Whether you're a charcoal enthusiast, watercolour fan or love nothing more than an afternoon spent pencil sketching, a top quality sketchbook is a key piece of kit for artists of all abilities. A specialised sketchbook not only provides high-quality pages for a range of wet and dry mediums (to prevent your paint from bleeding through), but it's a dedicated space for your wonderful creations.


So don't make do with any old notebook, treat yourself to a beautiful sketchbook so your masterpieces can really shine!

Before investing, you should think about what you're most likely to use your sketchbook for: do you need particularly thick pages with a high GSM for painting, or are you a dedicated pencil artist?

If you're new to the art of sketching, you can also find more affordable, all-rounder designs to kick off your sketching journey. For further tips on what to look for when buying a sketchbook, jump to our buyer's guide.

Best sketchbooks at a glance

Best value for quality Strathmore 400 Series Sketch

Best for pencil and charcoal Canson Artist Series Sketchbook

Best for watercolours and inks Strathmore 400 Series Watercolour Sketchbook

Best for creativity Seawhite Octopus Concertina Sketchbook

Best for travel Leuchtturm1917 A6 Sketchbook

Best for style Khadi Hardback Sketchbook

Best all-rounder Moleskine Classic Art Plus Sketchbook

Best for wet and dry mediums Stillman & Birn Zeta Wirebound Sketchbook

Get your budding artists involved too with our fun drawing ideas for kids!

Best sketchbooks for 2023

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch

Best value for quality

Strathmore 400 series sketchbook

The Strathmore 400 Series Sketch features 100 sheets of 89gsm sketch paper so you'll have plenty to keep you busy! A convenient chipboard backing allows for a sturdier base. This can come in handy if you're doing a quick sketch whilst out and about. The paper measures 9 x 12 inches so you can carry this sketchbook in your rucksack if need be, but the pages are still large enough for more detailed work.

As a sketchbook that's designed for dry media, the 'Sketch' sketchpad in the 400 series isn't suitable for paints, but it'll work great for graphite and coloured pencils as well as charcoal.

With over 20,000 five star ratings on Amazon, the Strathmore 400 Series Sketchbook is a popular choice with users commenting on the high quality of the product.

Pros: Trusted brand renowned for its quality, hard chipboard backing included

Cons: Lower GSM in comparison to other sketchbooks

Become an expert with the 10 best online watercolour classes in 2023!

Canson Artist Series Sketchbook

Best for pencil and charcoal

Canson Artist Series Sketch Book

The Canson Artist Series sketchbook is another design suitable for pencil and charcoal drawing. Rather than classic spiral binding, the sketchbook comes with a neat, hardback covering which certainly gives this design a traditional and professional feel. The strong stitching allows the book to lie completely flat when open so you can keep your new sketchbook in great condition, all while making use of the whole page.

Featuring 96gsm, acid free paper, your artwork is sure to benefit from this quality sketchbook.

Pros: Available in a range of sizes, professional appearance

Cons: Hardback makes for heavier design

Strathmore 400 Series Watercolour Sketchbook

Best for watercolours and inks

Strathmore watercolour sketchbook
Cass Art

Another Strathmore 400 Series sketchbook to consider, but this one is for the sketchers who love to bring their work to life with a splash of paint! The popular brand's Watercolour Sketchbook features 300gsm paper and can be used with wet mediums such as watercolours and inks.

The pages measure 8.5 x 11 inches, and the book is hardbound. Buy now for a reduced price and stock up on your papercraft essentials on a budget!

Pros: Weighty 300gsm paper for a range of mediums

Cons: Only 48 pages so you may get through the book quite quickly

Seawhite Octopus Concertina Sketchbook

Best for creativity

Octopus sketchbook
Cass Art

Fed up with feeling restricted by your sketchbook's layout? The pages in the octopus concertina sketchbook open out, just like a concertina, allowing you more freedom and dynamism with your work. A top choice for creatives looking for the perfect storyboard sketchbook.

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The sketchbook is made up of A5 pages making it a neat size for easy travel, and the 220gsm paper gives this design points for versatility.

