Best Sketch Pads For Drawing – Buying Guide

A high-quality sketch pad is an ideal tool for a newbie or a professional artist. It helps you experiment with new materials or techniques in planning work, makes quick studies, and enhances creativity. Sketching pads come in different shapes and size binds, so you’ll get one that fits your needs.

This article lists the top-rated sketchbooks that we find the ideal for almost every artist or enthusiast. When coming up with our list, we considered the type of paperwork, size, binding method, ribbon vs elastic closures, clippings, and swatches. We also considered pads that work with different media to meet different artists’ needs.

Below, you’ll discover the best sketch pads for drawing available on the market today. We recommend Pacon UCreate Poly Cover Sketch Book as our best overall pick. This is high-quality, heavyweight, and comes in different sizes and colors. In addition, it is versatile for other uses and features various boards for any type of art at any place.

Editor’s Pick: Sketch Pads For Drawing

# Preview Product Score
1 Strathmore (25-509 STR-025-509 100 Sheet Sketch Pad, 9 by 12', 9'x12', White

Strathmore (25-509 STR-025-509 100 Sheet Sketch Pad, 9 by 12", 9"x12", White

9.6
2 Yagol Sketchbook 9x12 Inch 100 Sheets Each 2 Pack, 68LB/100GSM Spiral-Bound Sketch pad with Acid-Free Drawing Paper and Hardcover for Pencils Charcoal Dry Media

Yagol Sketchbook 9x12 Inch 100 Sheets Each 2 Pack, 68LB/100GSM Spiral-Bound Sketch pad with...

9.7
3 Bachmore Sketchpad 9X12' Inch (68lb/100g), 100 Sheets of TOP Spiral Bound Sketch Book for Artist Pro & Amateurs | Marker Art, Colored Pencil, Charcoal for Sketching

Bachmore Sketchpad 9X12" Inch (68lb/100g), 100 Sheets of TOP Spiral Bound Sketch Book for Artist Pro...

9.2
4 UCreate Poly Cover Sketch Book, Heavyweight, Unruled 12' x 9', 75 Sheets

UCreate Poly Cover Sketch Book, Heavyweight, Unruled 12" x 9", 75 Sheets

9.2
5 9 x 12 inches Sketch Book, Top Spiral Bound Sketch Pad, 1 Pack 100-Sheets (68lb/100gsm), Acid Free Art Sketchbook Artistic Drawing Painting Writing Paper for Kids Adults Beginners Artists

9 x 12 inches Sketch Book, Top Spiral Bound Sketch Pad, 1 Pack 100-Sheets (68lb/100gsm), Acid Free...

9.3

1. UCreate Art Papers & Pads

UCreate Poly Cover Sketch Book, Heavyweight, Unruled 12' x 9', 75 Sheets

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UCreat Art Papers & Pads provide beginners and intermediate artists with the best solution. You can find these versatile drawing and sketch pads in age-appropriate styles and paper grades. 

Being among the best sketch pads for drawing, all UCreate pads come in a heavy clipboard back along with a sturdy binding to guarantee they will last for long.

High-Quality

Apart from being high-quality, UCreate Mixed Media paper is heavyweight white sulfite paper which is ideal for various applications using pencil, marker, oil pastels, and much more. Educators also like it for wet media such as watercolors. 

Different Sizes

Mixed Media drawing pad paper is available in various sizes, including rolls, reams, and pads. Thus there’s the right choice depending on your project. 

Versatile

Whether you want a classic poster board for sign making, stenciling, arts or crafts, the UCreate Poster Board is a perfect match. Their thickness is enough to handle different media, including paints and markers. This versatile product is of standard quality and comes in different sizes and colors. It means you are assured of finding the right board that will match your project. 

Various Boards

Moreover, you can access additional specialty boards like a chalkboard, metallic, or gold glitter border. If you opt for drawing paper pads, Ucreate Foam Boards come in handy. They are made with polystyrene foam which is laminated between two sheets of paper to form a durable but lightweight and firm surface. This makes it ideal for school projects, exhibitions, displays, mountings, framings, and crafts.

Pros:

  • Lightweight drawing paper at 70 lbs
  • Acid-free
  • Enhanced durability credit to the black poly cover
  • Spiral-bound and versatile for every project
  • Comes in different colors and sizes

Cons:

  • Paper not as thick as other brands
  • Some ink bleeding may occur

2.  Sketchbook: 100+ Blank Pages

Sketchbook: 100+ Blank Pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, Sketch Pad for Drawing, Doodling, Writing or Sketching

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Are you searching for a large sketchbook with the best paper for sketching, drawing, doodling, or writing? This can be an artistic tool to unleash your inventiveness with paintings, drawings, sketches, and much more. It can be the ideal gift for kids, teens, or anyone with artistic aptitude. Irrespective of how they prefer to use it, they can have various tasks like drafting daily journals, doodle diaries, or learning art lessons.

