In this month's guide, we're going to talk about choosing sketchbooks! Sketchbooks are a great way to document your artworks and travels but getting one is easier said and done, of all the brands out there which one will best suit you? In this guide, we will cover three important factors to take into consideration: size, binding and type of paper.
MOSSERY MIXED MEDIA SKETCHBOOK // RM75.30
Before buying a sketchbook, think about your habits, your lifestyle, the size of your bag instead of going for what you think you should be working with. The best sketchbook (like your camera) is the one that's always with you. If it's too bulky it may deter you from taking it out too often.
KAMI MINI SKETCHBOOK // RM19
A5 size sketchbooks are generally a good size as you can open it to get a working area of an A4 size paper. It's also a size that is compact and can fit into most bags,
If you choose a larger sketchbook, you will need more time and materials to complete it plus it can get heavy you're travelling on foot for long hours. Don't forget a larger bag too! However A4 sizes are more comfortable to use as you can prop them up on your lap or any hard surfaces when outdoors.
For those who want to go super compact, these palm sized sketchbooks by Kami Art & Design are slightly larger than your typical name card making them pocket sized and highly portable! They're great for painting little things or objects you find on the go or even mini panoramas when two pages are used together. On the downside, it may be too small for intricate drawings and can get challenging if you're used to drawing big. That being said, using different sized sketchbooks from time to time is will help you mix up your style and think outside the box and tackle drawings differently. It's like drawing with different media to try something different.
Papers aside, there are a few types of binding to consider - The wire-bound, hardback and also paper back. The benefit of wire-bound sketchbooks is that you can flip the pages to the back making it easier to hold the sketchbook in your hands especially in standing position. Unfortunately panoramic sketches would be troublesome as your artwork will be interrupted by the wire. It would also make scanning your artwork difficult as you won't be able to get a flat scan without removing the wires.
KAMI A5 WATERCOLOR SKETCHBOOK // RM48
This is where perfect bound sketchbooks come in, go for the ones that can open flat otherwise you may get some curve.The other advantage of the wire-bound sketchbook is it's ability to open flat. Also if you're the sort to add other sorts of ephemera in your sketchbooks such as tickets, flyers, stickers, dried flowers and more, it will add bulk to your journal so wire-binding is an excellent option as the book will still remain flat when you close it.
Some perfect bound sketchbooks can open flat while some can't. It's best to get sketchbooks that can open flat. For those that can't open flat, it's more difficult to draw close to the gutter as the paper there curves in. For sketchbooks that can open flat, you can easily draw across the gutter.
There's a third kind of binding and it's the glue bind which are typically used for pads where you can tear off the sheets, because they have no binding, they aren't meant for long term storage as the pages will eventually start to detach if you flip through them often.
Paperback or hardcover
Hardback cover notebooks provide support when you're sketching and good for both indoor and outdoor use as you can stand and draw with a hardcover sketchbook easily compared to a paperback. When you're drawing or painting on a paperback, any pressure you apply whether from sketching or erasing may push the pages and it can get challenging to control your lines.
Part of the fun of sketching is experimenting with the materials as you explore and practice. If one sketchbook or medium doesn't work for you, keep trying out new materials until you find one that works for you!