I have two favourite books:
- Stillman & Birn Alpha as my everyday sketchbook (currently I like the softcover 8×10)
- Moleskine A4 Watercolour Folio Sketchbook as my travel and ‘special’ sketchbooks
l Iove the alpha sketchbooks because there are lots of pages, the paper is great to use with ink and pencil (great tooth) and although not designed for watercolour, it is incredibly robust. I throw a LOT of water and pigment at it, draw into the watercolour with ink and nothing goes through to the other side – well, heavy scrubbing with an inktense pencil into a wet wash might! The paper buckles a little but I like that ‘lived-in’ feel from my daily book.
As for the Moleskine sketchbooks… The paper changed a few years ago and it is not as nice as it used to be – there is a definite front and back and the front side has a strong mechanical grain to it . However it is still the best sketchbook paper that I have found which suits my rapid wet in wet style of sketching. (I explain more during my upcoming course SketchingNow Watercolour)