Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad

Last updated date: October 15, 2019

DWYM Score
9.3

Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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

We looked at the top Sketch Books and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Sketch Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 77 expert reviews, the Canson Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad placed 4th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note November 11, 2019:
Checkout The Best Sketch Book for a detailed review of all the top sketch books.

Expert Summarized Score
9.3
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
1,396 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
This one is a lot cheaper, especially in the US
- Anna Mason
September 26, 2018 | Full review
The papers are heavyweight and hence, do not easily let water or oil based paints soak through. This makes it easy for you to use any paint like acrylic, watercolors or simple sketch pens. The acid-free nature of the sheets also makes it environmentally friendly.
- Architecture Lab
April 16, 2018 | Full review
This sketchbook has perforated pages so you can remove your projects any time you’d like to.
- Architect's Resources
Perfect for a variety of mediums including acrylic, watercolor, and pen or pencil, and perforated pages for easy removal
- Infestis
February 23, 2019 | Full review
Holds up to blending and erasing
- Wiki EZ Vid
February 16, 2018 | Full review
The thing about the Canson sketchpad is that the paper does have a good surface which won’t snag nibs and erases nicely. Water doesn’t absorb very rapidly, which can be nice if you are spattering or doing wet in wet.
- Art Artists at Work
Micro-perforated sheets make the sketchbook lightweight
-
April 15, 2019 | Full review
I really dig the side spiral binding, largely because I like to be able to A: lay my sketchbook open flat, and B: flip the previous pages around behind what I’m working on; and the latter results in such a nice, low-profile size that I find myself carrying this book around all over the place.
- Colour Puppy
January 18, 2019 | Full review
What experts didn't like
The paper is bright white and isn’t as absorbent as I’d like meaning drying times were longer.
- Anna Mason
September 26, 2018 | Full review
Only 60 pages
- Architecture Lab
April 16, 2018 | Full review
60 pages in total may not last that long for an architect who sketches a lot and goes through a lot of paper.
- Architect's Resources
It’s not an overly generous pad. While the cover says there are 60 sheets, there are in fact 30, and you would certainly never use both sides of this paper, except maybe for pencil. At 90lbs it’s not really heavy enough to be ideal watercolor paper, so it will warp if you aren’t very careful.
- Art Artists at Work
Only 60 pages, which is too less for the price
-
April 15, 2019 | Full review
The main issue I’ve had with this book is that the texture, though slight, does interfere a tad with some of my pens, particularly when making quick marks. If I’m sketching quickly, I find that bits of my lines are lost in the texture, where the pen tip loses contact with the paper. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword really, because this very same texture can be beneficial when using watercolour.
- Colour Puppy
January 18, 2019 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Canson XL Mix Media Pads were developed as the answer to the demand for a heavyweight, fine texture paper with heavy sizing for wet and dry media. This paper can be used for: sketching, drawing, light washes of ink and watercolor, collage, journaling, and more. It has quickly become the most popular paper in the Canson paper family. Mix Media paper erases well and blends easily. The wire bound pads have micro perforated, true size sheets. These pads were developed in consultation with art professors and combine performance with value for the art student. These pads contain 60 sheets of 98 pound/160 gram paper, acid free, 7 x 10 inch paper.

Overall Product Rankings

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad
1. Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 8
illo Sketchbook Premium 122lb Hardcover Notebook
2. illo Sketchbook Premium 122lb Hardcover Notebook
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 4
Pentalic Sketch Book
3. Pentalic Sketch Book
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 8
Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad
4. Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 10
Leda Art Supply Perfect Premium Sketch Book
5. Leda Art Supply Perfect Premium Sketch Book
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 13
Arteza Sketch Book, Pack of 3
6. Arteza Sketch Book, Pack of 3
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 3
Bellofy Sketchpad Artist Pro
7. Bellofy Sketchpad Artist Pro
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 9
Elans Journal Personalized Artist Sketchbook
8. Elans Journal Personalized Artist Sketchbook
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 1
Canson Artist Series Universal Sketch Pad
9. Canson Artist Series Universal Sketch Pad
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 7
Master Class Art Premium Spiral Hardcover Sketchbook
10. Master Class Art Premium Spiral Hardcover Sketchbook
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 4

An Overview On Sketch Books

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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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, like the illo Sketchbook Premium 122lb Hardcover Notebook. The benefit to this shape is that it’s better for sharing pictures of the sketches on social media.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost 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.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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 Buying Guide

  • Check to see if the company has a money-back guarantee policy. This isn’t necessary, but it does add a layer of protection in case the sketch pad doesn’t live up to your expectations.
  • 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 illo Sketchbook Premium 122lb Hardcover Notebook and the Pentalic Sketch Book, command a higher price than those with soft covers, like the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad. 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.