I’ve been wanting to create this type of index for ages! Having a few people ask me in a livestream earlier this week (part of the Group Run-through from Sketchbook Design) about smaller sketchbooks and spiral books was a good motivation to put this together.
As I store my sketchbooks so that you only see the edge, it looks as if I use a lot of the same sketchbooks, but there is a lot of variety within my collection. So this article indexes the different brands, sizes and formats that I have used since starting to sketch in Jan 2007.
It’s still a work in progress as I still have lots of tags to add to existing blog articles, and more sketchbook types to track down. So I will be updating this page from time to time.
It can be easily found in the future under Sketchbooks in the Sketching Tools section (accessed via the main menu) If you don’t know about this part of my blog, please go and check it out as it contains lots and lots of materials information! 🙂
It’s important to note that a few very popular sketchbooks (with good paper) do not suit my style of sketching. So these articles are important reading before you take notice of my opinions! 🙂
- How to choose a sketchbook
- Best type of paper (sketchbook) for quick urban sketching
- Everyday sketching in three different sketchbooks
You might also like to check out the Paper demo inside my SketchingNow Watercolour course – it’s in Lesson 4.
Detailed Reviews of Sketchbooks
I have done a number of detailed reviews of sketchbooks that I’ve used. This link will take you to all of my review articles
I switch between various formats frequently and enjoy them all. I have a slight preference for portrait books as they take up less room when open and have lots of interesting compositional options. There is still a lot of tagging and sorting still to do… but here is a start:
- A4Portrait – my new favourite sketchbook format for travel sketchbooks. I used them during my 2021 Road Trip and my 2019 Europe Trip
- A5Portrait – includes 5.5 x8.5″ sizes as well (this is the standard format in the early years, so there are many more articles still to be tagged!)
- A6Portrait – small books don’t suit me these days but there are a few examples in my collection.
- 8x10Portrait – this is my current favourite format for my everyday sketchbook so there are many more articles still to be tagged!!! (Understatement of the year!)
- A4Landscape – used extensively as a travel sketchbook since 2012 (still have many more articles to tag!)
- A5Landscape – includes 8.5 x5.5″, 10 x7″ sizes as well. I used this more in the early days (see my first blogpost here)
- A6Landscape (Note: I showed an early A6 Moleskine (from 2008) during the livestream this week – check it out here)
- Square (various sizes) – I haven’t found the perfect size square book yet, so I only use them occasionally!
Most of my sketchbooks have been either hardbound or softcover. I love the support of a hardbound book but the reduced weight of a softcover is a big deal for an everyday sketchbook. I don’t have tags for hardcover vs softcover but here are a few specific articles.
- Read a review of the Stillman & Birn softcover books – here and here.
- What about spiral books? I have used them a few times. Click here to see some examples from a few different spiral books
- Concertina (only one book there so far!)
- Stillman & Birn: Alpha – Beta – Zeta – Epsilon – Gamma – Delta
- Moleskine: Moleskine Watercolour (I’ve also used the Cahier books and the Sketchbook version… but don’t have the tags for them yet)
- Handbook: Travelogue Handbook Watercolour Journal – Handbook Artist’s Journal
- Hahnemuehle: Watercolour (Akademie Aquarell) – Nostalgie
- Etchr Sketchbooks (white books both HP and CP)
- ClaireFontane: GoldlineNatural – Goldline140
- Fabriano Watercolour Book
- Pentalic Aqua Sketchbook
- The Perfect Sketchbook (I’ve only used the original kickstarter… the paper and size has changed since)
- Daler & Rowney Ebony Cartridge Books (this is what I used before Alpha) – also used similar books by Milini and Jasart (premium sketchbook). The quality of all these is now inferior to what it was when I used them.
- Canson Art Book – Universal
- Canson Watercolour Book (a little book of smooth paper – red cloth cover with black corners – that I used once in 2008. I don’t know what its official name was)
Well, that should keep you going for a while. But what have I missed??? 🙂
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