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The Best Drawing Pad

Last updated on January 10, 2022
Best Drawing Pad

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Drawing Pads

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best Overall

Melissa & Doug Heavy Weight Bond Paper 9 x 12-Inch Drawing Pad, 3-Pack

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Melissa & Doug

Heavy Weight Bond Paper 9 x 12-Inch Drawing Pad, 3-Pack

Priced right, Melissa and Doug’s drawing paper set has three 50-sheet pads made from top-quality 9-by-12-inch paper that is easy to remove. It works great with mediums like pencils, markers and crayons.

Overall Take

Super Kid-FriendlyThe bright covers also make this set a great stocking stuffer, and they are good to have on hand when your kids are feeling creative or restless.

 For Aspiring Artists

Strathmore 400 Series Fine Tooth Surface 9 x 12-Inch Drawing Pad


400 Series Fine Tooth Surface 9 x 12-Inch Drawing Pad

Strathmore’s 400 Series of wire-bound sketch pads have 100 sheets of fine-tooth surfaced art paper. This brand is respected and used by leading artists around the world, and their paper has the ideal surfaces for creating your next masterpiece.

Overall Take

Professional QualityAspiring and professional artists appreciate the quality of this sketch paper each time they use it.

 Fine Texture

Canson Heavyweight Mixed Media 5.5 x 8.5-Inch Drawing Pad


Heavyweight Mixed Media 5.5 x 8.5-Inch Drawing Pad

Made from fine-textured, 5.5-by-8.5-inch heavyweight acid-free paper, this drawing pad is designed for both wet and dry media. When you use this paper, you'll enjoy easy blending and effortless erasing.

Overall Take

Versatile ChoiceYou will feel confident that you are using top quality paper for your projects when you use this sketchbook.

 Multiple Sizes

Strathmore Cream Colored Acid Free 8 x 10-Inch Drawing Pad


Cream Colored Acid Free 8 x 10-Inch Drawing Pad

Produced by Strathmore, this 8-by-10-inch, no. 80 drawing pad has 24 sheets paper. It is best suited for technical artwork and line drawings. The sheets have fine, uniform and non-reflective surfaces.

Overall Take

A Perennial FavoriteLike all Strathmore drawing pads, this is made in the USA and can be used with a variety of mediums.

Buying Guide

Although electronic drawing tablets are very popular these days, paper drawing pads and sketchbooks will never go out of style. They come in a variety of paper sizes and thicknesses, and there are a lot of options available for these versatile artistic tools.

If you are getting one for a young child who has never drawn much in the past, start out with something inexpensive and then gauge their level of interest over time. Your little one might have a talent for drawing, and you can help them expand their skills into other kinds of mediums and surfaces, if appropriate.

Drawing pads with thicker, heavier paper work better with markers, watercolor paint and other wet mediums, while lighter-weight paper is better suited for dry media. The texture or “tooth” of the paper is also important. When paper has more grooves and pits on its surface, it holds pigment from crayons, pastels and charcoal well. Use smooth paper for inks and pencils.

Sketchbooks can also have perforated sheets and binding, which makes it easier to turn the pages without making marks. Look for spiral-bound books if you prefer this option. Otherwise, try to find sheets that can be torn out without holes in them.

You will also need to know what size paper to get. Smaller drawing pads, like those of a standard 5.5-inch by 8.5-inch size, for example, are more portable but have less room for drawing.

What to Look For

  • Drawing pads are not only for artists; they are part of the creative process and are great for jotting down visual ideas that can’t easily be expressed into words.
  • The sketchbook’s orientation is also important. Portrait orientation is vertical, with the binding running down the length. Landscape orientation is horizontal when open, with binding running down the width. The name of each describes the types of artwork they are best used for.
  • Look for a durable cover for the pad if you plan on taking it out of your house.
  • You can find drawing pads with paper in other colors besides traditional white if you want to use colorful pens for some really eye-catching sketches.

More to Explore

Some people carry sketchbooks and pencils with them everywhere, because it is part of their everyday routine. You can fit one in your backpack, purse or even a back pocket if it is small enough.

The well-known quote by Italian artist Cennino Cennini explains his own reasoning for doing this, even thousands of years ago: “Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good.”

Good advice for sure, and a great reason to put that phone away for a while.

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