Sketching is where most artists begin their work. A great sketchbook is the place to practice, to jot down ideas or inspiration. Every work of art needs to start somewhere, and often a sketch is that place. Many people also use sketchbooks to awaken their muse and get in the right mood to create. But which one to buy? The best sketchbook is comfortable to use, easy to carry around and suitable for the medium and skillset of the person using it. Get inspired by our collection of the best sketchbooks in the market and get sketching.
Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook, A4
- MOLESKINE ART COLLECTION: From sketchbooks and sketchpads to watercolor notebooks with heavy paper, to music notebooks with plain and pentagram pages, to storyboard layout notebooks, Moleskine's art collection of notebooks offer the quality you need.
- DURABLE COVER & ELASTIC CLOSURE: Hold writing projects & notes in your Moleskine notebook with an elastic closure band & inner storage folders. Leather-like classic Moleskine cover & thick, ivory paper pages are perfect for writing with fountain pens.
- GIFT QUALITY NOTEBOOKS: Moleskine planners, journals and notebooks come in hardcover or softcover and colors like black, red, blue, green and brown. The binding and cover have a durable finish, designed for daily journaling, writing and sketching.
- DELUXE QUALITY PAGES: Moleskine's thick, ivory paper pages in a hardcover Moleskine notebook, softcover Moleskine notebook, cahier or volant journal, or Moleskine planner are perfectly textured for writing with a ballpoint pen, fountain pen, or pencil.
- MOLESKINE QUALITY: We're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital. We bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens & notebooks.
This is probably the best sketchbook in the consumer market, and extremely popular not only among artists but also architects, designers and many other visual professions. With thread bound acid-free paper and a hard cardboard cover, it’s highly portable but still light. A bookmark and elastic closure allows for easy access to the last sketch you were working on and protects your sketches.
Measuring 5″ x 8-1/4″ it fits comfortably on a large bag and with 104 pages you will be sketching for a while. Moleskine products have a cult following and you probably will recognize this sketchbook on the hands of your fellow students or colleagues.
Pentalic Bamboo Hardbound 110-Sheet Sketchbook
- 65 lb. (110 gsm) acid free paper made from 50% bamboo, a renewable resource
- 6-inch by 4-inch light cream colored sheet
- Smooth, hard surface accepts all dry media
- 110 sheets per spiral bound book with durable hard front and back covers
We think this is the best sketchbook for artists who care about the ecological credentials of their sketchbooks. Why? Because its acid-free paper is made from 50% bamboo, and 100% sourced from certified sustainable forests, making it a very environmentally friendly sketchbook. It works well for pencil sketching and even sharpie art provided you don’t let the sketchbook become soaked.
The cover is sturdy enough to travel and easy to lay flat when sketching. It has 110 sheets and measures 6×4 inches, so perfect for sketching on the go. Hardbound and easy to lay flat when open, it’s easy and comfortable to use.
Art Alternatives Sketches in the Making Very Big Hardcover Sketchbook
- Each sheet measures 12.5-x-10.75-inches. Perfect for small or large scale drawings in multiple media.
- 600 pages ( 300-sheet) book to fill with fun drawings and artistic creations
- 75lb - acid-free bright white paper with perfect texture for drawing
- Makes a great coffee table book and awesome gift-perfect for artists and students.
- Fill with art work from you and your friends and family or watch your art progress over time in one huge book.
Want to go big? This 300 sheets (600 pages) hardcover sketchbook offers 75lb-acid-free bright white paper and it’s a great gift for the artists in your life. It is not the best sketchbook to travel with due to size, but it makes for a really nice coffee table book. Each sheet measures 12.5×10.75 inches and are made of heavy, thick paper. This means you can use more wet media, such as fountain pens, gel pens and even watercolor for your sketching without messing up the paper.
It is also satisfactorily well bound, big and chunky and makes a great gift. Even the most prolific artists will take months to fill it with sketches. Would also make a great family sketchbook as well, or even for bullet journaling if you need paper that can take watercolors and sharpies easily.
Strathmore Series 400 Sketch Pads
- All-purpose paper intended for experimentation or perfecting techniques
- Pack of 2
- Includes 100 sheets of paper per Pad
- 60-pound weight paper
This is a general purpose, medium weight paper sketchbook designed to be used with dry media. It’s acid-free and has a slight texture which makes it one of the best sketchbooks for pen sketches and repeated erasure. It has a heavy chipboard baking and a durable double-spiral binding that makes it perfect for outdoor sketching and travelling.
It would suit somebody who needs higher quality paper and more texture for advanced sketching work. It is however not suitable for markers or watercolors, as they will bleed through. This heavy paper is a favourite for portrait artists and detailed work, as it can take a lot of wear and tear due to correcting mistakes.
If you just want a sketchbook for taking notes or practice work, you may be better served by other sketchbooks with lighter 60lb paper. However, it is a must have for serious sketch artists.
Pentalic Sketch Book, Wirebound
- Microperfed for easy tear out of pages
- Perfect for all dry media
- Hard covers
- Double wire bound
- Made from acid free paper
Study and easy to carry around, this wirebound sketchbook lays flat if needed and can also be used as support if needed. It can take pencil, ink and watercolor easily, making it very versatile. If you are just looking to sketch and doodle to capture your inspiration or practice, the Pentalic Sketch Book is just really, really comfortable to use. Each A4 sheet has a smooth, untextured feel and is thick enough to take some pretty intense sketching. It’s also microperforated, so it’s easy to tear out pages without damaging the notebook. If you often sketch on the go, this is probably the best sketchbook at this price range both for novices and experienced artists.