Size

One of the main features of this sketchbook is that it has 100+ blank pages, which means your kids have plenty of space to do their tasks. With 8.5 by 11 inches, there is enough room for any work, whether at home or school.

Quality

Another positive is that it comes with high-quality white paper, making it ideal for any media. 

Soft Cover

The soft cover with a Matte finish ensures comfort. With this thick cover, you can be certain that the sketchbook will last and won’t become messy for school-going kids.

Pros:

  • It is a great size and comes in an attractive color
  • The cover is sturdy and firm, while the pages are hard to rip out
  • Very spacious with more than 100 blank pages
  • High-quality paper to handle any type of media 
  • Suitable for anyone with an artistic aptitude 

Cons:

  • The paper is very thin and comes with annoying marks in the corner
  • It is not an ideal option if you love ripping pages out

3.  Ticktock A4 Ultra-Thin Portable LED Light Box Tracer

A4 Ultra-thin Portable LED Light Box Tracer USB Power Cable Dimmable Brightness LED Artcraft Tracing Light Pad for Artists Drawing Sketching Animation Stencilling X-rayViewing

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Do you want a professional sketch pad with a difference? The Ticktock A4 Ultra-Thin Tracer is a great option that can be widely used for different media.  It is suitable for tasks like 2D animation, calligraphy, stenciling, embossing, scrapbooking, drawing & sketching, stained glass, quilting, sewing projects, and much more.

USB Powered

One outstanding feature of this sketching pad that makes it one of the best artist sketch pads is the USB powering option. It comes with a USB cable that easily powers the lightbox from a PC, USB plug, or power bank. No battery is available and only works when plugged into a power source. 

Portability

This sketchbook is also slim and portable. It is easy to carry around with a thickness of only 5mm. 

Lighting

It offers an even illumination with bright light without flickering. In addition, the light is adjustable, which means you can set it to your preference. It has a touch sensor switch design to turn on or off. You can also easily control brightness just by touch. 

Protected Screen

The screen is protected by a film that you should remove before putting it into use.

Pros:

  • Slim and portable
  • Powered by USB with controllable brightness 
  • Can apply to different types of media and projects
  • A film to protect its screen
  • It is lightweight at only 1.45 pounds

Cons:

  • It can only work when connected to a power source
  • It is not chargeable 

4.  Melissa & Doug Sketch Pad (9 x 12 inches) – 50 Sheets, 2-Pack

Melissa & Doug Sketch Pad (9 x 12 inches) - 50 Sheets, 2-Pack

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The Melissa & Doug Sketch Pad 2-Pack is one of the best drawing sketch pads specially designed for artists on the go and young kids. 

Texture

Its texture and thickness make it a perfect tool for pencils, crayons, markers, and charcoal. Melissa & Doug partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help kids build crucial life talents and foster early childhood development skills. With an experience of more than 30 years, the founder has come up with stunningly designed imagination- and creative-sparkling tools that are essential for young kids.

Binding

This spiral-bound sketchpad features two 50-page full-size sketchpads that measure nine by 12 inches. The high-quality papers are fade-resistant and acid-free. 

Versatile

Credit to its texture and durability, this is one of the best papers for sketching, exceptional for charcoals, pencils, crayons, markers, and much more. 

User Guide

The sketchbook has added instructions for drawing a horse and a face to orient the kids. The ample supply of paper offers kids a convenient option for screen-free fun. 

Designs

In addition, it comes with an amazing imagination and creativity-sparkling techniques by Melissa & Doug, which have been coined “the gold standard in early childhood play” by NBC News.

Pros:

  • Lightweight at only 13.6 ounces
  • High-quality sketch-paper pads for use at school, home, or anywhere
  • Portfolio-quality paper that is slightly textured, fade-resistant, and acid-free
  • Available with instructions on how to draw a horse and a human face
  • Offer plenty of ways for kids to play

Cons:

  • It doesn’t come with perforated edges to tear pages out
  • Mishandling causes spiral binding to spit out

5.  Canson XL Series Paper Sketch Pad

Canson XL Series Paper Sketch Pad for Charcoal, Pencil and Pastel, Top Wire Bound, 50 Pound, 9 x 12 Inch, 100 Sheets

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The Canson XL Series represents a line of pads mainly designed for art students and fanatics. Art professors created these pads who assessed their performance reliability using different media. 

Sturdy

Unlike other expensive pads, these are made with superior construction and heavier weight cover materials. Their excellent quality papers in generous places give them an outstanding value. 

Binding

The XL series come with spiral bound and micro-perforated sheets to allow for clean removal and facilitate the use of the optimal dimensions as indicated on the pads’ cover. All products from the Canson XL series go through sustainable processes. 

