So many sketchbooks and so little time, this is why I’ve created this post listing all the best sketchbooks for artists on every medium! I’ll cover all the possibilities of wet media like watercolor and gouache, to dry media like charcoal and pencil. Doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a sketchbook for a beginner or a professional artist, I’ve got the best sketchbooks on this list!

But for now, check out my handy table below with all the sketchbooks that I mention in this post, with a link to Amazon for you to purchase them.


Size

# Of Sheets

Paper Weight

Product Link
General SketchbookFrom 5.5”x8.5” to 18”x24”6098 lb
Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad
Markers9”x12”25100 lb
Canson XL Series Bristol Pad
PencilsFrom 5.5”x8.5” to 18”x24”10065 lb
Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad
CharcoalFrom 5.5”x8.5” to 18”x24”10065 lb
Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad
WatercolorFrom 3.5”x5.5” to 11.75" x 16.5"36135 lb
Moleskine Art Plus Hard Cover Watercolor Album
InkFrom 3.5”x5.5” to 8.25”x11.5”8081 lb
Leda Art Supply Sketch Book
GouacheFrom 5.5”x8.5” to 18”x24”6098 lb
Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad
Acrylic And Oil9”x12”24136 lb
Canson XL Series Oil and Acrylic Paper Pad
PastelsFrom 5.5”x8.5” to 18”x24”10065 lb
Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad
Hand Lettering And CalligraphyFrom 3.5”x5.5” to 8.25”x11.5”8081 lb
Leda Art Supply The Perfect Premium Medium Sketch Book
Travel Sketchbook5”x7”80Craft Paper, not disclosed
Leather Writing Journal Notebook by MALEDEN

Now that you’ve seen the table, here’s why I chose each one and I include some alternatives below!

Table of Contents

Best Sketchbooks For All Mediums

If you want a sketchbook where you can do basically anything, from using charcoal and colored pencils to painting with watercolor and ink, these are the sketchbooks for you.

When you want to try different mediums in the same sketchbook (or even mix some together!) you’re looking for a mix media sketchbook. These are medium weight sketchbooks that allow you to paint, ink, and sketch, without a lot of setbacks.

Now, of course, there are better sketchbooks if you just want to focus on one specific medium like watercolors, and that’s why we talk about them further down!

But for now, here are my recommendations of the best sketchbooks for all mediums!

Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad

Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad on Amazon

Pros

  • Lots of sizes to choose from! Sizes ranging from 5.5 x 8.5 inches, all the way to 18x24 inches.
  • Great textured paper. Especially if you’re using pencils or charcoal, you will notice the paper reacts very well to this medium!
  • No bleed through with basic watercolors. As long as you don’t use a lot of water, the watercolors won’t bleed through to the next page.
  • Spiral sketchbook! Since it has a spiral binding, it’s pretty easy to remove each page if you want to. Big plus if you want to sell a drawing, show it to someone without dragging the whole sketchbook or you’re unhappy with a drawing and just want to rip it out of the sketchbook!

Cons

  • Too much water will make the paper curl. This is bad if you want to do a lot of watercolor painting on it.
  • Most markers will bleed through. These pages aren’t quite made for using markers, since they are very thin, so there will be bleed through to the next page if you use them.

Strathmore Series Hardbound Mixed Media Art Journal

Strathmore Series Hardbound Mixed Media Art Journal on Amazon

Pros

  • Hardbound cover. Very sturdy cover with a much less risk to tear it up or spoil it.
  • Traditional look. This is just a pro for some people, but this sketchbook has a more traditional look instead of the “paper pad with sheets” type of look. Down to personal preference in my opinion!
  • Slightly more pages. This sketchbook has slightly more pages than the previous one we talked about, 64 vs 60 pages.

Cons

  • Markers still bleed through. Understandably with this paperweight, markers will still bleed through to the next page.
  • Doesn’t quite lay flat. You need to put some pressure on the pages to fold them if you want to use the sketchbook on your desk. That’s the price you pay with getting a hardbound cover though!

