Choosing a watercolour sketchbook can be tricky, especially with the abundance of choices available! When looking for a sketchbook, consider the style of painting you do, how many layers you tend to paint with, and how large or small you enjoy working.
You should also consider the texture of the paper, particularly if your sketches involve any dry media. This guide will show you some of the best options on the market right now.
1. Hand Book Journal Company Drawing Journal
These little books have a satisfyingly snug elastic to keep them secure, and their luxurious cloth bindings come in gorgeous colours. This is an excellent option for painters looking to create a travel journal or perhaps a portrait album because it is very sturdy.
The paper is 100% acid-free, so it won’t yellow over time. The pages are on the thin side, so I like using mine for pen studies, minimal washes, and gouache.
The texture in these books is gently rough but mild and creamy. These make great gifts because of their thoughtful construction!
2. Strathmore 400 Series Hardbound Watercolor Journal
Strathmore is a highly regarded paper manufacturer, and their hardcover watercolour journals are indeed something special. A hardcover sketchbook makes a perfect little “souvenir” once filled because it looks so high-class and durable!
This paper is suitable for various mixed media. In my experience, it is best to keep the painting just a few layers because this paper doesn’t love water. If you are patient with letting each wash dry thoroughly before adding the next, you will have a lovely experience.
3. Etchr Sketchbook, now available in portrait orientation!
Here is one of our beloved sketchbooks. The cloth binding is rugged and beautiful, and the elastic keeps the pages safe when the book is in your backpack.
We have recently released the portrait orientation of our acid-free, vegan friendly, 100% cotton sketchbooks, so if you want to paint vertical scenes or use your sketchbook as a journal, this is an excellent sketchbook for you.
The paper is super sturdy, and comes in 3 sizes, so it is ideal for a wide range of mediums. If you prefer working on landscape sketchbooks, we've got you covered as well!
4. Khadi Handmade 100% Rag Hardcover Sketchbook
This unique hardcover sketchbook has deckle edges. If you’ve never heard the term “deckle” before, it means the edges of a piece of paper are slightly ragged as though they have been torn, giving the page a handmade, vintage feel.
This paper is also 100% cotton, so it will hold up to all the washes you want! This sketchbook is, in fact, handmade, giving each page individuality.
5. Etchr’s The Perfect Sketchbook Signature Series 2021
These 300g portrait sketchbooks come in a limited run, so get one while you can! Fabriano Artistico paper is prized among professionals, which is precisely why we use it in these books. This is another deckled edge sketchbook, giving it a lovely, organic look.
This book is made with tremendous love and refinement. The artist Erwin Lian designed it, so this really is a sketchbook by artists for artists. They come in both cold press and hot press too!
If you happen to miss our signature sketchbooks, you can check out our landscape Perfect Sketchbooks. They are available all year round!
Hopefully, this information will help you next time you’re shopping for a sketchbook. I recommend buying more than one so you can compare your results to find out which book best compliments your technique.
For more helpful guides and tips, subscribe to our email newsletter, and you'll see when we have new FREE Live Demos, which is a fun way to fill a new sketchbook.