Finding the Best Sketchbook: A Comprehensive Guide for ArtistsAs an artist, one of the most essential tools in your arsenal is undoubtedly the sketchbook. It's a repository of your creativity, a safe space to experiment and a record of your artistic journey. However, with the plethora of options available, finding the best sketchbook that perfectly aligns with your artistic needs can be a daunting task. This guide by our team at Artgecko Sketchbooks, will walk you through everything you need to consider when making this crucial decision and help you find the best sketchbooks for you!
Understanding Your Medium: Paper Types and Paper Weights
One of the initial considerations in choosing the best sketchbooks for you are the plethora of paper options. Are you looking for white paper? Paper specially for dry media? Paper that withstands more than just your ballpoint pen? Paper made from a specific wood pulp? Something that holds more than just your coloured pencil creations or light washes of watercolour and more suitable for Copic markers and other alcohol markers? It’s always worth identifying your needs before committing to a sketchbook to ensure you are making the correct decision for you.
For artists who work with wet media, like watercolours and gouache paint, selecting a sketchbook with dedicated watercolour paper is imperative. Artgecko Sketchbooks offer options with specially crafted paper that can withstand the demands of these mediums without buckling or warping. The Splashy Gecko Sketchbook is a fine example of this, with its 300gsm paper, ideal for more than just light washes of paint. Layer with confidence on this paper. This is particularly advantageous when compared to standard sketchbook paper, which might not fare as well. Each sketchbook in the Splashy range is a spiral bound book and are the best sketchbooks made by Artgecko to withstand wet media. However, if you are wanting something more textural for your painting, take a look at the PRO Gecko Acrylic Pad.
Speaking of wet media, it is also worth noting this approach if you prefer working with paint marker pens. These pens work exactly like pens and spread paint across your page, but unfortunately not all sketchbooks work well with them. At Artgecko, we have created a sketchbook for this media type. The range is called Freestyle Gecko and within are thick pages of white paper that withstand paint marker layering and drawing, whilst maintaining their smooth paper surface.
Moreover, varying paper weights cater to different preferences and styles. If you prefer working with dry media like graphite pencils or coloured pencils, the best sketchbooks for you are the ones with thicker paper inside. The added weight prevents the paper from becoming easily creased or worn due to multiple layers of shading or erasing. On the other hand, lighter paper, such as the paper within the Classy Gecko range, may be preferable if you're seeking a portable sketchbook for quick on-the-go sketches. They are available in multiple sizes from A6 to A2, although A2 may not be so portable, if that’s what you are seeking!
At Artgecko Sketchbooks, we have a huge plethora of sketchbooks in multiple bindings, from spiral binding to casebound and more, for you to choose from. To see the full range that suits your needs just have a snoop through the range. You’ll find the right sketchbook for you in no time!
The Versatility of Mixed Media SketchbooksFor artists who dabble in various mediums, a mixed media sketchbook is a fantastic choice. Artgecko Sketchbooks offer versatile options that can accommodate both wet and dry media, making them a one-stop solution for artists who like to explore various techniques, from coloured pencils and fountain pens to acrylic paint and mixed media. The inclusion of toned paper in some of these sketchbooks open up new avenues for creativity. Toned paper provides an appealing background for lighter and darker colours alike, whether using wet or dry media alike, enhancing the visual impact of your sketches. The best toned sketchbook for you can be found within our Shady range.
Within the realm of mixed media, many artists may dabble in art alternatives for their sketchbook, like loose papers or a sketch pad. Either way, Artgecko Sketchbooks have you covered! We have a wide variety of options including multiple sizes and different paper weights available in loose paper packs, great for placing onto a drawing board. The full range can be found here as they even include a pack which is 100% watercolour thick paper, ideal for many projects including wet media! On top of that we have a large range of sketch pads which are suitable for many media types. What makes them even better is their soft cover. The pads may not have perforated pages but they are glue bound for extremely easy page removal! See the full range here.
It is worth noting, vellum paper is chosen by a lot of mixed media artists for its appearance and durability. It may not be everyone’s choice, however we wanted to note it as it is an option that is out there for you. If you are looking for this paper type in Artgecko’s range, you will not find it unfortunately, however it can be found in many places and art shops. You can in fact find it within the Strathmore 400 series and is great for many dry media choices.
If you are planning to use your sketchbook for mixed media and multi-media purposes, we recommend using a spiral bound sketchbook because the wires allow the sketchbook to expand, a crucial element to multi-media working.
Spiral Bound vs. Thread Bound: The Lay Flat Advantage
The binding of a sketchbook can greatly impact your artistic experience. Spiral bound sketchbooks, which Artgecko offers in abundance, are known for their ability to lay completely flat when open. This eliminates the struggle of trying to keep your sketchbook open while working on a drawing. Whether you're using the left or right side of the sketchbook, spiral binding ensures that every page lies flat, providing a seamless surface for your artistry.