Moleskine Art Plus, Pocket Size

Moleskine Art Plus, Pocket Size on Amazon

Pros

  • Pocket size! Great sketchbook to carry around and sketch on the go. Lovely size for a travel sketchbook.
  • Elastic closure. It might not mean much, but having an elastic closure so that you can keep your sketchbook from “opening up” randomly, can save you some mess.
  • Cream colored paper. Too many sketchbooks have a pure white color, and I got to say it’s not that good for practicing! In my opinion, it’s always best to start with a simple light-colored paper and work with it.
  • Smooth paper texture. One of the smoothest textures you can get on sketchbooks.
  • Most mediums won’t bleed through! This has a heavyweight paper with about 165gsm (111 lb) so most markers won’t easily bleed through to the next page.
  • 80 pages!

Cons

  • Smaller canvas to work with. Since it’s a smaller sketchbook, you won’t have as much space to draw and paint.

If you’re looking for a more portable solution, this is a great sketchbook!

Best Sketchbooks For Markers

Even though you can use a sketchbook like the previous ones that are good for all media/mediums, you can choose a more specialized one to suit your interest.

For example, this sketchbook by Canson has a smooth finish on the paper, making it better for Ink and Marker.

Canson XL Series Bristol Pad

Canson XL Series Bristol Pad on Amazon

Pros

  • Heavy weight! This heavier paper has 260 grams, one of the heaviest I’ll be talking about in this post. Since it’s quite thick, it will be much harder for it to bleed through, making it very good for markers and ink.
  • You can buy a 2-Pack for cheap. If you like this sketchbook, you can get a discount by buying two at a time!
  • Doesn’t wrap your paper. Even if you’re using alcohol markers or Copic markers, your paper won’t curl and wrap.

Cons

  • “Only” 25 sheets. Since it’s a thicker paper, you couldn’t expect a lot more for the price. This is why I recommend getting a two-pack, it will last you longer and you’ll save some money in the long term.

Bee Paper Company Bleedproof Marker Pad

Bee Paper Company Bleedproof Marker Pad on Amazon

Pros

  • Bleedproof paper sheets. If you’re using alcohol based markers, Copic markers or ink, this is a great paper!
  • 30 sheets of paper. More sheets than the other pack recommended here.

Cons

  • Slightly less weighted paper. The sheets have 180 gsm each, quite a bit lower than the previous sketchbook. But it still holds ink and marker quite well.

And for some reason, most sketchbooks for Markers tend to be yellow on their cover. Don’t ask me why!

Best Sketchbooks For Pencils And Colored Pencils

Again, you can use a Mix Media sketchbook if you’d like, but if you’re using such a light-medium like Pencil or Colored Pencil, why not use something lighter and easier to carry around?

Doesn’t matter if you’re using graphite to sketch or doodle, or if you’re using colored pencils to create finalized art, a sketchbook with a light paperweight will work perfectly.

Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad

Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad on Amazon

Pros

  • Plenty of sizes to choose from. As it is usual with Canson, you can really get the perfect size for you. Anything from 5.5x8.5 inches, all the way up to 18x24 inches!
  • Works for inking. Even though it’s more used for pencil and charcoal, it can also work pretty well for inks!
  • 100 sheets! The price of this sketchbook for the number of sheets you get it’s amazing. 100 sheets of 65-pound paper make this one of the cheapest sketchbooks to get.

Cons

  • Somewhat weak spiral. Some people had problems with the spiral coming undone with a few weeks of use. Need to be careful with it.

Bienfang Sketch Pad, 8-1/2 by 11-Inch

Bienfang Sketch Pad, 8-1/2 by 11-Inch on Amazon

Pros

  • 100 sheets! Just like the previous one, 100 sheets of paper for this price makes the sketchbook quite attractive in price.
  • Sturdy spirals. Unlike the previous sketchbook, this has better spirals so that the paper doesn’t get ripped out of the sketchbook as easily.
  • Light-weight paper. The sheets have 50lb, so they are perfect for sketching and experimenting with a pencil.

Cons

  • No hardback cover. Not a huge problem in terms of use, but the cover has a slightly weaker card stock.

