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Best Sketchbooks

Expert Reviews & Buying Guide

quadcopter reviewsBest Sketchbooks

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How to Choose the Best Sketchbook

Today, we’re on the hunt for the best sketchbooks for the artist, traveler, writer, and student in your life! We found 10 beautiful sketchbooks that you can use with a variety of mediums to help fuel your creativity, like pencils, ink, watercolor, charcoal, and even acrylic paint! Before we get into the reviews, there are a few features we think you should know about first. That way, you can choose the best sketchbook for whatever style or medium you prefer!

Best Sketchbooks

Pages: The number of pages in each notebook is important, especially if you’re sticking to a budget! If you need a few lightweight sketchbooks for classes or one giant one for everything, we have a variety for you to choose from!

Best Sketchbooks

Cover Material: Most sketchbooks come with either leather or cardboard covers. Leather covers are typically weather-resistant and look luxurious in your studio or home library. Cardboard covers are more flexible, lightweight, and inexpensive, making them perfect for classroom use or practice sketchpads!

How to Choose the Best Sketchbook

Binding: Hardbound sketchbooks sometimes lie flat, and they hold up well to aggressive sketching or being tossed around in your bag. Spiral bound sketchbooks always lie flat or can be folded over flat to draw on the backside of each sheet.

Best Sketchbooks

Size: If you need a sketchbook for a class, make sure you’re getting the size your teacher requires! For personal sketching, make sure it’s the right size to fit in your bag or the size of drawings you like to do!

Best Sketchbooks

Paper Weight: The paper’s weight determines the overall thickness of the paper, and which mediums work best with it. Lightweight paper is best for pencils and detailed work. Heavyweight paper can handle inks, charcoal, and watercolors without bleeding through the other side.

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Lays Flat: This is totally a personal preference! If you need a sketchbook that won’t close on itself, grab one that lies flat for easier painting and drawing. If you want a sketchbook for journaling, a flat-lay book may not be necessary.

Top 10 Products

Now that you know what kind of sketchbook you’re looking for, here are 10 of the best sketchbooks for sale we found online! Each sketchbook is made to work with different mediums, and many of them can easily double as writing journals or class notebooks as well! If you’re pressed for time, we totally understand. Start off today by reading our Top Pick and Budget Pick. Later, when you have more free time, come back and read about the rest!

Leda Art Supply Sketchbook

Top Pick
Our top pick goes to this beautiful and durable sketchbook from Leda Art Supply. This flat-laying bound sketchbook is great for pencils, ink, charcoal, and even pastels. We think this is the best sketchbook because the paper is a sturdy 81 lb. weight, so inks and colors won’t bleed through the paper as you sketch. The paper is cream colored, which helps colors pop out clearly on the page. We also like that the cover is made of flexible, all-weather leather that will keep your drawings safe if you get caught in a drizzle. The back cover also has a small accordion pocket to store loose papers or an extra pencil, which is a nice bonus! Another great thing about this sketchbook is that it’s lightweight, so you can toss a few of these into your bag for on to go sketching without weighing you down! If you want a high quality sketchbook, grab one (or a few) of these!
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Canson Artist Sketch Pad

Budget Pick
If you are looking for small, cheap sketchbooks you can carry with you for impromptu sketching, give one of these sketchbooks from Canson a try! We like the smaller size of these sketchbooks for tossing in your bag without taking up precious space. The 61 lb., acid free paper is great for pencil and charcoal drawing, with a bit of tooth to it that captures textures well without smudging. It also erases rather cleanly too! You can do ink drawings with this paper too, but there may be a little color bleeding on the back of the page if you use a thick or wet ink. The spiral-bound sketchbook lies completely flat, whether opened wide or folded over, which is nice. We also like that this sketchbook has perforated pages that are true to their 5.5” x 8.5” size. You can easily remove pages to throw them in the trash, submit them for a class project, or have them framed!
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Strathmore Sketch Pad

Next up is our pick for the best sketchbook for colored pencils, charcoal, and soft pastels! This sketchbook has 100 pages of acid free, 60 lb. white paper that is perfect for honing your artistic skills with daily sketching exercises. We like the size of this sketchbook because it’s large enough to handle plenty of sketching practice, yet it fits easily in your backpack or art bag. The fine tooth texture is great for dry mediums like colored pencils and charcoal because it will grab the color and keep it on the page without smudging. It’s also sturdy enough to handle rough drawing or erasing multiple times without bending or tearing! Each sheet is also perforated true to size, and they are made to come out easily. No more tearing sheets on accident! We think this is a solid sketchbook for taking to your next drawing class, or to have on hand for more informal sketching or everyday practice drills!
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Artist’s Choice Sketch Pad

