Choosing the Right Sketchbook: A Guide for Artists

17 April 2024


Consider how you'll use your sketchbook. If you're often out and about, a pocket-sized or small one is great for quick sketches and capturing ideas on the fly. But if you love diving into detailed drawings or spending longer periods getting creative, opt for a larger sketchbook with plenty of space to explore and express yourself.


Our pick for travelling: Moleksine Sketchbooks, Journals and Notebooks

Moleskine sketchbooks are beloved by artists for their durability and quality. With acid-free paper and sturdy covers, they provide a reliable canvas for creativity. Portable and durable, they come in different sizes, making them perfect for on-the-go inspiration. Whether using pencils, pens, or watercolours, Moleskine sketchbooks offer a smooth surface that brings ideas to life with precision.


Our pick for large, detailed drawings: Jasart Sketch & Write Premium Hardbound Sketchbooks

Available in A3 size, the Jasart Sketch & Write Premium Hardbound Sketchbooks boast heavyweight paper and a textured "canvas" finish hardcover, providing a luxurious drawing experience. With 150gsm off-white blank pages, every stroke becomes a mini masterpiece. Ideal for drawing, sketching, and light watercolour applications, these acid-free sketchbooks are versatile and artist-friendly. They also serve as excellent artist process books for presentations.



Think about how you'll use your sketchbook and the art materials you'll be using. If your focus is on dry media such as pencils and charcoal, opt for a sketchbook featuring heavyweight paper and a textured surface. Alternatively, if you plan to experiment with mixed media or wet mediums like ink and watercolour, select a sketchbook specifically tailored for these applications, featuring thicker, water-resistant paper.


Our pick for sketching: Fabriano 1264 Spiral Sketch Pads

Fabriano 1264 Spiral Sketch Pads are your go-to for drawing and sketching. Their fine-tooth paper feels silky smooth, offering a luxurious drawing experience. With lightweight, 90gsm paper in warm white, they're ideal for sketches, doodles, and note-taking. Compatible with dry media, pens, markers, pencils, and pastels, these pads allow for easy erasure without pilling, making them perfect for refining your ideas on the go.


Our pick for watercolour: Canson Montval Art Book

The Canson Montval Art Book features the renowned quality of classic Montval paper, renowned for its durability and user-friendly design. With a sturdy 300gsm weight, this art book is tailor-made for watercolour and mixed media projects. With 48 pages, it offers ample space to explore your creative vision. The hardcover journal is a must-have for serious artists, boasting excellent erasability and effortless corrections—you can easily clean the paper with water using a sponge or brush, leaving no trace of watercolour behind.



The paper quality in a sketchbook plays a crucial role in your drawing journey. Seek sketchbooks with heavyweight paper, typically around 100-140 gsm, to prevent ink bleed-through and accommodate multiple layers of media. Smooth papers are perfect for intricate work and ink drawing, while textured papers offer personality and are well-suited for dry media such as pencils and pastels.


Our pick for dry media: Kent Spectra Bleedproof Sketchbook

The Kent Spectra Bleed proof Sketchbook is an excellent choice for note-taking with fine liners, ballpoint pens, gel pens, and markers. With 80 sheets of 75gsm acid-free A5 paper, it's perfect for both sketching and jotting down ideas without worrying about ink bleed-through. Its compact A5 size makes it conveniently portable, ideal for taking with you wherever you go.


Our pick for mix media: Derivan Concertina Sketchbook

Offering a modern twist on the traditional illustrated Japanese scroll (Emakimono) from the 16th century, this concertina-style sketchbook presents a single long sheet of paper folded into 12 usable pages. The outer cover is crafted with a durable black cloth and includes an elastic fastener for convenient transport and storage. Made with medium-weight (350gsm) textured white watercolor paper, this sketchbook accommodates both dry and water-based media, making it versatile for various artistic endeavors.



Opt for a sketchbook featuring durable binding that can endure regular use and rough treatment. Spiral-bound sketchbooks provide flexibility and enable pages to lie flat, while hardbound options offer sturdiness and a polished look. Decide whether you prefer a sketchbook with perforated pages for effortless removal, or one with a sewn binding for enhanced durability.


Our pick for spiral bound: Strathmore Series 400 Wire Bound Toned Sketch Pads

Strathmore Toned Wire Bound Sketch Pads offer versatile sketching surfaces in tan and grey. Ideal for light and dark media, they're perfect for quick studies, sketching, and journaling. Made from 100% recycled and acid-free paper, these pads support various mediums like graphite, charcoal, markers, and colored pencils. With side wire binding, they're convenient for on-the-go creativity.


Our pick for hardbound: Canson 180 Degree Art Books

The Canson 180 Degree Art Book stands as a versatile masterpiece, engineered to elevate your artistic endeavours and ignite your imagination. This exceptional art book serves as the ultimate canvas, ideal for pencil, pastel, charcoal, and felt pen creations. Additionally, it serves as a reliable companion for writing and note-making, ensuring that your creative ideas have a space to flourish. With 80 sheets boasting rounded corners, this art book opens entirely flat, offering boundless artistic freedom and ample room to cultivate your ideas. The sleek solid black cover radiates sophistication, while the magnetic closing system guarantees the security and preservation of your masterpieces.



Sketchbook covers come in various materials, including hardcover, softcover, leather, and fabric. Go for a cover that suits your aesthetic preferences and offers sufficient protection for your sketches. A hardcover sketchbook provides sturdy support and protection for your artwork, while a softcover sketchbook is lightweight and easy to carry.


Our pick for soft cover: Winsor & Newton Softcover Watercolour Visual Journals

Winsor & Newton Hard Bound Watercolour Visual Journals are designed for artists seeking top quality. Each journal contains 20 sheets of artist-quality, 100% cotton, acid-free, cold-pressed watercolour paper, providing the perfect surface for watercolour, gouache, inks, and other water-based media. With a strong 300gsm surface and a durable, soft, deep blue cover, these journals offer both reliability and convenience.


Our pick for hardcover: Winsor &Newton Hard Bound Visual Diaries

Each Winsor & Newton Hard Bound Visual Diary features a durable hardbound cover that protects your artwork and provides stability while you create. Inside, you'll find 60 sheets of acid-free cartridge paper, offering a pristine canvas for your creative expression. With a weight of 110gsm, this paper ensures a smooth and satisfying sketching experience, whether you're using a pen or a pencil. Let your imagination roam free as your creativity effortlessly flows onto the page.


Choosing the right sketchbook is like finding a friend—it's all about what feels right for you. Consider things like size, paper quality, binding, cover material, and your budget. Your perfect match is the sketchbook that sparks your creativity and invites you to bring your unique artistic vision to life on its pages. At Eckersley's we carry a range of surfaces including sketchbooks, journals, pads, blocks, visual diaries, paper and more! Visit one of our stores or shop online now!