Moleskine Cahier Soft Cover Journal

Moleskine Cahier Soft Cover Journal on Amazon

Pros

  • Colors! Many colors to choose from, Cranberry Red, Kraft Brown, Indigo Blue, it’s all up to you! More sketchbooks should have this option for a more custom experience in my opinion.
  • Slim and Flexible. You can bend them and take them anywhere, extremely flexible sketchbooks as it’s usually done by Moleskine.
  • Dotted, Plain, Ruled and Squared options. Depending on what you’re using them in, and your own art style, you can pick one of these options! Especially consider getting the ruled ones if you want to do hand lettering and calligraphy.

Cons

  • Thin pages = easy bleed through. Just don’t use ink and paint with these and you should be good!

Best Sketchbooks For Charcoal

For drawing with charcoal you’ll want a decent sketchbook that it’s also lighter than usual!

I won’t give you a lot of choices for this one, I honestly think the best sketchbook for charcoal that you can get is the Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad.

Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad

Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad on Amazon

As I’ve talked about before, this sketchbook is perfect for both Pencil and Charcoal, and it has 100 sheets of paper, it’s really a no brainer for the price!

Best Sketchbooks For Watercolor

Alright so, in the sections above we’ve talked about some that COULD use watercolor, but none that are actually perfect for watercolor and other wet medium, so here we go.

Let’s start with Moleskine sketchbook.

Moleskine Art Plus Hard Cover Watercolor Album

Moleskine Art Plus Hard Cover Watercolor Album on Amazon

Pros

  • Strong Cover and Elastic Closure. As it’s seen with a lot of Moleskines, it includes an elastic closure so that you can keep your sketchbook tidy and carry it away without any problems.
  • Nice paper weight! The sheets have 200gsm (135 lb) so your watercolors and paints don’t bleed through and don’t curl your paper easily.
  • Several sizes to choose from. Currently, at the time of writing, you have 4 different choices for the size of your sketchbook: Pocket, Large, A4 and A3.  Each one serves a different purpose, but I would recommend getting an A4 for drawing at home and a Pocket as a travel sketchbook.

Cons

  • You have to be careful with the amount of water. The pages on this sketchbook don’t work well with a LOT of water, so be considerate of that if you’re using this one and use less water on your watercolors.

Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Book

Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor Book on Amazon

Pros

  • 5 different options of size and format. Including Landscape, Portrait, and Square sketchbooks. There is no wrong way to choose here though, just pick the one that resonates more with your art style and preference.
  • Soft and smooth texture. A very pleasing paper texture that grabs the watercolor paint really well.
  • Lays flat. You can lay this sketchbook flat and paint at will on it, big plus!

Cons

  • Same as before, be careful with the amount of water you use! To be honest, this is mostly with any kind of sketchbook. You need to moderate the amount of water used on watercolors for it to come out right! Otherwise, the paper sheets won’t handle it.

Field Artist Rectangle Watercolor Journal

Field Artist Rectangle Watercolor Journal on Amazon

Pros

  • A great number of pages. 80 sheets of paper in this sketchbook, making it a great buy for the price.
  • Good heavy paper weight. With 200 gsm, this is perfect for using watercolor without much paper curling.
  • Opens flat. Just like the previous one, this also lays flat on the table for easy use.

Cons

  • Weak spine. Some buyers have reported that the spine breaks easily if not handled with care, so beware of that and treat your sketchbook carefully!

Best Sketchbooks For Ink

If you want to use ink on your sketchbooks, you want some durability and pages that absorb the ink well! You can use gel pens, brushes, ballpoint pens and more on this type of sketchbooks.

Here are my recommendations on the best sketchbooks for inking!

Leda Art Supply Sketch Book

Leda Art Supply Sketch Book on Amazon

Pros

  • 160 pages! One of the largest sketchbooks I talk about in this post, just imagine all the possibilities you can do with these and how long it can last you.
  • Flexible sketchbook, including the cover. Very flexible pages and cover allow you to transport it in nearly anything without worrying about ripping the pages or damaging it.
  • Strong spine. Not only are the pages and cover very flexible, but the spine also holds up pretty well, no need to worry about durability here.
  • No bleed through. It is very hard to bleed through in this sketchbook, even if you use markers.

Cons

  • Ink that is very watered down might warp your pages. You can even use low watered down watercolor, but too much will start curling the pages. If you’re using simple ink you should be fine though.

