Watercolor Sketchbook Review and Advice

Lots of folks who’ve seen me posting pics from my sketchbooks on Instagram have been asking for advice on sketchbooks. Which one to get? What features should you look for? What do you learn from using one? Well, I’ve reviewed a ton – I’m not even going to show a bunch of the duds! But….I can say that I started off looking for books that will allow me to make really awesome paintings on awesome paper. But I left with a new understanding: using a sketchbook has a new purpose for me…to loosen me up. If I’m using an el-cheapo sketchbook and doing a REALLY quick sketch, I’m loose and free….and I want to practice that until it becomes my natural style of painting. For now, that’s not the case….but there’s hope, right?

See each sketchbook from the video in photos below, with links for ones I could find; a few I couldn’t locate online but check your local art store if you want to try that one out. Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

My advice

…is to get 2 sketchbooks: one with nicer watercolor paper for days you feel like practicing technique. And then a mixed media or multimedia book and MAKE YOURSELF DRAW AND PAINT EVERY DAY. Yes I used all caps. Because honestly, that’s what you have to do to improve! Okay, off my high horse. On to the sketchbooks! Links may be affiliate links; if you use these I may receive a percentage at no extra cost to you. Read more.

Arches Watercolor Sketchbook

  • Arches cold press, paintable on both sides if desired. 5.5″x8.5″
  • Can’t find it online, it seems. Sorry!!

Pentalic Aqua Journal with brush

  • LINK
  • Acid-free, European-made; pages lie flat.
  • Includes brush & holder, ribbon marker, elastic closure, and storage pocket. 48 pages.
  • 8″ × 5″ , 48 pages of140 lb Protege White Nylon Travel Brush, size 7.

Stillman and Birn Mixed Media Sketchbooks  

  • LINK
  • Hard-cover spiral bound sketch book; 26 sheets of extra heavy-weight 180 lb.cold press paper

Windsor Newton Watercolor Pad

  • LINK
  • 9×12, cold press, 12 pages.

Fabriano Watercolor Sketchbook

  • 5.5×8.5, 30pages. Can’t find it online, it seems. Sorry!!

Strathmore Softcover Watercolor Art Journals

  • LINK
  • 24 sheets, 140 lb  cold press paper; only one side is paintable.
  • 5-1/2 x 8″ and 9¾” × 7¾”

Strathmore Field Watercolor Sketchbook

  • LINK
  • Spiral, hardbound leather-like cover, 15 pages of alternating 140 lb, cold press and 60 lb sketch paper.

Holbein Multimedia Book

  • LINK
  • Spiral-bound book, 28 sheets of 80 lb mixed media paper. Comes in many sizes, shown is 9-1/4″ × 6-1/2″

Canson Montval

  • LINK
  • 140lb cold press; perforated. 20 sheets. 5.5″X8.5″ paper

Canson Mixed Media

  • LINK
  • Lightweight 98lb mixed media paper, 60 sheets, 9″x12″.

Bee Super Deluxe

  • LINK
  • 14×17, 60 pages, natural white, textured multimedia paper is double-sized to accept wet media.  Spiral bound; waterproof leatherette cover.