Review

I am buried in sketchbooks

February 3, 2017

Something you should know about me: I’m always on the lookout for the perfect jacket, backpack, and sketchbook.

Since you probably don’t care about my backpack and jacket collection (yet?), I’ll start with my sketchbook craziness. Below are my favorites. I must always have stash of one or two blank journals on hand or art emergencies. I tend to turn my nose up at anything labeled “sketch paper” specifically. Such a snob. Sketchbook specific paper tends to be thinner and lower quality. I like to have a paper that is ready for just about any media I want to use. Since I’m a marker + pencil + paint person, I need a thicker paper.

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+ Strathmore Mixed Media Art Journal – Great for watercolor or gouache and smooth enough for sketching. Ink works great here, too. The paper is not bleed proof but I think that’s a tall order for any paper that is not specifically made for markers. It comes in hardcover or softcover versions – you decide what you like better. I like softcover because it’s lighter and less precious, however it doesn’t always lay flat. Paper is yellowish off-white. It just fits in my mini Kanken backpack…and i mean just barely. The corners are a little rounded now from shoving in that mini backpack so many times.

+ Strathmore Visual Journals – Vellum or bristol are nice smooth textures, bright white paper. The one actually labeled “mixed media” is also bright white with a little bit of tooth. These only come in a chipboard cover with spiral binding. NBD, but it’s only available spiral bound. Not my personal preference but not a deal breaker because at least it will lay flat. The Visual Journal line comes in many sizes and in watercolor and “drawing” weights. BONUS! They are also really affordable.

+ Moleskine sketchbook – For some reason I resisted getting an actual sketchbook from Moleskine for a long time. I do like their cashiers soft-cover booklets, but not the sketchbook versions. The paper is not as smooth. BUT do try out the hard-bound sketchbook. I like the big one (about 8.5×11). The paper is indeed great, not bright white. It fits in my classic Kanken backpack with room to spare, but it’s still a bulky sketchbook. Ya know, let’s face it. You’re probably going to need more than one size, so this is a nice larger option.

+ Leuchtturm 1917 – Another good larger option (also available in smaller sizes). Paper is bright white and numbered. And many different cover color options to fit your style! I feel like this is a pretty close comparison to Moleskine size-wise and paper quality-wise. And it’s also hardcover. A lot of people have said these are cheaper than Moleskine, but I have found the opposite to be true. I think it depends on where you buy them, but in the U.S. they are about the same if not a little more pricey. For me, if you’re going to throw down $20+ for a sketchbook, then just go with whichever feels better to you. If that happens to be a bright yellow cover then right on.

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