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The Best Sketch Book

Last updated on October 23, 2020

We looked at the top 13 Sketch Books and dug through the reviews from 66 of the most popular review sites including Wiki EZ Vid, Architecture Lab, Atoya Reviews, My Sketch Gallery, Get Life You Desire, Infestis and more. The result is a ranking of the best Sketch Books.

Best Sketch Book

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM 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.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Sketch Books

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Canson Universal Wire Bound Sketch Book

Canson

Universal Wire Bound Sketch Book

Overall Take

Acid-Free PaperWhether you're looking to create using charcoal, fine ink pens or graphite, this sketch book has you covered.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.

Zenacolor Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 2-Pack

Zenacolor

Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 2-Pack

Overall Take

Durable Hard Outer CoverAlthough this sketch book is spiral bound, it has pages that tear out along a perforated line, so you get a clean edge.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.

Moleskine Art Plain Sketchbook, 104-Page

Moleskine

Art Plain Sketchbook, 104-Page

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  The Best Value

Arteza Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 3-Pack

Arteza

Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 3-Pack

Overall Take

Most EconomicalWith a total of 300 pages, this sketch book will allow you to practice and master your craft in no time at all.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Spy, Review Meta, Sam Be Awesome. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The ARTEZA are the smallest sketchbooks on our list, making them ideal for traveling. The spiral bound notebook has perforated edges for easy removal and the thick, acid-free paper works with pens, pencils and pastels, boasting minimal bleed-through and fading."
Cons
"Hardcover, least for me. While it keeps the pages flat and more protected, I like easy access, and opening it up quickly was difficult."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
20

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the sketch books available to purchase.
13

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

66

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Wiki EZ Vid, Architecture Lab, Atoya Reviews, My Sketch Gallery, Get Life You Desire.

23,499

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 13 Sketch Books and also dug through the reviews from 66 of the most popular review sites including Wiki EZ Vid, Architecture Lab, Atoya Reviews, My Sketch Gallery, Get Life You Desire, Infestis and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Sketch Books.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Canson Universal Wire Bound Sketch Book

User Summarized Score
9.6
1,920 user reviews
Our Take

This sketch book is filled with erasable paper that is ideal for dry media. It provides 100 pages for everything from doodling to creating detailed drawings. The spiral binding makes it easy to turn to any page and still lay the book flat on a table or drawing desk.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Arteza Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 3-Pack

Our Expert Score
9.2
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
144 user reviews
Our Take

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, this sketch book is your best bet. The pads use acid-free paper designed to prevent bleeding. So, artists can experiment with everything from colored pencils to thick markers. The perforated pages also allow for easy removal. Users should take extra care when storing this sketch pad in a bookbag, as the soft cover is susceptible to tearing.

What other experts liked
The ARTEZA are the smallest sketchbooks on our list, making them ideal for traveling. The spiral bound notebook has perforated edges for easy removal and the thick, acid-free paper works with pens, pencils and pastels, boasting minimal bleed-through and fading.
- Spy
August 2, 2019 | Full review
Nice texture, worked great with everything I tested it with.
- Sam Be Awesome
March 3, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Customers note that the ARTEZA are better suited for beginner artists and find that the flimsy cover means the book can easily be crushed in a backpack.
- Spy
August 2, 2019 | Full review
Hardcover, least for me. While it keeps the pages flat and more protected, I like easy access, and opening it up quickly was difficult.
- Sam Be Awesome
March 3, 2018 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

Canson Universal Wire Bound Sketch Book

1. Canson Universal Wire Bound Sketch Book

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 1

Zenacolor Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 2-Pack

2. Zenacolor Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 1

Moleskine Art Plain Sketchbook, 104-Page

3. Moleskine Art Plain Sketchbook, 104-Page

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 1

Leda Art Supply Perfect Premium Sketch Book

4. Leda Art Supply Perfect Premium Sketch Book

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 15

Arteza Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 3-Pack

5. Arteza Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 3-Pack

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 4

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad

6. Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 12

conda Double-Sided Hardbound Sketchbook

7. conda Double-Sided Hardbound Sketchbook

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 1

Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad

8. Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 15

illo Sketchbook Elastic Hardcover Pocket Sketch Book

9. illo Sketchbook Elastic Hardcover Pocket Sketch Book

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 5

Pentalic Sketch Book

10. Pentalic Sketch Book

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 10

Bellofy Sketchpad Artist Pro

11. Bellofy Sketchpad Artist Pro

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

Canson Artist Series Universal Sketch Pad

12. Canson Artist Series Universal Sketch Pad

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 11

Master Class Art Premium Spiral Hardcover Sketchbook

13. Master Class Art Premium Spiral Hardcover Sketchbook

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 5

Our Sketch Book Findings

Canson Universal Wire Bound Sketch Book

What We Liked: This sketch book is filled with erasable paper that is ideal for dry media. It provides 100 pages for everything from doodling to creating detailed drawings. The spiral binding makes it easy to turn to any page and still lay the book flat on a table or drawing desk.

