A Sketchbook is a wonderful tool to express yourself with—they can be a incredibly important tool for expressing your thoughts and feelings, whether that be through drawing or writing. For many the best Sketchbook can do both! In the end, everybody has thoughts and drawings that they want to share, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be sharing your own!
I’ve kept a habit of carrying around some sort of sketchbook with me over the years and wherever I find things that inspire me at that certain moment I am ready to record it. What happens as a result is not only wonderful journals that I can look back on to remember the great moments I’ve had over the past two years, but also how good it feels to now have an outlet for my thoughts.
However, it can be deceivingly difficult to know just the best sketchbook you should get, whether you want to keep track of your thoughts through drawing or writing!
To help you weigh your options accurately when looking for your next sketchbook,
I have created a list of the 10 essential features that when considered should ensure that you have picked the best sketchbook.
1. Sketchbook Cover
Whether or not you get a Paperback, Hardcover or Leather Bound sketchbook cover depends solely on your personal preferences and what you feel is the most comfortable. I’ve found that hardcover sketchbooks can feel a bit bulky, while paperback sketchbooks can feel too flexible and may actually distort your papers if you’re not careful enough. It’s often possible to find a different type of material that is not paperback or hardcover, though, and that can be the best compromise to get the reliability you seek while also promoting the flexibility that is also helpful. My personal favorite is a leather Sketchbook cover made from Full Grain leather because it can last a life time
2. Size and Weight
The size of the sketchbook you want depends solely on how much space you’ll need per page. Personally, it can be a nice challenge to limit yourself to the size of the pages that you get, as often the best way to pick the best sketchbook is through convenience. So, determine the size of the sketchbook you want to buy depending on how much you want to be carrying. I’ve always found there’s a great middle ground between having roomy, accommodating pages while also not overwhelming myself on my travels! Its important that the Sketchbook cover size is somewhat larger than the paper size in order to protect the paper edges.
Strong binding are important for a solid, reliable journal. This is because you must be able to make sure your pages don’t fall out while on the go, emphasizing the need for everything to be tightly-knit. When looking for a sketchbook, make sure to look for something that has a “long-lasting” spine for binding. You’ll find that the books that actually have a durable binding will often advertise as such, so you’ll be sure to find it if you’re looking. I prefer a leather Sketchbook cover with removable leather binding because it more durable and also refillable.
Out of the different types of textbook specifications you can get is landscape or portrait orientation, which references the way the paper is bound and aligned (landscape means the width is longer than the height, while portrait means the height is longer than the width). Whether or not you prefer landscape or portrait orientation depends solely on your personal preference and what you intend to use the sketchbook for. From personal experience, I can say with confidence that having a portrait orientation sketchbook made using it on public transit easier, while having a landscape sketchbook may get complicated if you’re trying to write on your lap. This should not negate your personal feelings towards the sketchbook, though, as being able to draw the direction you want largely outweighs any potential frustration!
5. Paper Weight
Paper weight is an important factor to any sketchbook you’ll look at. It means the thickness of the paper, which ultimately affects how you draw on it, specifically the drawing tool you will use to do so. If you’re using felt-tip markers or thicker pens, it’s recommended that you get paper with a larger paper weight. If you’ll just be using thin pencils such as mechanical pencils and lighter pens, the paper weight isn’t as important. The best Sketchbooks are made with 120gsm paper weight or higher and work great with paint ,markers, fountain pens and calligraphy pens. A weight of 80gsm is fine for light pencil drawings.
6. Type of Paper
The different types of paper that can be used in a sketchbook are normally, cartridge, watercolor, toned paper, or black paper. Because you are just looking or a sketchbook to draw and write in, it’s best to look for normal paper for convenience. The other types of paper you will find being sold inside of sketchbooks is made for specific types of usage, such as painting and using more niche types of pens and pencils.
Another important aspect to note when looking at the type of paper is whether or not it is lined, as this can be an important factor that ultimately comes down to personal preference. I personally prefer to have my pages not lined or in graphs but take notice of what you prefer when looking for your next sketchbook. Many say that the best sketchbook is made with 100% cotton paper while other prefer acid free recyclable paper that is environmentally friendly.
7. Color of the Paper
In the same way that the type of paper you use will be geared towards what you intend to use the paper for, the color of the paper will also be geared in this fashion. Depending on which type of pen or pencil you intend to use, it’s probably most intuitive to go with a simple normal Ivory paper that has a white or light tan color. Another popular option is getting black paper and using white pens to draw on it, but the possible negative downside of this option is that you then limit yourself to using only white pens or pencils in your sketchbook. If you get a more traditionally colored paper, you can ensure that you have flexibility in color as well.
Perforated pages means that the pages are “dotted”, allowing them to be easily torn off for convenience. Be careful when buying a sketchbook, as it can be easy to buy a sketchbook with perforated pages if you’re not looking hard enough. That being said, all books will advertise if they have perforated pages, as this is largely a positive selling point for their product. If you are somebody who frequently enjoys taking out pages of your sketchbook to hang on a wall or give to friends, this can be a great use of a book with perforated pages!
9. Page Count
The number of pages in the sketchbook you buy largely depends on the paper weight of the pages in the sketchbook. For those books that have heavier pages, there will ultimately be less pages, and books with lighter pages will have more of them. Let this factor into your decision about paper weight as well, because you may be surprised at how many pages there are in each sketchbook. That being said, it can be nice to limit yourself in pages, as each sketchbook then becomes a memory itself. Since beginning to use sketchbooks frequently over the past 2 years, I have used up almost a sketchbook every two month with my thoughts and drawings, something that allows me to look back and associate each sketchbook with a specific period in my life. If plan to use your sketchbook allot I highly recommend you get a refillable sketchbook
Sketchbooks can range anywhere from the cheap to the expensive, but it’s good to find something that’s on the affordable side, but is also durable. For a sketchbook under those conditions, assume that you’ll be spending around $40 for the ideal book. A bit over or under this price is fine, but be wary of books that go over $60 in price or under $25. The best Sketchbook has a reasonable price and is made with high quality materials
Why a leather sketchbook may be the best sketchbook for you
Leather sketchbooks are gorgeous and are made for those who spend just as much time at home as they do on the go. A Jofelo leather bound sketch book is very durable and can last a lifetime. These custom sketchbooks are refillable and can be personalized gifts. The unique leather sketchbook cover is made to customize with personal drawings and marks.