Best Sketchbooks for Colored Pencils: A Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. What makes a sketchbook great for colored pencils?
  2. How to choose the right sketchbook
  3. Sketchbook Review: Strathmore Series
  4. Sketchbook Review: Moleskine Art Collection
  5. Sketchbook Review: Canson Mixed Media
  6. Sketchbook Review: Pentalic Hardbound
  7. Sketchbook Review: illo Premium
  8. How to care for your sketchbook

For artists, both budding and seasoned, finding the best sketchbook for colored pencils can feel like a quest. It's not easy! You might feel like Goldilocks, trying out one sketchbook after another—this one's too smooth, that one's too rough, and oh, this one's just right. But fear not! This guide will help you navigate the colorful sea of sketchbooks and find the perfect match for your colored pencils.

What makes a sketchbook great for colored pencils?

There's more to a good sketchbook than meets the eye. Let's break down what makes the best sketchbook for colored pencils:

  • Paper weight: The weight of the paper can make or break your artwork. Heavier paper, typically 60-90 lbs, is best for colored pencils. It can handle the pressure you put on it without tearing or bleeding through.
  • Texture: The texture of the paper plays a key role in how your colored pencils interact with the surface. A slight texture, or "tooth", can help grab onto the color, allowing for richer and more vibrant drawings.
  • Binding: Spiral bindings let you lay your sketchbook flat while you work, while hardbound sketchbooks offer a sturdy, flat surface. Your choice depends on your personal preference and working style.
  • Size: Sketchbooks come in all shapes and sizes, from pocket-sized for on-the-go sketching to larger formats for more detailed work. Think about where and how you'll be using your sketchbook before deciding on a size.
  • Quality: High-quality paper won't fade or yellow over time, keeping your artwork vibrant for years to come. Look for acid-free paper to ensure longevity.

Remember, the best sketchbook for colored pencils is the one that meets your specific needs and preferences. Whether you're an aspiring artist or a seasoned pro, the right sketchbook can be a game changer. So, go forth and find your perfect sketchbook match!

How to choose the right sketchbook

Choosing the right sketchbook isn't a one-size-fits-all situation. It's about understanding what you need from your sketchbook and finding one that fits the bill. Here's how you can make an informed choice:

  • Understand your art style: Do you like creating detailed, intricate drawings or are you more of a broad strokes kind of artist? The level of detail you prefer in your work can guide your choice of sketchbook. For finer details, a sketchbook with smooth paper would be ideal. If you like to play with textures, pick a sketchbook with a bit of tooth.
  • Consider your usage: If you're the kind of artist who likes to carry your sketchbook everywhere, a compact sketchbook would be your best bet. On the other hand, if your art sessions are usually at home or in a studio, a larger sketchbook might serve you better.
  • Factor in your budget: Art supplies can be pricey, and sketchbooks are no exception. However, remember that the quality of your sketchbook can directly affect the outcome of your artwork. So, while it's important to stick to your budget, don't compromise on quality.
  • Experiment: Sometimes, you might need to try out a few different sketchbooks before you find the one that feels just right. Don't be afraid to experiment and explore. Who knows, you might stumble upon the best sketchbook for colored pencils in the most unexpected place!

Remember, the journey of finding the best sketchbook for colored pencils is as personal as the art you create. Take your time, do your research, and most importantly, enjoy the process!

Sketchbook Review: Strathmore Series

If you're looking for a sketchbook that embraces colored pencils like a long-lost friend, the Strathmore Series might just be your match. Let's delve into why this might be the best sketchbook for colored pencils for your artistic journey.

Firstly, the Strathmore Series offers a range of sketchbooks with different paper weights. This means you can choose a sketchbook that can handle the pressure you put on your pencils—literally! If you're heavy-handed, go for a sketchbook with a higher paper weight; it'll stand up to your strokes without a fuss.

Secondly, Strathmore sketchbooks are known for their smooth, velvety paper. If you're the kind of artist who loves creating smooth color transitions and blending, this is a dream come true. The paper allows colored pencils to glide across its surface, creating a seamless, blended look that's hard to achieve on rougher paper.

Lastly, the durability of these sketchbooks is something to be appreciated. The hardcover protects your precious artwork, and the spiral binding lets you flip pages with ease. You can also tear out pages cleanly if you want to frame or gift your art.

All these features come together to make the Strathmore Series a strong contender for the title of the best sketchbook for colored pencils. But remember, the best sketchbook for you is one that suits your unique style and needs. So, give it a try, and see if it's the right fit for you!

Sketchbook Review: Moleskine Art Collection

Another brilliant choice when hunting for the best sketchbook for colored pencils is the Moleskine Art Collection. Let's discover what makes this collection stand out.

First off, the Moleskine Art Collection is synonymous with high-quality paper. The ivory-colored paper is a treat for any artist fond of colored pencils. It has a unique texture that allows your colored pencils to create vibrant, rich hues. Your colors will pop, and your artwork will shine with a new intensity.

Another feature to love about the Moleskine Art Collection is the classic, stylish design. The hardcover is sleek and durable, perfect for artists on the go. Plus, there's an elastic band to keep your sketchbook closed and your art pieces safe. It's like a chic little suitcase for your art!

Finally, each Moleskine sketchbook comes with a handy pocket at the back. It's perfect for storing your extra colored pencils, notes, or small references. It's a small touch, but it highlights Moleskine's attention to an artist's needs.

