5 tips on choosing the best sketchbook ever

There are so many sketchbooks out there! Cheap, expensive, with different kinds of paper, small, big, light, heavy, etc… What to buy?! Well, it depends. In this article I will share with you 5 tips on choosing the best sketchbook if you are starting out (well, I’m not starting out and It still is the best one for me!). If you prefer the video format, feel free to check this one on my youtube channel. If not, skip it and continue reading the article.

I will not talking about any particular brand but, instead, I’m focusing on 5 characteristics that I think are essential in the moment of buying a sketchbook for drawing.

First, the best sketchbook is the cheapest one you can find. Because you will draw much more without worrying about spending paper or feeling the pressure to do a good drawing. A Portuguese artist friend of mine once said “you have to loose the respect for the sketchbook”. And he is so right… you cannot respect your sketchbook. The more you do it, the less you will use it because you will be afraid. Afraid of waisting paper, afraid of doing a bad drawing, afraid of damaging it, etc. Stop it. You will not learn anything and your evolution will be extremely slow or, even worst, there will be no evolution at all. The sketchbook is for you to use and abuse freely. So, buy the cheapest one you can find. Remember, the more you draw, the more fast you will evolve.

Second, plain paper. You want it to be plain. Without lines or little watermarks, or whatever. You want a clean blank, plain, white piece of paper. Without any marks that can distract you or interfere with the decisions you make while drawing.

Third, the sketchbook should have a hardcover. There are a lot of advantages in this. The most important one is that the cover can give you support. Can work as a table. If you are drawing standing up, for example, you will hold the notebook with one hand and draw with the other. If the cover is hard, it is much more easy. Otherwise, the pages will bend as soon as you start putting the first marks on the paper.

Fourth, it should be little. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the drawing, the more detail you will have to put on it in order to make it look good. And you want to make a lot of drawings and not spend a lot of time with just one. So, my advice is: pick an A6 or A5 notebook. My favourites are the A6. They have just the right size for the drawings that I like to do. Big enough for 10/15 min drawings. When I go A5, I always spend more time in each drawing because of the detail I have to put on it in order for the final result to please me… This rule is not always like that. Of course I can make a big fast drawing on an 100x70cm piece of papel. But, if you are starting out, my advise is to keep it small.

Fifth and last tip: the sketchbook should open well. In the store, test it. Open the notebook in the middle and make sure it can open completely horizontal. You will treat the double page as if it is just one page. So, in order to do that, you can’t have the middle of the sketchbook bending the pages.

I hope this information can be useful for you. If you want to be notified of new blog posts, you can subscribe it via email or use the RSS feed. You have both options on the right side.

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