Would you like a couple sketchpads to dedicate to different mediums? This set of 2 sketchbooks from Artist’s Choice is great for keeping your drawing organized and easy to carry! It comes with 2 sketchbooks with 75 pages each, so you can keep one for your drawing classes, and have a separate one for your watercolor practice! We like that the spiral-bound sketchbook is 9” x 12”, which is large enough to do serious sketching and still fit into your bag. Another feature we like? The twin loop binding adds extra durability to your notepad, preventing excess tearing and pulling. The 60 lb. paper is heavy duty enough to handle light watercolors, ink, and a variety of dry mediums. We also like that it has a fine tooth texture, so you can see details whether you draw with pencils or pastels. The acid free paper is also perforated, so you can easily tear out sheets without worrying about annoying tears!
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Pentalic Sketch Book

While on the hunt for the best sketchbooks for drawing, we also wanted to find options that look as good on your bookshelf as they do in your hand. This beautiful sketchbook from Pentalic is considered a “library quality” sketchbook, meaning it will stand upright and look great in your personal library! The leatherette cover looks like real leather and is sturdy enough to keep the pages from slipping and sliding over time. Another great feature is the lay-flat book binding, which makes sketching and painting easy to do in the studio or outside. The paper inside is amazing too! We like that the paper is an acid free 70 lb. weight, giving you the freedom to use a variety of mediums without bleeding or smudging. This book will work just as well for pencils and charcoal as it will for ink or pastels! Finally, we think this would also make a great journal for writers who prefer unlined notebooks!
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Canson Mix Media Pad

Next up is our pick for the best artist sketchbooks that can handle just about any medium you put on them! These sketchbooks from Canson use a whopping 98 lb. paper, which is great for both dry and wet mediums alike. You can use this paper with pencils and charcoal, but you can also add wet mediums like inks, watercolors, markers, and acrylic paints without any bleeding through! We also like that these pages have a fine texture to them, making them easy to erase and blend as needed. The pages also stand up well to using multiple mediums on one page, and you can even glue things onto the pages for scrapbooking or collage projects. If you want to remove pages to let them dry, no problem! The pages are micro-perforated so they will come out without tearing your artwork! We like that these sketchpads are also inexpensive, so you can stock up your kit without breaking the bank!
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Pro Art 0205-00 Sketch Book

Another type of sketchbook we wanted to add to our sketchbook buying guide was a compact size that can go anywhere with you – and we found a great one! This tiny 4x6 sketchbook is the perfect size for throwing in your small handbag, backpack, or even a coat pocket for sketching and journaling on the go. We like that the hardbound leather cover not only looks good, but it also holds up to the elements. Once you’re done using it, the beautiful sketchbook will even look nice on your bookshelf with your other books! The paper is 65 lb. and acid free, giving you a decent surface to sketch with pencils, charcoal, crayons, ink, markers, and even watercolor without extra bleed through. We think these make great sketchbooks for taking on a camping trip or vacation because they’ll fit in your luggage without taking up extra space, so you can journal or sketch to memorialize your travels around the world!
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Bienfang R237117 8 Sketchbook

Next up in our sketchbook reviews is an inexpensive sketchbook that’s perfect for doing a lot of pencil sketching and note taking. This sketchbook from Beinfang has 100 pages of 50 lb. paper, which is good for using with dry mediums like pencils and crayons. You can also use pens with minimal bleed through if you are okay with drawing on one side of the paper only. We like that this pad is inexpensive, yet comes with a lot of pages for rough sketches or practicing new skills without spending a lot of money! The 8.5x11 size is ideal for tossing into your backpack and taking to your next art class to take notes and do practice sketches during studio workshops. We also found that these double as unlined notebooks for students who need to take notes during architecture or math classes but don’t want the lines of traditional notebooks getting in the way. Stock up for all your classes!
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Golden State Ink Sketchbook

Looking for a luxury notebook to give to the writer or artist in your life? Grab one of these handmade, leather-bound notebooks from Golden State Ink! Each sketchbook is a one-of-a-kind piece made of high quality leather that has a rich brown color to it. The cover has an embossed Celtic sailor’s knot on the front, and it has a fold-over flap with strap to keep everything safe. The inside of the front cover also has a pen loop, making it easy to travel with everything you need to write or sketch on the go! Inside the notebook, you’ll find 240 pages of 80 lb. paper that is bound by hand to complement the rustic look of the cover. The paper is great for journaling and sketching with pencil or ink pen, and you can also add some color with markers, watercolors, and paints. It comes packaged in a black gift box for the person who appreciates quality, handmade products.
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CONDA Hardcover Sketchbook

Last up in our reviews is our pick for the best sketchbook for architects! This 80-page unlined sketchbook from CONDA is perfect for architectural sketches and plans. The hard front and back cover lie flat and give you a solid surface to do precision work with rulers and T squares without the book wobbling around. We also like that the cover is made of a handmade, waterproof material that keeps your sketches safe if you take your sketchbook onto a construction site or outside for some afternoon sketching. It also looks like a luxury leather notebook that looks professional and neat. The 60 lb. paper is great for pencil, pen, and marker drawings without bleeding through. It’s also nice that the paper is perforated. You can easily remove sheets to show to clients, add to your portfolio or frame. If you need a sketchbook that gets the job done with a high-end, professional look, grab a few for your office!
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