The Best Sketchbook For You: What To Look For
The most important thing when shopping for the best sketchbook is what are you intending to use it for. Are you going to sketch with pen and charcoal? Use it as a sketchbook for watercolor or manga marker-art? Many people use sketching as a form of relaxation or journaling, or as a way to create memories of their travel. The right sketchbook for one won’t work for somebody else. So here are the things you should consider:
Sketchbook or Finished Art?
Sketchbooks are not only for throwaway practice work or note taking, many people actually use them to create finished display art. However, the kind of sketchbook you need on each case will be different. Usually hardcover, acid-free hardbound notebooks make for better display sketchbooks. Wirebound or spiralbound ones are easier to use on the go, but look less like a book and more like a notebook.
Most sketchbooks are at least A4 sized, but if you are using them to create finished works and not just partial sketches you may want to go bigger. Of course, bigger also means more difficult to carry around, and if you are pressed for space an A5 sketchbook (moleskine makes some fantastic ones) can be all you need for sketching on the go. Some sketchbooks are landscape bound and some are portrait bound, so choose one that fits the artwork you have in mind.
If you are just starting there is no need to spend a lot of money on an expensive, hardbound artist sketchbook just to practice. On the other hand, if you are an experienced artist a basic sketchbook may not be the best. You probably need something with more texture and a higher weight of paper so it can deal with more complex drawings.
Watercolor and marker work need a different weight of paper than graphite pencil sketching, or the sheets will bleed through. Charcoal work will benefit from a more texture paper, and let’s not forget about the different colored papers. From bright optic white to cream, choose a sketchbook that works with the media and colour scheme of your drawings.
Best Toned Sketchbook
Many people prefer to use a toned sketchbook to a white one, as it fits better with their style. If you do a lot of shading and lighting work, a toned sketchbook with a medium tan or grey tone will allow your highlights to shine and your darks to be truly contrasting.
Strathmore spiral toned pads have a high quality binding and paper quality and are easy to work with. There is a toned tan version with 50 sheets with a warmer color, and a grey toned version both of them at 9x12in.
- 100 percent recycled
- 80lb - 50 sheet pad
- Acid free; Made in the USA
- Made in USA
- Fifty Sheets
- Acid Free paper
They are very affordable and will help anybody who wants to improve their shading and lighting work.
Best Sketchbook For Markers
Marker friendly sketchbooks get their own category, because they have very particular requirements. Markers have a tendency to bleed through pages, ruining your brand new sketchbook in seconds. They also need to be acid-free because you need your artwork to last, and most people prefer bright white sketchbooks for markers instead of warmer, cream colored ones to get true color accuracy.
When looking for the best sketchbook for markers, keep in mind that unless they are truly bleed-proof and no-show you won’t be able to sketch on both sides of a sheet. Which makes a cheaper option often as expensive as higher quality ones as you only get half the pages. Most of the time you’ll also want a sketchbook that can support mixed media but has smooth pages so the markers glide easily.
Bee Paper Company 926T30-8511 Bleedproof Marker Pad, 8-1/2-Inch by 11-Inch
- Acid-free design
- Natural white sheet
- Approved for use with Copic pens
- Ultra-smooth sheet
- For use with pen and ink and crowquill pens and technical pens or water-based and permanent markers
This is probably the best cheap sketchbook for markers. It can be used with Copic pens and has ultra-smooth, acid-free sheets in a stark pure white color. It won’t stand to washes, but it’s a perfect sketchbook if you are just getting a feel for marker art. It is really bleed-proof, as in the paper won’t absorb any ink (It feels like using water on wax paper) so if you want to use washes and controlled marker bleeding this is probably not the best option.
Copic Markers SKBK9X12 Sketch Book – 9″ X 12″ – 50 Sheets – Wire Bound
- This sketchbook is perfect to keep all your sketches together
- Fifty 9x12 inch sheets of 70 pound marker paper
- Bleed resistant, spiral bound
If you want to use copic markers, for example for manga artwork, this is probably the best sketchbook for you. It comes in a variety of spiral bound sizes, and it’s bleed resistant. It is also one of the few landscape bound sketchbook for markers and can be used with mixed media such as acrylics. It blends nicely, but if you add a lot of color it will bleed a bit so it’s worth just putting a piece of cardboard under your current drawing to prevent staining the other sheets.
Crescent Cardboard Co RENDR No Show Thru Drawing Pad
- This package contains twenty-four 12x9 inch white 110 lb. Heavy weight sheets
- This revolutionary paper allows you to use 100% of the sketch book
- Made in united states
This is probably the best sketchbook for markers in terms of bleeding and 100% opaque pages. The no-show technology is so good that you can use both sides of a sheet easily even with marker work and mixed media, which is quite unusual at this price range. It can deal with Copic Markers and other types of wet media easily, and lays flat on a desk. The paper is sturdy and thick and it works great if you want to display your artwork. This sketchbook doesn’t bleed AT ALL no matter how much color you use.
At the end of the day, the best sketchbook is the one that allows you to create your best art without getting on the way. There are many sizes and shapes, and often artists will have several sketchbooks on the go, depending on what they are working on.
As a beginner picking the best sketchbook may seem complex, but to be honest it’s often easier to buy an affordable one and make sure to sketch daily to practice. There is no right and wrong answer to finding the right sketchbook for you, so just try and look around until you find one you are truly happy with.