Pros: Unique design, compact size

Cons: Only 8 extending arms overall

Leuchtturm1917 A6 Sketchbook

Best for travel

Green pocket sketchbook

Featuring strong, white, 180 gsm paper, this pocket-size sketchbook is perfect for your small scale sketching projects. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are a trusted and popular choice so were pleased to find the brand's dinky A6 size on the market. Pop it in your rucksack, or jacket pocket even, and take your sketchbook wherever you go.

Next time you're waiting for a friend or bored on a train platform, just take out your sketchbook and enjoy a quick doodle!

Pros: Lots of colour options, protective hardcover

Cons: Too narrow for detailed work

Khadi Hardback Sketchbook

Best for style

KHADI hardback sketchbook
Cass Art

The pages in the Khadi hardback sketchbook feature section stitched binding and a deckle edge (a rough, uneven edge) so if you want to be transported back in time for a more authentic, artistic experience, you're in luck! The 210gsm pages can withstand watercolours, and we'd say this gorgeous design would make a lovely gift for a fellow artist.

Pros: Suitable for watercolours, beautiful appearance

Cons: Only 40 pages

Moleskine Classic Art Plus Sketchbook

Best all-rounder

Moleskine Sketchbook

Possibly the most popular choice for notebook enthusiasts, Moleskine is a classic go-to. The brand's classic art plus sketchbook features 100 165 gsm pages and there's an elastic band bind to keep your pages in pristine condition. The built-in bookmark is another handy addition, find your latest sketch with ease!

Pros: Built-in pocket for clippings and notes, well-loved brand

Cons: Plain, unexciting cover appearance

Stillman & Birn Zeta Wirebound Sketchbook

Best for wet and dry mediums

Watercolour sketchbook

The extra-heavyweight nature of the Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook paper makes our final sketchbook a handy all-rounder for all of your ink, watercolour and pencil projects. This notebook is great if you're just starting out and want to explore wet and dry mediums.

Users seem impressed with the paper's smoothness and thickness (270 gsm), and there's a smaller 7 x 10 inch design if you'd rather opt for a neater size.

Pros: Large 9 x 12 inch size for detailed artwork, thick pages for mixed media

Cons: Expensive for number of sheets (25 sheets, 50 pages)

What to look for when buying a sketchbook


Are you in need of a large sketchbook for your desk at home, or a pocket-sized design you can take on your travels? The most standard size of sketchbook would be around the 9 x 12 inches or 8 x 11 inches mark. That's because such books are small enough to pop in your rucksack while still being large enough for detailed work. You can often find the same design in a range of sizes, so you can easily double up and create a collection to suit your varying sketching needs.

Paper thickness

A paper's thickness is measured in grams per square metre (GSM). At the lighter end of the scale you've got your 80 to 100gsm (paper you'd typically use at work, or for printing) and up at the heavier end, you'll find paper as heavy as 350gsm. Think about what mediums you'll be using before purchasing your sketchbook. You'll want 300gsm paper if you're planning to paint with watercolours.


Spiral and hardbound sketchbooks are your most typical options. The latter has the edge when it comes to appearance, and they're a nice touch on a bookshelf. However, you may prefer spiral bound books, as you can lie the page flat more easily. This prevents inks from running, and allows for a more even surface.

Is it worth it to buy a sketchbook?

If you're looking to take your drawing to the next level, and want to create a collection of pieces to look back on over the years (great for observing your progress!) then a sketchbook is definitely a worthy investment.

Sketchbooks aren't overly pricey, and thanks to the specialised designs for watercolours and charcoal etc, you can hone in on your favourite style of drawing and achieve the most professional of finishes.

Why not dedicate your sketchbooks to set themes and keep all of your nature drawings, portraits and animal work in one place?


Find your next drawing project with Gathered!

Here at Gathered, we have plenty of drawing ideas so you can fill your new sketchbook with beautiful creations! Take a look at our list of 20 easy animals to draw for a great starting point.


Rachel HowatsonDigital Writer

Rachel Howatson is a digital writer who works across Our Media’s home and craft brands. With a love of eclectic furniture and bold, statement decor, and an ability to scour out the best deals online, she’s got your interior and crafting needs covered.

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