The 10 Best Sketchbooks That Will Make You A Better Designer

Sara Mandeed
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Every designer is looking for the perfect go-to sketchbook that matches their needs and finally allows them to create their best work, and we’ve got the list you’ve been looking for!

We dug deep, read all the customer reviews, and tested some of the best sketchbooks out there. We found ten of the best sketchbooks you can buy in 2021, whether you’re looking for a simple sketchbook or need a high-end artist sketchbook.

NameCategoryProduct
Moleskine Art SketchbookBest OverallMoleskine Art Sketchbook
Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal SketchBudget PickPentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch
Moleskine Art SketchbookUpgrade PickMoleskine Art Sketchbook

1. Moleskine Art Sketchbook

Our rating: 9 / 10

Moleskine Art Sketchbook

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Pros:

  • Overall a sturdy build
  • Shallow binding allows for drawing from the spine
  • Easily fits in most design bags
  • High-quality paper

Cons:

  • Some reviewers experienced binding breaking
  • Frays easily with improper eraser usage
  • Does not take pen or pencil very well

You've probably heard of the famous Moleskine brand of journals and notebooks. The company has earned a great reputation for their notebooks over the years, and it seems that the designers and artists from across the globe have a kind of love-hate relationship with these types of notebooks. On one hand, the book feels great when you write in it. On the other hand, it is hard to get the pages for the notebook itself, and it costs more than other, competing brands.

Great for sketching, the sketchbook has a sturdy cover and is compact enough to be carried anywhere. There is a shallow binding, so you don’t have to worry about tearing the pages if the book is grabbed from the middle of the notebook. The sketchbook has high-quality paper that can hold up to a lot of abuse and still remain in excellent shape.

2. Strathmore 455-3 Drawing & Sketch Paper

Our rating: 9 / 10

Strathmore 455-3 Drawing & Sketch Paper

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Pros:

  • Durable cover and smooth sheets
  • Blank for writing, drawing, and sketching
  • Available in artists pad sizes
  • Unruled page designs for drawing
  • Grain for tonal line variation
  • High quality paper at a very affordable price
  • 100 percent acid-free
  • Sized 4.5 by 9 inches
  • This dark-colored paper is also very resistant to stains
  • Archival quality

We spent hours researching a wide variety of drawing paper products, and based on our research and experience using drawing paper for the last decade, we’re confident that the Strathmore 255-3 white drawing pads are among the very best drawing pads on the market.

The Strathmore 255-3 drawing pads are great for artists of all ages, professions, experience levels, and mediums. The 255-3 white drawing pads offer a resilient cover designed with the demands of the artist in mind. Gives detailed representations especially when working with graphite and charcoal pencils. The high quality paper is acid-free and resists ink bleed and bleeding.

3. Art Alternatives Sketches in the Making Very Big Hardcover Sketchbook-Giant Sketchbook-600 pages

Our rating: 9 / 10

Art Alternatives Sketches in the Making Very Big Hardcover Sketchbook-Giant Sketchbook-600 pages

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Pros:

  • Large enough to accommodate any kind of sketching project
  • High-quality paper to ensure your drawing doesn’t lose its depth and appeal
  • Dimensions of – 60 cm x 79 cm
  • An A4-sized square layout to eliminate any wasted space when you draw
  • Thick cover to protect your sketches from damage
  • Loop closure to open and close the book with one hand
  • The book is available in four colors – black, blue, brown, and red
  • Sturdy stitching to further protect all your sketches
  • The manufacturer ensures that you’ll get a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the product
  • Made from high-quality materials

( 60x79cm)

4. rOtring 600 0.5mm Black Barrel Mechanical Pencil

Our rating: 9 / 10

rOtring 600 0.5mm Black Barrel Mechanical Pencil

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Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Exceptionally sturdy and well-made
  • 6-8 week battery life with each battery
  • Eraser inside the pencil erases cleanly without damage to the point
  • Comes in a number of colors and lead sizes
  • Left and right handed pens are available
  • Rubber grip is comfortable in the hand
  • Perfect for small hands, as well as giant gorilla hands

5. Pentalic Sketch Book

Our rating: 9 / 10

Pentalic Sketch Book

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Pros:

  • Hard cover feels nice, and makes the book sturdy for carrying around
  • Matte front cover prevents glare from sunlight
  • The paper quality is great and doesn’t distort the pencil images
  • No bleeding through even with a lot of pressure
  • Smooth lines and elegant sketches
  • A nice accent to any art collection

This might be your next go-to sketchbook. It’s a perfect size for a lot of your design work: drawings, character sketches, fashion designs, etc. Plus, we’ve found it’s nice to carry around in your backpack or other sketch bag.