Pen & Ink Notebook by Art Alternatives

Pen & Ink Notebook by Art Alternatives on Amazon

Pros

  • 192 pages! Okay, I lied. THIS is the biggest sketchbook in terms of the number of pages in this article. 192 pages allow you to do so much with it, and at such a small price too! Talk about cheap.
  • Pocket size. Easy to carry anywhere, and perfect for drawing on the go! 3.5x5.5 inches in size.
  • Surprisingly no bleed through. With a pretty low weight (54 lbs or 80 gsm) it still doesn’t bleed through pages, which is great!

Cons

  • Doesn’t open quite flat. Since it’s a very small sketchbook more tailored to take with you and for you to “draw on your knee”, it doesn’t bend all the way to remain flat.

This one is a nice super-portable solution that you can use on the go! Consider getting this one even if you choose another bigger sketchbook.

Best Sketchbooks For Gouache

To be completely honest with you, there aren’t quite exact solutions if you plan on just using Gouache.

This is not a bad thing though!

It means that you can use a mix media sketchbook like the ones we’ve talked about before, or you can use a watercolor sketchbook and it will do pretty great.

So, my recommendation of the best sketchbooks for Gouache are:

Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad

Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad on Amazon  

I’ve mentioned this before on this article, it has a very nice textured paper and many sizes to choose from. Choose this if you’re looking for a Mix media sketchbook where you can use many more dry and wet tools.

Moleskine Art Plus Hard Cover Watercolor Album

Moleskine Art Plus Hard Cover Watercolor Album on Amazon

Choose this one for a more sturdy sketchbook with extra weighted paper! Even though it’s better for watercolor, gouache will do just fine in this sketchbook.

From these two options, it’s mostly down to personal preference.

So choose if you want a sketchbook where you can mix different mediums together or something better designed for wet media!

Best Sketchbooks For Acrylic And Oil Painting

For drawing and painting with acrylic and oil painting, you’ll want a very sturdy sketchbook and specific paper for this!

So here are the best sketchbooks for acrylic and oil painting.

Canson XL Series Oil and Acrylic Paper Pad

Canson XL Series Oil and Acrylic Paper Pad on Amazon

Pros

  • Micro-perforated sheets for easy removal. The sheets come perforated so that you can create your art and get them out of your paper pad easily.
  • Bleed proof, heavy paper. Almost like good quality cardstock, this paper pad is specifically designed to let you paint with oil and acrylic paint without bleeding to other sheets.
  • No need for previous preparation. Just grab the paper and use your paints, no need to prim the surface or anything like that.

Cons

  • Warps a bit with too much acrylic paint. Using a lot of acrylic paint on the same sheet can warp the paper slightly.

Canson Foundation Series Canva-Paper Pad Primed for Oil or Acrylic Paints

Canson Foundation Series Canva-Paper Pad Primed for Oil or Acrylic Paints

Pros

  • Many sizes to choose from. Including portrait and landscape formats, so pick the sketchbook size you like (and use) the most!
  • Already primed to use right away. Like the previous paper pad, you can just pick this up and start working on it right away, no preparation needed.
  • Very sturdy paper. You can tell this paper was done specifically for oil and acrylic with how sturdy it is.

Cons

  • Only 10 Sheets per pack. Somewhat of a low count of pages in this sketchbook, but at least they are all very high quality.

Best Sketchbooks For Pastels

Once more, for Pastels there aren’t a lot of Sketchbooks designed specifically for this medium.

Most of the sketchbooks listed here are actually fine for pastels.

In fact, I would recommend you take a look at the Pencils and Colored Pencils section and choose one from there!

But, I would also like to say that Canson as an especially created paper sketch pad that works very well for Pastels.

Canson XL Series Paper Sketch Pad for Pastel

Canson XL Series Paper Sketch Pad for Pastel on Amazon

Pros

  • Micro-perforated sheets for easy removal. Another great sketch pad that has the sheets of paper already perforated so that you can create your artwork and then take out the sheet easily without the risk of tearing your sketchbook or your page.
  • 100 sheets! A great number of sheets for such a sketch book, allowing you to test a lot of techniques in the same paper pad.
  • Lays flat with the spiral binding. Since it has a spiral binding you can lay the paper sheets flat and work on them easily.
  • Durable (and colorful) cover. That red tone is actually pretty nice, and the cover is tough and lasts well.

