Both new and seasoned artists alike know the importance of a good piece of sketch paper when creating their artistic designs. You want to choose paper that will help every detail of your work shine through.
The sketch paper you need differs according to the media you choose to use. What doesn’t change is the need for paper that is just the right size, durable, and has the right orientation. Not all sketch paper is created equally, so today, we are taking a closer look at the Strathmore Sketchbook or the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Paper.
Strathmore is known for creating solid, reliable art products and materials, and that trend continues with the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Paper. Strathmore creates paper ranging from their 100 series to their 500 series. This paper, labeled "the best" is an all-purpose option for helping to perfect your existing skills.
This paper is intended for artists who use colored pencil, graphite pencil, charcoal, soft pastel, sketching stick, and oil pastel. However, this is not for artists who intend on using watercolor or any wet media.
While this sketchpad could technically be used by any artist ranging from beginner to seasoned, it's better for more experienced ones. Strathmore does offer other paper in their series, which is geared toward the beginning artist. That paper is still durable, but a bit lesser quality.
Multiple options are available when you purchase this sketchpad, but we are reviewing the six-pack product specifically, which includes six pads. Each pad includes 100 sheets of paper, so you get a total of 600 pages of white, 60lb paper with this purchase.
You can buy this same sketch pad in packs of one through four as well. Each pad still includes 100 pages of paper. Thus, if you want to try the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Paper first, you can purchase a single pad and if you decide you like it, purchase additional packs. With that being said, of course, the more you purchase at one time, the less each pad costs you.
The Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Paper is a heavyweight, general purpose paper. Its only limitation is that it is not intended for use with wet media, including markers. As mentioned, its design is focused on helping experienced artists or those who are working through very specific techniques in their art.
The sketchbook includes 60-pound sheets of paper that have a fine-tooth surface. The paper is also a true white color, so your designs should shine through and the colors would be defined. Additionally, the surface is not perfectly smooth so it will pick up all the details, regardless of the media you choose to use.
The pages in this book are micro-perforated and each page has the actual size when removed; specifically 9” x12”. If you want to keep your designs once removed, having them be true to size even after removal is great because you don't have to worry about any missing detail or piece.
There aren’t many drawbacks with the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Paper, but one design flaw limits who can use it. The binding on this sketchbook is on the left side, which makes it difficult to use for any artist who is left-handed. If right-handed, you really should have no issue using it.
If you are looking for a way to see this paper in action, you can check out the video review below. This might give you a better idea of how well it will hold up to your particular medium of choice since you can see how the paper withstands use with a variety of different media options. You will also get an idea of the overall durability of the paper and the book.
Even though the Strathmore Sketchbook is high quality, it isn’t perfect. One of its biggest drawbacks is that it has the spiral binding on the side. This is a matter of personal preference, but if you are left-handed, you would be hard-pressed to make good use of this book without having to constantly change its orientation.
Some right-handed artists would also prefer a binding that was not on the side. A drawback many artists experience with a side binding is that the book may tilt as opposing to falling completely flat when using it. This can hinder your ability to have a full range of motion while sketching, even if you are right-handed.
With that in mind, there are alternatives available to you if you want a binding that is on top of the book as opposed to one on the side. One option is the Bachmore Sketch Book.
With this product, you will receive two packs of sketchbooks with 100 pages each. The paper in these packs is acid-free, thick, and white with a weight of 68lb.
This set can be used with markers, colored pencil, and charcoal media. Similar to the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Paper, the only other real drawback to this sketchbook is that it is not compatible with watercolors.
Thus, if you are looking for a sketch pad that can be used with watercolor, you can try the Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad. Its paper is compatible with nearly all art media, including light washes of watercolor and ink. Unfortunately, this does have a side spiral binding, so it isn’t very friendly to left-handed artists.
Strathmore is known for creating durable products for artists, and this 400 series sketchbook is no exception and delivers on its promises. It is heavy-duty, textured, and made from the best trees.
Your designs will shine through on the white paper and given the texture of the paper, no details will go unnoticed. It works for just about every dry medium!