We loved this sketchbook for its hardbound cover, which gives it a classy look and feel. It’s sturdy, and we’ve never had a hard time carrying it around. And who knew the hardcover could be this important, but it is – you might be surprised just how often (or not often) you’ll be taking your sketchbook with you. This is one of the best art books out there.

6. Leda Art Supply A4 X Large Sketchbook

Our rating: 8 / 10

Leda Art Supply A4 X Large Sketchbook

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Leda Art Supply A4 X Large Sketchbook for Artists (8.25 x 11.5 inches) 160 Tear Resistant Pages for Professional Ink, Pen, Graphite and Colored Pencil Drawing. Its smooth textured paper is suitable for all dry media and comes with 160 pages. A non- bleed 100% acid and Chlorine free paper made with cotton. Works well for quick sketching and drawing.

The Leda Art Supply A4 X Large Sketchbook for Artists (8.25 x 11.5 inches) 160 Tear Resistant Pages is a top quality paper towel. It’s made with the professional mist drawing paper for artists and those who love the art. The design is of a professional artists sketchbook for the use of pen, pencil, ink and color pencil.

7. Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch

Our rating: 8 / 10

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch

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Pros:

  • Authentic weight and feel of a real book
  • Coated non-bleed paper
  • Hardback cover
  • Large variety of sizes to choose from

The Pentalic Traveler Pocket Sketch Journal By Pentalic is our top choice for a best sketchbook for designers. This pocket notebook is backed by 100% archival paper that won’t bleed or fade and double-sewn to prevent rips. It’s the standard size for pocket notebooks packed with 100 pages (50 sheets) of premium white 60 lb paper.

The hard case cover is made from durable book cloth and is fully wrapped with high-quality, colored French cloth. This is a versatile design which feels and looks like a real book and it’s backed by Pentalic’s 120-year history of making books. The pages are smooth with a pretty sweet writer’s flow. The model features a cover that’s wrapped with colored cloth so it feels just like holding a real book in your hands. It’s also a much more sustainable and ethical choice since paper isn’t being wasted.

8. Leda Art Supply 160 Pages Softbound Cover Sketchbook

Our rating: 8 / 10

Leda Art Supply 160 Pages Softbound Cover Sketchbook

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Pros:

  • Easily findable due to its bright orange cover
  • Includes 160 pages
  • Acid free-stock paper
  • Perfect for students or beginners
  • Includes a wide ruled guide for keeping your measurements
  • Very good for detailed drawing
  • Useful for both graphite and colored pencils
  • Can be used for all styles of art
  • Mental exercises strengthen your drawing skills
  • Movie and cartoon character practice pads are also included inside

Cons:

  • Glossy, plastic pages deteriorate quickly
  • Not ideal for heavy pencils
  • Can tear on heavy paper use
  • No blank pages
  • The orange cover fades quickly

The perfect gift this Christmas for teen girls can be found in the Leda Art Supply sketchbook. Not only is it a cost-effective choice but also one of the best quality options available in the market.

This sketchbook is 200 pages of acid free 60 lbs bond to ensure that it lasts for a long time. A plus point is that it offers a wide ruled guide on the side for all your measurements.

9. Moleskine Art Sketchbook

Our rating: 8 / 10

Moleskine Art Sketchbook

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Pros:

  • Durable
  • Hardcover
  • Long-lasting binding
  • Large and easy to use
  • Perfect for improving drawing, painting, and sketching skills
  • Archival quality acid-free paper
  • Crystal-clear pages
  • Wide variety of designs
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Bold High-quality design

Cons:

  • Relatively pricey
  • Available only in A3

Looking for how to make your black book better? Well this cool A3 Black Notebook can be one of the best Black books in our list. This cool sketch book will make your schedules better. With the high-quality design, your work will be better and new.

The Moleskine Art Sketchbook is perfect for documenting your thoughts and ideas. It comes with 96 sheets of artist-quality paper, with thread stitching that adds durability. It has an acid-free construction and a fabric case, to prevent the paper from absorbing moisture and getting damaged. Plus, it is designed to last for generations, featuring a sturdy hard cover for protection.