Zenacolor Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 2-Pack

What We Liked: This sketch book set comes with two 100-page books. Both beginners and professionals will love the thick 100g grain sheets in this book, which produce professional-quality results. The pages are even protected by a stable hard cover.

Leda Art Supply Perfect Premium Sketch Book

What We Liked: The attractive cover on this sketch book is weather resistant, which is handy if you prefer to sketch while being inspired by nature. The book is medium in size and fits neatly in any purse or backpack. The pages are cream colored, smooth and perforated for easy removal.

Arteza Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 3-Pack

What We Liked: If you want the biggest bang for your buck, this sketch book is your best bet. The pads use acid-free paper designed to prevent bleeding. So, artists can experiment with everything from colored pencils to thick markers. The perforated pages also allow for easy removal. Users should take extra care when storing this sketch pad in a bookbag, as the soft cover is susceptible to tearing.

illo Sketchbook Elastic Hardcover Pocket Sketch Book

What We Liked: This sketch book features a hard cover made of leather. This not only protects the sketch pad from damage, but also provides an anti-slip coating to prevent you from accidentally dropping the book. The square design of the pad makes sharing your artwork a breeze on social media sites. As an added bonus, the pages are thick enough to use markers and watercolor washes.

Our Expert Consultant

Amy Markham   
Artist and art educator

Artist and educator Amy Markham is the creator of Starling, a podcast dedicated to helping artists develop depth in their creative practice. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Amy has been an art educator since 2001. Today, she teaches middle school art at a school outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Her personal artwork explores myth-making and symbolic understandings. Through her brand, Starling Creative Living, she leads others to explore art production as a method for enriching their life experience.

Our Sketch Book Buying Guide

You never know when your next creative idea will strike, so it’s a good idea to have a sketch pad and drawing utensils handy. Not all sketch pads are created equal, however. So before you purchase one, you’ll want to take into consideration a few important features.

First, determine whether the company producing the sketch pad takes measures to protect the environment. For example, some brands only use paper created from certified sustainable forests. They prominently display a sticker with this information right on the front cover of the pad.

Next, decide whether you’d like the sketch pad to have a soft or hard cover.  Soft covers tend to come with a spiral binding, which allows you to quickly flip through the pages. But, they can also be susceptible to damage and tearing when placed in a bookbag. Hard covers protect the pages better, and if you opt for a leather cover, you’ll also enjoy the anti-slip surface.

Consider the shape of the sketch book pages. Traditional pads are rectangular in shape, but now artists have the option of buying square-shaped sketch pads. The benefit to this shape is that it’s better for sharing pictures of the sketches on social media.

The size of your sketchbook is also important. “Is it something you plan to carry with you and use on the go? If so, think about where it needs to fit,” says art educator Amy Markham. Her podcast “Starling” helps artists develop their creative process. “Will you carry it in a backpack, a purse or a pocket? Some people prefer to have a smaller sketchbook to carry around and a larger one for planning out ideas when they are at home.”

Finally, you’ll need to think about what sort of paper is best suited to your needs. “If you are mainly using your book for pencil sketches and the occasional pen, then standard sketchbook paper will work. If you are using markers, inks or some light watercolors, opt for a mixed media paper,” says Markham.  “Sketch paper will not absorb wet media. If you know you are going to be painting often in your sketchbook, go for a watercolor paper sketchbook.”

Don’t forget to check the thickness, weight and absorbency of the pages as well. Thinner pages will leave press-through impressions on the pages behind them.

DWYM Fun Fact

The Oxford dictionary refers to a sketch as “a rough or unfinished drawing.”  Sketches were originally designed to give an artist a way to put their ideas down on paper. People sometimes refer to this as doodling. Later, the sketches would be used as a starting point to create the final masterpiece that the artist had in mind.

Today, however, creative minds often use sketch pads to create work of arts and not just rough drafts. The most commonly used medium for drawing in a sketch pad is the pencil. Did you know that just one lead pencil can create a straight line that is an astounding 35 miles long?

The Sketch Book Tips and Advice

  • You can frame your favorite sketches and give them away as gifts or use them to decorate your home. If the sketch pad page is not the same size as a traditional frame, you can take it to a craft store and have a custom frame made.
  • Sketching just a few minutes every day is a great way to improve your speed and accuracy.
  • You don’t have to confine yourself to using the sketch pad for drawings only. You can also write to-do lists in them, create calendars or documents your observations when bird watching. Another option is to use the pad as a visual journal, combining your written thoughts with important images that remind you about the day. If you travel, for example, you may wish to draw the Eiffel Tower and then write about the sites and sounds you experienced from the observation deck.
  • Keep your sketchbook away from any liquids. Accidental spills can ruin the pad’s pages.
  • When it comes time to compare sketch pad prices, you need to consider whether the book has a hard or soft cover. Sketch pads with a hard cover, like the Leda Art Supply Perfect Premium Sketch Book, command a higher price than those with soft covers, like the Zenacolor Spiral Bound Sketch Book, 2-Pack. The Arteza Sketch Book, Pack of 3 contains multiple pads, so you’ll need to divide the number of pads by the total cost to determine the price per sketchbook.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared on leading financial publications. She's also a certified Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach.