My various sketchbooks
Plus a summer life update!
Happy July! Lately I’ve finished a few sketchbooks that I started last year. It’s a great moment of finality to complete the last page of a sketchbook, a brief period of your life and thoughts and idea captured and stored away.
Don’t you just love flipping through other people’s sketchbooks, or watching sketchbook tours? It’s voyeuristic, not quite as personal as reading someone’s diary, but revealing all the same.
Below are the sketchbooks I’ve worked in at some point during the last few months. There are a whopping seven 😅 Some artists like J Marshall Smith swear by one sketchbook for everything, but my heart wants what it wants—new sketchbooks in various sizes and papers!
Moleskine Cahier, 3.5" x 5.5" - I got a pack of these sketchbooks for free from the “Tech Ladies” community years ago and am trying to use them up now. I bring this whenever I am leaving the house with a small purse—these will fit in anything, even your pocket! I stick to a black brush pen and do observational drawings in this.
SoHo Open Bound, 5.6" x 8.26" - This is a great lay flat sketchbook with a lovely textured paper. Drawing with pencil feels so good in this one! I also enjoyed using ink brush pen in it.
Royal Talens 8.3" x 11.7" - A more recent purchase since I wanted to push myself to draw larger. I don’t know if I’m succeeding in that goal, but having more space is great for fitting more onto the page! I really like how affordable these sketchbooks are, and they handle mixed media, including wet media like gouache, so well. I frequently scan and create final work from this sketchbook, which is a bad habit (I should probably use better paper).
Uglybooks 8" x 5.75" - This brand kindly gifted me a pack of sketchbooks so I took this to my Mexico trip and have been using on and off since then. I haven’t really nailed down how I want to use this sketchbook. The yellow paper is both fun and intimidating!
Royal Talens 4.7” x 4.7” - This is the same as the Royal Talens above in a tinier size. I usually carry around this sketchbook whenever I want to sketch outside using mixed media. The size was great for me when starting a sketchbook practice, since it wasn’t intimidating filling out a page or spread while drawing outside. The square format is also great for posting to Instagram.
Nina Cosford Sketchbook 7.1” x 8.9” - My top recommendation for an everyday all-purpose sketchbook! It has a lightweight, smooth paper that can handle pencil, ink, and brush pen really well. I have fond memories of planning Peachtober in this sketchbook, as well as taking it to various life drawing classes.
Strathmore sketch pad 9" x 12" - I recently bought this one to sketch on paper that I could easily tear out, and to have a place to be extremely not precious about what I draw. Using a sketch pad is great for drawing on the couch because of its sturdy backing.
And that’s all seven! I also have a Stillman & Birn watercolor sketchbook that has been untouched since I got it last year—the paper is so nice and I am nervous to paint in it. It’s important to find the right balance of what sketchbook feels nice enough for you to want to draw, but not so nice that you’re intimidated by the thought of it.
Let me know if you have a favorite sketchbook, and if you are a fan of using multiple sketchbooks or sticking to one!
I will not be sending any newsletters during the month of July, as I’ll be attending a summer illustration residency at School of Visual Arts here in NY! I am lucky to be able to take five weeks off work to do this program, which is more than double the amount I’ve ever taken off work prior to this.
I am so excited to be filling my days with making art—I really cannot even imagine it—along with having the support of community and other professional illustrators to give feedback and advice. I’ll be sure to give a recap and share my outcomes when I’m back in August. HAGS until then!
Best wishes in the 5 week program. way to go.