With its high-quality paper, chic design, and thoughtful features, the Moleskine Art Collection is definitely a strong contender for the best sketchbook for colored pencils. Try it out, and let your colored pencils bring your creativity to life!

Sketchbook Review: Canson Mixed Media

Let's now turn our attention to another great option for colored pencil artists - the Canson Mixed Media sketchbook. This sketchbook has a lot to offer, let's dive right in.

When we talk about the best sketchbook for colored pencils, paper quality is a significant factor and Canson doesn't disappoint. The paper in this sketchbook is heavyweight and fine-textured, ideal for colored pencils. It withstands heavy coloring and layering, allowing you to explore various shading techniques without the paper tearing or bleeding.

But what makes Canson Mixed Media stand out is its versatility. As the name suggests, this sketchbook is perfect not just for colored pencils, but for other mediums too. So if you're someone who likes to experiment with watercolors, markers, or pastels, this sketchbook will be your best friend.

Moreover, the Canson Mixed Media sketchbook has a sturdy, double-wire binding that allows it to lay flat when open. This feature is a real bonus when you're in the groove and need to spread your art across two pages.

The Canson Mixed Media sketchbook also boasts of a heavy-duty cover, offering protection for your masterpieces inside. So, whether you're sketching at home or capturing scenes on your travels, this sketchbook can take the wear and tear.

In conclusion, the Canson Mixed Media sketchbook offers high-quality, versatile paper and user-friendly features making it a top pick for the best sketchbook for colored pencils. Give it a shot and see how it can elevate your art!

Sketchbook Review: Pentalic Hardbound

Next up in our search for the best sketchbook for colored pencils, let's take a look at the Pentalic Hardbound. This sketchbook is a gem for colored pencil artists, and here's why.

First off, Pentalic Hardbound's paper quality is top-notch. It features heavyweight, acid-free pages that can take a good amount of pressure and layering from your colored pencils. The paper's smooth texture allows the pencils to glide easily, giving an even and vibrant application of color.

One of the standout aspects of the Pentalic Hardbound is its hardcover design. Yes, you heard it right! This sketchbook comes with a firm, hardbound cover that not only provides excellent support while drawing but also adds to its durability. No matter where you take it, your sketches and doodles are safe and secure.

Another noteworthy feature is its binding. The Pentalic Hardbound lies flat when opened, which means you can draw across the gutter without any hassle. It's a small detail, but it can make a big difference in your drawing experience.

So, if you're in search for the best sketchbook for colored pencils that offers high-grade paper, a hardbound cover for durability, and a flat-lay design for easy drawing, then Pentalic Hardbound could be your match. Try it out and let your colored pencil artistry shine!

Sketchbook Review: illo Premium

Let's move on to another contender in our quest for the best sketchbook for colored pencils - the illo Premium Sketchbook. This sketchbook is a favorite among many artists, and there are plenty of reasons why.

One of the first things you'll notice about the illo Premium is its thick, 180 GSM paper. This type of paper is perfect for colored pencil art. It's heavy enough to withstand many layers of color without tearing or bleeding. Plus, the slight tooth on the paper's surface allows the colored pencils to grip well, resulting in rich, vibrant colors.

What sets the illo Premium apart is its square shape. Unlike the typical rectangular sketchbooks, the illo Premium is a perfect square. This unique format can inspire you to think out of the box and create some truly unique artwork.

Another cool feature of the illo Premium is its leatherette cover. Not only does it look sleek, but it also provides excellent protection for your artwork. Plus, the elastic band keeps the sketchbook closed when not in use, ensuring your pages stay pristine.

The illo Premium also has a lay-flat design, so you can work on your art smoothly and comfortably. No worries about the sketchbook closing on its own or pages flipping over. It's a small detail, but it can significantly improve your drawing experience.

So, if you're looking for a unique, high-quality sketchbook for your colored pencils, the illo Premium Sketchbook is definitely worth considering. It might just be the tool you need to take your art to the next level!

How to care for your sketchbook

Once you've found the best sketchbook for colored pencils, it's important to take good care of it. After all, your sketchbook is more than just a collection of papers; it's a record of your artistic journey. So, here are some tips on how to ensure your sketchbook stays in top shape for a long time.

First off, avoid bending or folding the pages. It might seem basic, but it's easy to accidentally crease a page when you're deep in the creative process. Bending the pages can damage the paper and affect how your colored pencils lay down color. So, be gentle with your sketchbook and treat each page with respect.

Next, keep your sketchbook dry. Water and moisture can warp the pages and cause the colors to bleed. If you're working outside or in a humid environment, consider using a protective cover or case for your sketchbook. And if you accidentally spill something on your sketchbook, blot the area gently with a dry cloth and let it air dry.

Finally, keep your sketchbook clean. It's easy for eraser shavings, dust, and smudged colors to build up on your pages. You can use a soft brush or a blower to remove any loose debris. Also, consider using a separate sheet of paper under your hand while drawing to prevent smudging.

Remember, a well-cared-for sketchbook not only looks good but also functions better. It allows your colored pencils to perform their best, leading to artwork that you can be proud of. So, show your sketchbook some love, and it will return the favor with stunning, vibrant drawings!

If you enjoyed learning about the best sketchbooks for colored pencils and want to improve your sketchbook techniques, don't miss Rachelle Meyer's workshop, 'Top Tips For Sketchbook Studies.' This workshop will provide you with valuable tips and tricks to make the most of your sketchbook and enhance your artistic skills.