Alternatively, most sketchbooks that are thread bound offer a more traditional and elegant binding style, alongside sketchbooks that have a glue binding. In Artgecko’s range, you can find the sewn binding style within the Classy and Swanky ranges. These sketchbooks are ideal for artists who prefer a more classic appearance and feel. However, they might not completely lie flat like spiral bound sketchbooks, which could be a consideration for those who value ease of use while working.
Artwork created by @danifraser_art_doodle_design, @bonitadoodles, @swirlsanddots and @artbypmw
Quality Matters: Acid Free and High-Quality PaperWhen searching for the best sketchbook, paper quality is paramount. Artgecko Sketchbooks prioritize the use of acid free paper. This is especially important because acid free paper ensures that your artwork remains vibrant and unblemished over time. Acid free paper prevents yellowing, fading and deterioration, guaranteeing that your sketches stand the test of time, a huge asset to only the best sketchbooks.
Considering Your Style and PreferencesEach artist has their own unique style and preferences and these should play a significant role in your choice of sketchbook. If you enjoy creating fine details with coloured pencils or gel pens, a sketchbook with smoother paper might be more suitable. On the other hand, if you're intrigued by the dramatic contrast of white or black paper, Artgecko Sketchbooks offer options to accommodate these preferences.
Whilst considering all this, it is important not to underestimate sketchbooks with recycled paper inside. Recycled paper can offer many options for artists. The Eco Gecko includes a recycled paper that has tiny flecks on the sheets, adding a delightful texture to your sketches whilst being the more environmentally conscious option. This sketchbook is of Twin Wire format so lies flat on the desk or surface in front of you.
Catering to Specific Needs: Pocket Sketchbooks and Toned Paper
Artgecko Sketchbooks cater to a wide range of artistic needs. For artists who are always on the move, the pocket sketchbook is a must-have. Its compact size makes it perfect for spontaneous sketches wherever inspiration strikes. Moreover, for artists who appreciate the unique qualities of toned paper, Artgecko offers sketchbooks with tan toned paper that add an intriguing warmth to your artwork. If you are looking for a toned sketchbook or sketch pad, you have come to the right place. We have a wide variety of toned sketch products to suit your needs. Find the Shady range here.
Artgecko Sketchbooks: The Right Choice for All ArtistsIn the realm of sketchbooks, Artgecko stands out as a reliable choice for both beginners and professional artists alike. With a variety of options, including spiral bound and thread bound sketchbooks, they provide a solution for every artist's preference. The dedication to using acid free paper ensures that your creations remain as vibrant as the day they were made. Artgecko Sketchbooks have you covered – although we may be slightly biased! We cater to the left handed artists seeking a sketchbook that accommodates their needs to the seasoned professional aiming to create museum-worthy pieces. Are you neither of those? That’s fine, we cater to you too!
Sketchbooks for The Tote Bag Carrying Travellers
Size is incredibly important when considering your sketchbook, especially when you like to travel around with your art supplies in your bag with you. The ideal sketchbooks for you are the versatile sketchbooks that are small, light and durable. See the Classy Twin Wire Range or even the A5 Freestyle Sketchbook with its smooth paper. Both of these sketchbooks lie flat allowing your sketchbook makes to be created on the go with ease.
For those looking for something smaller, the best pocket sketchbook that Artgecko Sketchbooks create is the Classy A6 Portrait Casebound Sketchbook. Not only is the paper quality ideal for all media creations but the nature of the pocket portrait book says it all in the description… it’s tiny and so good for keeping travel packing light!
Top tips from Artgecko - make sure to avoid overly thick paper or extra heavyweight paper as this could add unnecessary weight to your bag. We also recommend carrying dry media with you such as multiple coloured pencil types or Copic markers as they are easy to pack and travel with. Another great hack is to get an elastic closure for your sketches, for sometimes even the best sketchbooks need additions to keep everything in one place. You can get them at many arts and crafts shops and are so handy for keeping your sketchbooks together, especially when you may have loose paper, filled with inspiration, slotted into your sketchbook when on the move.
Want to find out more about traveller’s sketchbooks? Head to a previous blog post where we look at them in depth.
Artwork created by @blossombrooks, @josh.the.sporadic.artist, @kdvm_art and @doodlesndesign
The Perfect Companion for Your Artistic JourneyIn conclusion, selecting the best sketchbook involves a thorough consideration of your artistic preferences, style and the mediums you use. When investing in high quality sketchbooks, it is always worth spending a little bit of time to do some research.
In the world of sketchbooks, there are so many options of brands to choose from. What one person says are the best sketchbooks, may not be the best sketchbooks for you. Whether you choose from us at Artgecko Sketchbooks, go for an option from Strathmore 400 or any other sketchbook brand or range, what is important is identifying your artistic needs.
With the vast array of options available, Artgecko Sketchbooks offer a versatile range that can cater to the needs of many artists. From toned paper to spiral binding, high-quality acid free paper to various paper weights, Artgecko Sketchbooks provide the essential features that make for an exceptional (sorry geck-ceptional more like) sketching experience. Remember, the best sketchbooks are not just tools; they are companions on your artistic journey, a vessel for your creativity and a testament to your growth as an artist. Invest your time in finding the best sketchbook and watch as your artistic vision come to life on its pages.