Cons

  • Lower paper weight than a Mix Media Pad. Some people prefer to just get a mix media paper pad since they have a higher paper weight. But if you want to just use Pastel and don’t mind having lighter sheets, this is a good option.

Best Sketchbooks For Hand Lettering And Calligraphy

Here’s the deal about looking for a sketchbook for Hand Lettering and Calligraphy.

Either you’re looking for a sketchbook that you can practice one, or you’re looking for one that you can learn AND practice on.

I’ll cover both of these here.

Let’s start with the ones that you can practice on.

Leda Art Supply The Perfect Premium Medium Sketch Book

Leda Art Supply The Perfect Premium Medium Sketch Book on Amazon

I’ve already talked about this one in the ink section of this article, but to sum it up:

A very sturdy and durable sketchbook with many sizes to choose from! Highly recommend this one for hand lettering and calligraphy.

And now for the sketchbook that you can learn AND practice your calligraphy!

Nib + Ink: A Modern Calligraphy Sketchbook

Nib + Ink: A Modern Calligraphy Sketchbook on Amazon

Pros

  • You can learn and practice with one book! With this book you can practice right next to what you’re learning, it’s very practical and easy to use.
  • Includes exercises. Not only does it include several exercises for you to mimic during the book, but also a few sentences at the end of the book for you to practice.
  • Good price for the amount of information. With 176 pages and a lot of those being blank, this is a great buy if you’re a beginner or intermediate artist on calligraphy.

Cons

  • Limited styles. The author does her own style in the book, so there aren’t a lot of different styles to choose from here.

Best Travel Sketchbook

Let’s go to one of the best parts of carrying sketchbooks, which is having a travel sketchbook or pocket sketchbook that is most of the times, very pretty.

Now that isn’t to say that there aren’t travel sketchbooks that are very simple and elegant, but the options available for super amazing small sized sketchbooks is immense!

Still, I’ll just mention a few of my favorite ones here. Pick the one that you relate to the most!

Leather Writing Journal Notebook by MALEDEN

Leather Writing Journal Notebook by MALEDEN on Amazon

Pros

  • Amazing cover. A super interesting cover with straps and small trinkets, just take a look at it!
  • Lots of colors to choose from. You can choose your favorite color from 5 different choices, which are: Black, Brown, Deep Blue, Red and Sky Blue.
  • Refillable sketchbook! If you end up finishing this sketchbook but want to keep using its awesome cover, you can refill it with pages and keep using it. And you can actually buy the refills for a pretty cheap price right from the vendor. Another great thing about it being refillable is that you can choose a different type and weight of paper whenever you want and switch it out.

Cons

  • Brand name branded into the cover. Just a small detail, but some people don’t like having it showing so much.

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Sketchbook

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Sketchbook on Amazon

Pros

  • Made with recycled paper. An environment-friendly sketchbook is a bit rare to see, unfortunately, so quite a pro for this one in my opinion.
  • Simple, elegant design. A very regular sketchbook design with a black cover, it’s elegant and timeless!
  • Good amount of pages. 160 pages in a small sketchbook is a great size and it will last you a nice long time.
  • Works with ink sketches! As long as the ink isn’t too liquid or you don’t mind bleed through, you can use ink on this sketchbook.

Cons

  • Doesn’t lay completely flat. Since it’s small and made for portability, it doesn’t lay flat on a table.

On one final note, if you’re looking for a pocket sketchbook that you can use for Watercolor, Ink, Gouache or any other Wet Media, I recommend instead grabbing a Pocket Moleskine Watercolor Album like we talked about in the watercolor selection.

The reason is that this one’s paper is 200 gsm! A much thicker and acid-free paper perfect for inking and painting. The other ones have much lower gsm, which are not so suitable for this, and allow bleed-through.

All right that’s about it, now that you’ve decided on your sketchbook, be sure to check out my guide on Gesture Drawing and start putting it to use! (Or practice while it doesn’t arrive in your mail)

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23 Best Sketchbooks For Artists On Every Medium - Pick your new sketchbook!

DonCorgi

Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Blogger and so much more! P.S.: Corgis are Awesome.

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