Tuesday, September 2, 2014
A fairly common question in my classes:"So Mr. Lung, what kind of sketchbook do you recommend?"
Well grasshopper, that is a good question. Short answer: whichever kind lets you doodle and practice regularly. For starters, you could use a simple clipboard and a good supply of printer paper. Then as you gain confidence, you might want to invest on a sturdier sketchbook that you might conveniently haul around with you to practice at every free opportunity. If you prefer online shopping, I would recommend checking the selection of sketchbooks at Blick's. If you are looking for something unique and custom-made to your needs and specifications, you might want to check out Sketchbook Central (here is a link to my review post of some of their custom sketchbooks). Otherwise stroll over to the bargain section of your local mall bookstore, and you are likely to find a few value options. I actually have gotten the Hokusai's Wave sketchbook on both sizes a couple of times already, for I am pretty fond of that cover design.
You could also find some premium choices in the regular Art Techniques section.
Many larger bookstores have their own dedicated section of "Art Supplies and Sketchbooks" with artsy covers.
Some might even sport movie theme covers.
Even found a few more whimsical sketchbook options among the the seasonal offerings
on the display tables scattered around the bookstore.
Local retailers may also offer a limited selection of sketchbook and journals. The smaller Mead Acadmie sketchbook and sketch journal have a thinner card stock cover and a single wire spiral securing the 50 lb sheets together. The larger black sketchbook features a heavier gauge double wire binding, stiffer covers, and 70 lb sketch paper.
Some big-box retailers have a pretty comprehensive selection of art supplies in its own aisle.
In the Crayola section in addition to the usual paper pads, you might find a simple spiral bound sketchbook (Made in India) like the one shown above.
In the proper Art Supplies section you can find a selection of spiral bound Strathmore sketch pads. The top bound format can be particularly useful for sketching on location, for it makes it easier to secure the pages with a rubber band and keep them from blowing in the wind. It also keeps the ring binding away from your drawing hand (for both left and right handed artists).
In addition to the drawing and painting tools, there is also a large stock of Canson XL Drawing and Mixed-Media spiral bound pads that feature heavier papers that can withstand more vigorous techniques and repeated clean erasing.
Classic black Daler-Rowney sketchbooks in spiral and hard bound formats round up the range of options at this store. Hardbound journals will look a tad nicer on private library bookshelves documenting your artistic progress.
Spotted these display of hardbound sketchbooks and spiral bound sketch pads at AC Moore.
When selecting a sketchbook consider how you plan to use it, whether will you be working on a table or sketching mostly standing while on the go. Pick the optimal size that you are comfortable carrying on-the-go, or the biggest size that you are comfortable working on regularly either at your home studio or inside your vehicle. Most importantly, pick whatever size will lead you to sketch more frequently and regularly. Happy sketching!