Where to Buy Sketchbooks: The Top Options

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Sketchbooks aren’t just for practice. They are also a great central place to keep all of your work. You can display it easily and show it off to loved ones. If you buy a good sketchbook with quality and high-grade paper, you can depend on viewing those images for some time to come.

With so many different pads now available for purchase, how would you know where to buy sketchbooks? There are several shopping options, as well as many features to consider when shopping.

What to Look For

Before we get started on where to shop, it is critical to know what you should be looking for when it comes time to buy a new sketchbook. If you are brand new to sketching, this is particularly important, but it can also be a useful reminder for more seasoned artists who haven’t purchased a new pad in a while.

To start, consider what you are going to use the sketchbook for most and why you want to purchase one. Are you planning to use it for drawing illustrations with pencils only? Are you planning on using watercolors?

Sketchbook features to consider include the following:

  • Hardbound versus spiralbound
  • Overall size, both of the book and the paper
  • Landscape versus portrait orientation
  • Kind of paper
  • The texture of the paper
  • Hardcover versus softcover
  • Total number of usable pages

If you are just starting with your drawing, you might not care quite as much about all those features. Even if that is the case, you should keep those options in mind for when you get a bit more serious about your illustrations.

If you are already a pretty seasoned artist, those features will be critical to your sketchbook selection. You might already know what you prefer, as well.

For example, maybe you like the feel of a spiralbound book over that of a hardbound one. Of course, these matters are of personal preference but they are the things you should keep in mind when shopping.

Where to Buy Sketchbooks

Now let us take a look at four places where you can shop for sketchbooks.

1. Big Box Stores

There isn’t much you can’t buy at the big box stores like Walmart or Target. This trend seems to only be continuing given that many other stores seem to be declining every week.

Similar to everything else that can be bought at these stores, you can find sketchbooks as well. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when buying from a store that isn’t specialty.

You might not find the same quality you would if you shopped at some of the other retail options. The sketchbooks available might not be the highest quality.

Perhaps that isn’t important to you and you’d rather have the convenience of running into Walmart or Target and running out with your pad. If that works for you, great. If it doesn’t, keep reading for some other more specialized options.

2. Craft Stores

Craft stores are the specialty version of big box stores. Basically, you can get the higher-quality, better version of the products you would likely find at Walmart or Target. You walk into Michael’s store and you know that you will likely find a whole plethora of sketchbooks from which to choose.

The biggest benefit of shopping at these stores is not just the convenience of being able to feel the product in your hands. You can get that at Target or Walmart.

It is that you get convenience partnered with higher quality. It is kind of a win-win if you have access to a specialty store. If you don’t, there are still other store options available to you.

3. Office Supply Stores

Office supply stores often have enough sketchbooks from which you can choose. That is to say that they have more, higher quality ones than what you might find at Walmart or Target, but less than what is available at a craft specialty store like Michael’s.

Not every community has a craft specialty store at every corner, but many do have an office supply store. If you purchase here, you get the benefit of feeling the texture of the pages and holding the book in your hand. That is the same as you would with the previous options. It just depends on which stores are readily available to you.

4. Online

No list which includes shopping options would be complete without recognizing that just about everything can be purchased online now. This is a matter of convenience for many. It might work for you to find a sketchbook to buy online.

You simply order it and likely receive it in just a couple of days. You can either use an online retailer or you can use the online website for one of the other stores we’ve already mentioned.

Either way, the convenience factor is the same. If you don’t like shopping in person or you simply are unable to do so, buying online can be a great solution. The drawback to buying online, of course, is that you don’t get to see the product firsthand.

You can’t feel the pages or judge the texture for yourself. You can’t see how thin or thick the pages are or if it will hold up to multiple erases. You won’t know if it is smudge-proof or not, despite what the manufacturer claims.

While that is the case, you can usually rely on the reviews left by real shoppers. They are usually people who are also interested in buying a high-quality product. If they purchase online and left a review, you can use their words as a means of testing out which product you want to buy.


Determining where to buy sketchbooks can be really important. It will drive the quality of the pads you purchase and if you find one you really like, you might end up purchasing that same product or brand over and over again.

There are positives and negatives to all of the shopping options outlined here, but you should consider which one is best for you. Maybe it is finding the easiest shopping outlet, which might be a big box store. Perhaps it is going to a specialty craft store and feeling out all the sketch pads they have available.

Whichever option you choose, you want to pick a sketchpad which will work for your individual artistic needs. For the most part, nearly every retail option highlighted here will get you a reasonable sketchbook to use to collect your drawings.

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