Series Watercolor Pad: Fifth best sketchbook is the Canson Watercolor pad. This spiral ringed book is designed for watercolor so repeated washes don't deform the paper. Pages can be easily removed. Some artists dislike the thickness of the paper for quick sketches and the cost per page is a bit pricey.

Conclusion: Now that you know what to look for, choosing the best sketchbook for your needs should be a breeze. Just keep in mind your personal preferences and the type of sketches you plan on creating, and you’re sure to find the perfect book for all of your drawing needs. Happy sketching!

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