Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad

Last updated date: November 11, 2019

DWYM Score

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad

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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

With its fine-tooth surface and durable double binding, the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad is one of the best sketch pads on the market. It accommodates a variety of mediums, including chalk, graphite pencils and charcoal. The pages also come perforated, so artists can remove and display their work later on. In our analysis of 75 expert reviews, the Strathmore Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad placed 1st 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
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
1,823 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The pages are perforated so you can tear them off if you want to.
- Parka Blogs
February 3, 2017 | Full review
Strathmore supports environmental solutions that don't compromise paper performance, appearance, or price.
- The Architect's Guide
September 25, 2019 | Full review
Each page is perforated for easy removal and the durable book has a heavy chipboard backing that provides a sturdy surface.
- Spy
August 2, 2019 | Full review
Strathmore's specialist papers are made with specific uses in mind, paying careful attention to color, absorbency, weight and texture. For professional artists, the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad is one of the best sketchbooks around, with a fine tooth that carries graphite, coloured pencils and pastels well.
- Creative Bloq
July 3, 2019 | Full review
We also love the fact that we can tear off pages that we wish to hang or keep separately after we’re done with a project.
- Architecture Lab
March 5, 2019 | Full review
This is a good quality paper with a medium tooth. You’ll find it’s great for both your pencils, colored pencils and even some of your pen drawings.
- Hello Artsy
February 10, 2017 | Full review
This is the quintessential sketchpad, if you like to draw with dry media. Spiral bound with a soft cover, the 60-pound sheets of paper are perforated to allow you to tear out and frame later.
- My Modern Met
March 8, 2019 | Full review
Double binding is applied in order to enhance the durability of the book.
- Sewing Machines View
What experts didn't like
Customers advise against using the Strathmore for paint, whether it’s acrylics or watercolor.
- Spy
August 2, 2019 | Full review
The price per sheet means it's probably a little too expensive for practising.
- Creative Bloq
July 3, 2019 | Full review
Sheets are very thin
- Architecture Lab
March 5, 2019 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Strathy sketch s 400 9X12 100Sht 60lbs. This product is manufactured in United States. Product belongs to arts, crafts and sewing.

Overall Product Rankings

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad
1. Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 8
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.