Best Watercolor Sketchbooks for All Skill Levels

Best Watercolor Sketchbooks for All Skill Levels
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When you’re getting into doing more art, a lot of people will tell you that it doesn’t matter what tools you use. The main thing that you need to do is get started!

While that is very true, choosing a sketchbook that works well for your art is a scary part of the process. When you have a low-quality watercolor sketchbook, it can become frustrating to do art at all.

Some watercolor sketchbooks will not dry properly; others will barely hold onto any color. Texture, too, will differ between all of the sketchbooks, so you’ll have to get to know what you like the best.

Today, we’re reviewing three of the best watercolor sketchbooks so that you can choose a sketchbook that will make your art more enjoyable, not less. By the end of our reviews, we hope that you’ve found the perfect sketchbook for what you want to do!

Best Watercolor Sketchbook Reviews

1. Moleskin Hard Cover Art Sketch Album

The first watercolor sketchbook that we’ll review today is the Moleskin Hard Cover Art Sketch Album. Moleskin is one of the most well-known notebook brands out there for writing, painting, and sketching, and there’s a good reason for that. Their products are very high-quality.

Features

This art sketchbook is outfitted with a durable cover that will help to protect your paper from any types of damages when you are not using it. The cover is also the classic black color that people love to see when they think of moleskin.

The ivory paper pages are initially made for sketching in, but they will also work for watercolor painting. The paper is thick, soft, and slightly textured, so the water will be able to soak in and pool in all the right ways.

The paper has a grade of 120 gsm/81lbs and is acid-free. Each of the pages is set up with a perforated edge so that you can easily rip out pages to work on outside of the notebook, or you can tear them out later once they are dry so that you can display them or store in another location.

There are a few more things about this notebook's design that stands out. First, it can open to a flat surface so you won't struggle in holding or propping the notebook open while you are working. When dealing with watercolors, this is especially important.

Another aspect worth noting is that this notebook has an expandable inner pocket in the back. This area is great for storing notes, sketches, receipts, or any other item so that you have it conveniently saved when you need it.

What We Love About This Sketchbook:

  • Simple
  • Perforated paper edges
  • Good for different media types
  • Hard paper cover
  • Convenient carrying size

What We Don’t Love About This Sketchbook:

  • No elastic strap
  • Can warp if too much watercolor is applied

2. Bellofy 100-Sheet Multi-Media Sketchpad

Another great multi-media sketchpad option is this one from Bellofy. While this sketchbook impresses in terms of its notebook type and price, is it really one of the best sketchbooks? Let’s find out.

Features

This notebook is made for mixed media. In particular, Bellofy advertises that this notebook is for charcoal, watercolor, ink, pencil, and acrylic paint. So while we are focused on watercolors today, this is a great option for those who want to experiment with many types of art as well.

The paper is A-4 sized and relatively heavy. It is 160 gsm paper, and it is appropriate to use for both wet and dry arts. Since the paper is relatively heavy, the watercolors should not cause any crinkling when used properly. Finally, the paper is acid-free.

If you haven’t heard of the art company Bellofy before, you might be a bit hesitant to use any of their products. Conveniently, Bellofy has excellent customer service that you can count on to make things right if you have any issues with your order.

What We Love About This Sketchbook:

  • Ring layout can lay flat
  • Mixed-media paper great for experimentation
  • Will not easily crinkle with watercolors
  • High-quality cover
  • Micro-perforated edges for easy separation

What We Don’t Love About This Sketchbook:

  • Not great for graphite
  • Causes some watercolor blooms
  • Not great for layering many colors

3. Speedball Travelogue Watercolor Journal

This watercolor journal from Speedball is a very interesting option as well. This notebook has a large landscape layout, which is perfect for new and experienced watercolor artists, as this is a widely preferred format when painting.

Features

This product is made of acid-free paper that is graded as 200 gsm, which is a bit heavy, making it perfect for use with watercolors. It also ensures that it will not warp or cause watercolor blooms when you are painting. That makes these soft and white sheets great for any watercolor artist.

The book has a natural linen bound cover. This linen is very finely woven and will last through all of the wear and tear that your journal would be subjected to once you use it. The journal has an elastic closure as well, so you can keep it from becoming damaged when it goes into your bag to travel with you.

What We Love About This Sketchbook:

  • Back and front have tooth and are usable
  • Great weight and smoothness
  • Will not warp when used properly
  • Can be used for different types of media

What We Don’t Love About This Sketchbook:

  • Can warp if the water is applied too quickly in too many layers
  • Paper too smooth for some artist’s style

The Winner

Out of these three options, we have to say that the best watercolor sketchbook is the Speedball Travelogue Watercolor Journal. This journal has the highest quality watercolor paper out of the bunch, and it also has the most functional format and design.

Ultimately, you should choose the journal that you like the most in terms of both paperweight and journal design! Since you’re just using your notebook to practice and become better at art, any sketchbook can work for you as long as you put in both time and energy! You’ll be surprised at what you can create.

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