I have a mini-roadtrip of 6 days coming up soon and I’m trying to decide which sketchbook I should use. I’m absolutely loving using the Square Softcover Alpha book by Stillman and Birn and so I’ve been thinking… should I take that book with me?
- It’s lightweight and such a nice size to hold
- The small size means that it’s easier to pull out and do a quick sketch
- I’m really loving using a different format than normal (I’ve been mainly using portrait format for years)
- The square format is great for horizontal scenes
- I like the way my sketches fill the spread and that I’m often going to the edge of the page
- I like Alpha paper for all the different types of sketching I’m doing at the moment
But I am worried about a few cons…
- The smaller size page means that I’m not having enough space for the amount of notes that I like to add (and when I’m travelling I often like writing more than normal)
- It’s hard to fit vertical subjects onto the square page (I don’t like rotating my sketchbook)
- I’m worried about the number of pages!
46 spreads in the book = 7 or 8 spreads per day which for a small book feels a little tight! So I did a little research…
When I did my Big Roadtrip in 2021 I sketched between 6-12 different sketches each day. I was using an A4 sketchbook and would mostly fit one-three sketches each spread. I know from my recent use of the Square book that I’m mostly doing one sketch per spread so I could easily do more than 7 spreads per day.
Therefore I’m thinking about using a 8×10″ softcover Alpha.
This has been my favourite format for many years and the larger page addresses all three cons. It has the same number of pages as the square book but the extra height means that I won’t use as many pages.
I still like the idea of the square book but at the moment I’m leaning towards the 8×10.
A little more research…
To help with my decision-making process I took some photos of my recently completed square book and an 8×10 that I took away with me to California a number of years ago. The comparison I’m interested in is the page usage and layout – not comparing sketches or media. 🙂
What is really interesting to note in these examples is that I typically did two sketches per spread in the 8×10 and hardly ever did one spread for the full double spread (which I know I’ve done more in recent years). So this exercise makes me feel comfortable that the 8×10 will give me plenty of pages for a 6 day trip.
But I’m still deciding… so what do you think? Which book should I use?
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