You’ve watched the videos, you want to join in, but you’re faced with the IMPOSSIBLE TASK of choosing a sketchbook. We know, we’ve been there. It’s taken all of us a long time to find our ride or die sketchbooks so here’s a little run down of our favourites, and what to look for based on your art!
So GSM (Grams per Square Meter) refers to the weight of the paper. Higher GSM means better absorbency (and usually quality) which is something to bear in mind when choosing your own. It’s also useful to check the paper texture, some watercolour sketchbooks can have very textured paper, and some more professional sketchbooks can have recycled paper that might cause pens to bleed so it’s always good to check at your local art supply store, just have a feel of all the paper types!
For planning types of sketchbooks we all love the Moleskine blank journals, the paper’s thin but nice to use pencils and pens on. Moleskine’s price is a bit steep but they’re a nice treat!
Sticking with the ‘pricey-treat’ sketchbooks, I’m a big fan of the MosseryCo sketchbooks, the sketchbooks can be totally customised and there’s a variety of papers you can chose from!
If you’re after a cheaper alternative to the ‘throwaway’ sketchbook (somewhere to jot down rough ideas, not actually throw away…) then we also recommend MUJI’s recycled paper notebooks/sketchbooks which are available from Amazon!
For thicker paper a lot of us use the Daler Rowney Ivory sketchbooks, which are hardback sketchbooks in a range of sizes, with 150gsm cartridge paper, available in most art shops or Amazon! These are really good for pens/pencils/paint and all sorts! It’s not PERFECT if you’re using watercolours or very wet markers/pens but they’re good for a wide range of materials if you’re not too sure what you want to start with!
For more specialised books, Robbie recommends Magma sketchbooks, they do specialised sketchbooks for a wide range of fields such as illustration, fashion, architecture and animation with useful resources in the back (for example the animation sketchbooks have story board frames). Again, more expensive, but a really nice sketchbook if you’re looking for something special!
For painting, I recommend the Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks, available in varying sizes but my favourite is the A4. It’s a great size for painting (a5 can be too small for paint!) and the paper quality is great. If you like treasuring your sketchbooks and creating beautiful pages in them then these sketchbooks are really nice for that!
Helen recommends (and LOVES) the Fabriano classic artist journal for sketching, light painting (like light washes of paper and experimentation) and the paper quality is really nice, and the sketchbooks have different shades of paper which can be nice for mixing things up!
Don’t be afraid of buying the wrong sketchbook, a lot of us have a whole heap of books for different uses, so it’s OK if you buy one and realise you can’t paint in it, just use it for plans or doodling or whatever!