I’m a sketchbook addict. There…I’ve said it. It’s true. I love sketchbooks. I love shopping for them, I really love owning them, and I love carrying them with me everywhere I go just in case I have a free moment to jot down an observation. I take a small one with in my handbag and use it as my journal. I draw in it, I write in it and sometimes I make grocery lists in it, but it is as essential a tool to my artwork as any paintbrush or reference book. I really believe that no artist should be without one!
That being said, they can also prove to be very frustrating if you have the wrong sketchbook, because if you don’t like it, don’t want to carry it, and hate the way your preferred medium works in it – you’ll never use it. I hope this little article will help you choose the book that will work best for you, and perhaps give you an idea or two to use in your own constant companion!
I’ve used many different styles of books as my sketchbook – from simple, lined composition books to the trendy Moleskine sketchbook. I’ve gone through countless spiral bound sketchbooks, glued-spine books and Coptic bound beauties. But when it comes to picking the right book – it’s all about the paper. A typical spiral bound book with the label “sketchbook” is perfect for pencil. It has enough tooth to grab the graphite, but isn’t so rough that the pencil skips across the page. This kind of book will not take any kind of wet media very well, so watercolor or very wet ink washes will be frustrating, although regular pen and ink work would do fine. Bear in mind that sketchbooks are not necessarily for making complete, finished works of art, but if it is frustrating to use, you won’t use it!
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[Thanks to LINDA M.]