If you love drawing, sketching, journaling, doodling and zen tangling – you know how important the paper is by now.
Good paper can make even a bad drawing look great.
I have used some really bad quality sketchbooks when I first started and regretted having the pages turn yellow over time; besides the feathering, warping and bleeding issues. For one, there were only so many types available at the time in a store and I was also a kid trying to save money.
I hope my sketchbook comparison chart will help you choose the right sketchbook/journal; One that you will enjoy using, showing off and preserving. I particularly love the Derwent Sketch and Store because it checks off all the boxes for me. It’s a compact A5 size, spiral bound, perforated, hard back, 165 GSM sketchbook that works great with graphite, pen and ink and alcohol markers. It doesn’t bleed through or suck the ink; and the colors appear so much more vibrant on the smooth white paper.
Sketchbooks are a personal choice, every artist has a different technique that will require a special kind of paper.
Since my work is very intricate with no negative space, I prefer a compact book. Drawing on a bigger area requires more time also. For me, filling an A5 area with pen and ink takes 3 days or more. So, bigger sized sketchbooks scare me off.
I also love my pocket-sized Moleskine watercolour album – it fits in my palm nicely, is extremely portable, light and great for carrying everywhere. But it has a down side, the marker colors appear a bit off due to the yellowish, textured paper and also it sucks up quite a bit of ink.
The one brand that I have to warn you about is called HS, widely available at most stationery and art supply stores in Bangalore. Steer clear of it – its super bad quality. So bad, it’s not even good for pencil sketching.
In conclusion, beginner or not, quality art supplies are very important because it takes the same amount of time and effort to draw on bad paper as it does on a good one. So don’t think twice about investing in the best one you can afford.
I hope you find the chart useful, I will add to it as I try out more stuff. If you have any favorite sketchbooks or journals, please comment. I’ll be eager to hear about them.