Best mixed media sketchbooks
Find the perfect paper for any creative whim with these fab mixed media sketchbooks.
We’re confirmed sketchbook addicts here at Gathered, with a definite preference for good quality paper that will work with a range of creative mediums.
Mixed media sketchbooks are great for a variety of uses. They’re suitable for everyone from artists that like to experiment with different paints and pens on a sketch, to creative note takers who like to create collages or stick images in alongside their writing.
The most important factor when choosing a mixed media sketchbook is the paper thickness, as this will determine how well your paper will accommodate paints, glues or other damp mediums without warping.
If you’re someone who predominantly works with pencils or charcoal, you might want to take a look at our roundup of the best sketchbooks for drawing.
The best mixed media sketchbook to buy online
1. Moleskine sketchbooks
Best for pencils, pens, charcoal and markers
When it comes to top quality sketchbooks there’s one brand that’s always popular - Moleskine. They create a huge range of ruled notebooks, planners and journals, but their art range of sketchbooks are our personal favourites.
Their sketchbook collection features a super smooth paper that is a pleasure to draw on. The paper is 165gsm thick, which is suitable for use with most pens and pencils, and is thick enough for glueing or taping in collages or reference images.
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Brush markers or certain paints are likely to bleed through the paper, however, you can also get Moleskine Watercolour sketchbooks which are specifically designed for these mediums.
As well as the top quality paper and sturdy cover, it’s the little details that make Moleskine sketchbooks so special. The handy stretchy band to keep your sketchbook closed, ribbon bookmark to save your page and wallet pouch for keeping scraps/paper items safe are simple features that really give these sketchbooks a professional touch!
- Get your Moleskin sketchbooks from Amazon
2. String and Space A3 spiral bound sketchbook
Best for all mediums
If you’ve ever been to art school or a life drawing class, you’ll undoubtedly have seen these sort of black cover spiral bound sketchbooks.
They’re a popular choice with students and mixed media artists as the 200gsm thick paper can be used with most artistic mediums, and the wire spiral binding means it’s easy to remove your finished artwork – whether that’s to frame it or throw it away!
The heavy duty covers will also keep your sketches safe when you’re out and about, as well as providing a solid enough surface for drawing on if you’re out in the field and don’t have a table.
- Buy a String and Space A3 spiral bound sketchbook from Amazon
3. Daler Rowney A3 Bristol board
Best for professional finish and preventing bleed
We’re really big fans of Bristol board, and not just because we’re based in Bristol! If you’re someone who likes to work with mediums like airbrushes, marker pens or calligraphy pens/inks that can often bleed through or warp most papers, Bristol board is exactly what you need.
Thanks to its chunky 250gsm paper/board, it’s not only perfect for preventing bleed from more fluid mediums like marker pens but will also help give you really crisp lines and illustrations with more conventional fineliners and pens.
These A3 pads produced by Daler Rowney are a great size for making display artworks, and because the pad is gummed it’s easy to cleanly remove a sheet once completed. Plus the thickness of the board means it won’t crease or fold easily, so you can display it without the need to mount it on a firmer board.
- Buy Daley Rowney A3 Bristol board from Amazon
4. Pith Oroblanco sketchbook
Best for sustainability
Perhaps you’re looking for a mixed media sketchbook that also has plenty of eco-friendly credentials too? Then you should check out the Pith brand of sketchbooks!
Pith are all about sustainability, as well as being able to trace the materials used in their products. So as well as knowing that your 200gsm paper is sustainably produced in Sweden and the covers are made from recycled board, you also know that even components such as thread, labels and glue are all traceable and made in the UK.
The paper is slightly rough and textured, meaning that although you might not get the smoothest of lines with fineliner pens, it's perfect for pencil and charcoal drawing as well as also being suitable for acrylic and watercolour paintings.
- Get your Pith Oroblanco sketchbook from Cass Arts
5. Winsor & Newton mixed media pad
Best for heavyweight paper
Although the thickness of your paper is an important factor when determining if your paper is suitable for paints, the smoothness or texture of the paper will also make a difference to how well the paint will adhere to your paper.
This mixed media pad from Winsor & Newton is a heavyweight but soft paper, with a fine textured grain making it suitable for acrylic, watercolour and even gouache paints, as well as pencils, charcoal and pastels.
These A3 and A4 pads are also ring bound, but come with the extra feature of having micro perforated sheets, making it much easier to detach your paper from the pad. The paper is also made from FSC certified pulp and produced using hydro-electricity to reduce emissions – good to know!
- Order your Winsor & Newton mixed media pad from Cass Arts
6. Seawhite Octopus concertina sketchbook
Best for long paper
Don’t you just hate it when you’re absorbed in a drawing and then you reach the edge of the paper? That’s no longer a problem with these clever concertina sketchbooks from Seawhite. With rigid 220gsm paper, each ‘page’ folds out to reveal four panels, giving you a longer working surface that is great for storyboards.
With eight concertina leaves, giving you a total of 36 pages, it’s perhaps not so much your everyday sketchbook but certainly one to treat yourself to.
- You can find this Seawhite Octopus concertina sketchbook from Cass Arts
7. Khadi white rag paper
Best for experimenting
Our last pick isn’t technically a sketchbook, but we thought we’d include it as an interesting mixed media surface. This Khadi white rag paper is made from 100% cotton rag, producing a super thick and textured 320gsm surface.
It’s great for watercolour painting and has a lovely tactile feel to it, plus it’s great to experiment with as the rough texture and cotton fibres soak up your inks and paints more than regular paper.
It is worth noting however that it isn’t suitable for vegans as gelatine is used in the production process.
- Try some Khadi white rag paper from Cass Arts
Choosing the right mixed media sketchbook
Choosing the best sketchbook for your needs all depends on your artistic style and preferred mediums. For example, a pencil artist that creates very intricate and technical fine line drawings might prefer a smoother surface than someone who does rough sketches.
Try experimenting with different surfaces and make a record of when you find one you like. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with having multiple sketchbooks!
Treat yourself to some new pencils
Once you’ve got your new mixed media sketchbook, you’ll want some quality art supplies to use in it. Take a look at the best pencils for drawing here on Gathered.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.
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