Watercolor sketchbooks

Last week i made myself a watercolor sketchbook and it’s the perfect occasion to show you my watercolor sketchbooks !

My old sketchbooks

I’m painting in my sketchbook mostly to keep memory of places where i went or object i find interesting. And sometimes, i use them to test another style, effects, colors… So i’m looking for the perfect sketchbook. Two characteristics are important to me : the shape and the paper quality. I want a sketchbook that will fit in my backpack easily and i need a paper very similar to what i use mostly. And this two points are quite difficult to find !

Moleskine sketchbook

I’ve started to sketch with watercolor in march 2016 with a Moleskine sketchbook. It is perfect for sketching with a pen and ink and then coloring it with watercolor. But some effects like wet in wet and blending colors are quite difficult to get. And i can’t layer too much colors, because the pigment from the last layer can be reactivated each time i use my brush on it. It’s a very sturdy sketchbook and the shape is just right for my bag.

Hand made sketchbook

My second sketchbook is a hand made one which i made during the summer of 2016. And it’s not finished yet… Mostly because i do not like the paper. The paper is made by St Cuthberts Mills in the Bockingford range. It’s a cellulose paper and it behaves oddly for my taste compare to a 100% coton paper. The paper dries very quickly, and it can blooms very easily. It was my first hand made sketchbook so it is definitely not perfect but it’s still in one piece after two years !

HandBook Journal Co sketchbook

My third sketchbook is very similar to the Moleskine one. It is from the brand HandBook Journal Co and it’s the Travelogue. I love the cover covered with fabric. It does not impact the quality of the sketchbook but it’s a nice feature. This skecthbook is also very sturdy. The paper is a bit better than the Moleskine. If i have to buy a sketchbook for improving my drawing with watercolor i would choose this one. But it can be hard to find sadly.

Khadi Paper sketchbook

And now my before last sketchbook and the one i use now : a Khadi Paper sketchbook. This sketchbook is made with a paper made in India. It’s 100% cotton and it’s the best paper i have in all my watercolor sketchbooks. I can paint with the same style as i paint on watercolor paper and i can get the same effects.  One thing, it can be hard to get fine lines sometimes as the pigments can diffuse a little bit into the paper. The biggest problem i have with this one is the size. It is too big of just 1 cm to fit perfectly in my backpack… So it stays at home often and i use it to test new idea.

My current hand made sketchbook

As i wanted a sketchbook easy to take with me everywhere without costing too much (the sketchbooks before are in the 15-25€ range), i decided ti try again to make my own sketchbook with the paper i choose. For around 10€, i can get a 30 pages sketchbook with a 100% cotton paper ! Of course you need to have some time to make it. I followed the tutorials by Sealemon to sew the pages and make the cover you can find them here.

The paper i used is from St Cuthbert Mills again but in the Saunders Waterford range. I didn’t test it for now, but it should be great ! I choose a weight a bit lighter from what i use usualy : 190g/m2. With this type of paper the pages can be fold without cracking the fibers. But i will need to pay attention at the amount of water i use because it will buckled way quicker ! I’ve used an entire sheet (56×76 cm) cut in 8 (32 pages). And i have kept all the rough edges of the sheet ! It makes it look a bit perfectly imperfect this way.

I will come back to tell you what i think of this new sketchbook as soon as i’ll use it ! And you, what are your favorite watercolor sketchbook ?

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