10. Canson Universal Sketch Pad

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canson Universal Sketch Pad

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Pros:

  • Sturdy construction
  • Produces smooth, sharp lines
  • Perfect for pencils and chalks
  • Wide range of sizing options
  • Large, heavy paper for multiple applications and drawings
  • Budget-conscious: great value for the price
  • Good selection of paper qualities and sizes allows you to choose the perfect sketchbook based on your particular needs and preferences

Cons:

  • Some users report slight fading of ink after chemicals are applied
  • Dimensions may be off by up to 1/16"
  • Skinny notebooks

150 Pages.

This is the sketchbook of choice for many artists across the globe, and for good reason – the canson universal paper uses a range of techniques to let your creativity flow. Heavyweight paper that is acid-free and archival quality comes in 4 different sizes so you can choose the perfect sketchbook for your needs. The graphite blend is perfect for blending mediums, and the sketchbook is designed especially for pencil, charcoal, and pen and ink. The sketchbook uses 100% cotton sateen covers, ensuring that your project will come out as true to your vision as possible. The dotted pages and binding are safe for highlighters and scented markers, all while keeping the ink from fading through. This will give you a versatile and natural look that you’re sure to love.

11. Masterclass Premium 9 Inch by 12 Inch Spiral Bound Hardcover Sketchbook

Our rating: 6 / 10

Masterclass Premium 9 Inch by 12 Inch Spiral Bound Hardcover Sketchbook

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Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Large, thick-coated paper
  • Cloth-bound mineral paper cover with a linen spine
  • Designed for both pencils and pens
  • Archival quality pages, spiral bound
  • Dimensions: 9.25 x 12.25 inches
  • 100 pages on medium-weight drawing paper

Cons:

  • Not large enough for some
  • Some complaints of paper stiffness

This is a limited edition sketchbook designed to encourage artists to step out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of their talent. This premium sketchbook features thick, large coated paper with a cloth-bound mineral paper cover and a linen spine.

It is constructed to allow artists to put together their work in a multitude of ways. It is designed to be used with pencils, inks, pens, markers, and whatever else the artist may see fit.

The lightweight sketchbook can be taken with you wherever you wish, either virtually or physically and is the perfect accessory for those who desire a blank slate to create their masterpieces. It is a unique, high-quality product that will provide several years of experience and memory for artists and those interested in art.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand of sketchbook?

This is an easier question to answer. Because art is subjective, the ideal sketchbook for you will depend on your style and what you need. But as you go along, like we did, you'll learn what is important, and you'll discover what is important to you.

Personally, I am a huge fan of Moleskine sketchbooks; particularly the large plain one in hard cover. I have the 3.5" x 5.5", Large Moleskine Sketchbook: Hard Cover Large Plain. However, if you don't like Moleskine, here are a few other brands I've also used and are worth checking out:

  • Strathmore
  • Field Notes

How can I make my sketchbook better?

Try buying a larger sketchbook. This allows you to start larger so you don't feel that every drawing you start has to end up looking like a postage stamp.

Buy a sketchbook with smooth paper so that your pencils move freely.

Choose a hard cover so that the book lays flat when you're drawing.

Buy a sketchbook with a good binding. No falling out of your book while you draw!

Choose a striking, simple design that you're proud to show off.

Get a sketchbook with a great cover that you're proud to show off.

What is the best size sketchbook?

This all depends on what you plan to do with it. A normal 8.5×11 is a good all purpose size. Bigger than that and you're typically limited to landscape. Smaller than that and you're hindered by your ability (depending on your level of skill you can or cannot draw fairly small details).

Personally, I've found it very useful to have two separate sketch books, one for general ideas, and one for more detailed stuff. Having two is very useful for me, because I will be doing a lot of digital work at work. When I come home often times I just want to do something quickly to sharpen up my drawing skills. By having a small one with even smaller pages, I will have to slow down and draw much more precisely, which allows me to get better at drawing fine details.

What do professional artists use to draw?

Sure, there are lots of different art supplies people use to draw, but the truth is that 20% of these will produce 80% of the results. When an artist needs to draw something, he uses the 20% that produce 80% of the results and he gets to work.

To start, seriously consider investing in a good sketchbook, learning how to use your eraser like a pro, and finding a good pen. Pencils, ballpoint pens, and brushes all have an important role in the creation of great art, but your passion and practice will make your work shine, even with just a pen across several hundred pages. It’ll be better. Trust me.

If you want to draw and are looking for inspiration to create something great, then look no further. Here are the 10 best sketchbooks that will serve you well.

Conclusion

There are five of these sketchbooks that I’d personally recommend for anyone looking to purchase a sketch book for any reason, not just for design. They have all gone through a series of tests that match their intended use and have held up beautifully and excelled in each of them. In short, each of these sketchbooks is a great edition to any designer’s supply list and can be found anywhere.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Moleskine Art SketchbookBest OverallMoleskine Art Sketchbook
Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal SketchBudget PickPentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch
Moleskine Art SketchbookUpgrade PickMoleskine Art Sketchbook