Versatile

The amazing XL sketch pads are ideal for use with charcoal, pastel, and pencil. Each Canson XL Sketch pad comes in a pack of 100 sheets of 50 pounds. They are acid-free and measure 9 x 12 inches. 

Security

The quality of the paper is not only appealing but also the cover and spiral are sturdy enough to ensure that your artwork is safe and secure. 

Pros:

  • Available in a wide range of sizes 
  • Suitable for all types of media 
  • Lightweight at only 70 pounds
  • Excellent quality paper in generous pads plus micro-perforated sheets for easy removal
  • Great for use with pastel, charcoal, and pencil

Cons:

  • The back cover is not strong enough and may require a table or easel. 
  • Mostly, the paper is cream. 

Buying Guide

Best Sketch Pads For Drawing

Type of Paper Work

Picking the best sketch pads for drawing from the numerous options available in the market can be a daunting task, and your selection can significantly impact your work. Artists using watercolors and markers are good with sketchbooks that come with heavier and thicker paper. On the other hand, lighter paper works are ideal for dry media. 

Paper Texture

Another important feature to consider is the texture of the paper. Paper with more bite has grooves and pits to handle pigment from any media. On the other hand, smooth paper is ideal for inks and pencils. 

Binding

Binding is a critical feature to keep in mind when choosing your preferred sketchbook. The most common types of binding available include wire-bound and perfect bound. The wire or spiral-bound sketchbooks come with a wire that holds the papers together. One advantage is that you can flip over and make the sketchbook easy to maintain. Another advantage of a spiral-bound sketchbook is its ability to open flat. The only challenge is that you can’t draw across the pages. If you want a sketchbook that lies flat while working, a spiral-bound drawing pad paper is the perfect option. 

 If you pick some hard-bound sketchbooks, they cannot be easy to work with. For instance, the perfect-bound or sewn-bound sketchbooks use stitching to hold papers together. Some can open flat while others can’t.  

Another type of binding is the glue bind. It is commonly used for pads and allows you to tear off the sheets whenever necessary.

Size

The size happens to be a critical feature when it comes to choosing sketch pads. If you prefer sketching on the move, a smaller hardcover sketchbook comes is a perfect option as it can fit into a bag or a pocket and keep your work safe. 

Alternatively, you can opt for large drawing paper pads that offer you more space and freedom. A larger sketchbook is an ideal choice for full drawing at a desk to demonstrate your artistic skills.  

If you are a beginner, an A5 sketchbook is a good option as it opens up to a working area equivalent to an A4 size paper. Artists who like drawing details can go for a larger sketchbook. 

Hard Cover or Paperback

A hardcover is far better than a paperback as it offers support when drawing. In addition, a hardcover is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. You can easily draw over a hardcover compared to a paperback.

How To Make a Sketch Pad

Making a sketch pad is fairly simple, but constructing your sketchbook can indeed boost your creativity. Adding some personal touches to the sketchbook can create a lot of difference. It will be a unique piece and cut costs from spending a lot of cash on store-bought sketchbooks.

Here are the steps on how to make a sketch pad.

Step 1: Collect All Materials

Gather all the materials you need to make and design your sketchbooks. Materials include:

  • 30-40 sheets of drawing papers – size A4 or nine by 12 inches
  • Patterned paper for adorning the outside cover
  • Cardboard or thick paperboard to make the covers of the sketchbook
  • Glue 
  • Thread and needle 
  • Ruler
  • Pushpin or an awl
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrush

Step 2: Make Your Sketchbook Signatures. 

Assemble 3-4 piles of paper with 6-8 sheets of paper for every stack. Make a small booklet with several pages by folding every pile of paper lengthwise in half. Each small booklet is known as a “signature.” These signatures make up your sketchbook pages, and the binding is far much easier. 

Step 3: Mark Signatures For Binding

Put signatures on each other and line up the bottom, top, and folded edges. Using a pencil, draw 4-5 evenly spaced vertical lines across the spines of your signatures. 

Step 4: Punch Your Binding Holes 

Unfold all the signatures to ensure they lie flat, with the outer spines facing up. Use a pushpin or an awl to make holes through the lined markings on each signature spine. 

Step 5: Thread The Needle

Cut the size of the thread depending on how much binding you require. Feed the string through the eye of the hand. Tie the ends of the lines together to have a double thread. 

How To Use a Sketchpad

The extent to which you can use a sketchpad depends on your imagination. You can use it to make graphics, infographics, artworks, or drawings for fun or schoolwork. 

Everyone can use a sketchpad. Beginners can use it to test their hands, while experienced artists or teachers can perform different tasks and projects. To better understand all the sketchpad features, it is advisable to details the user guide and watch tutorial videos. 

To begin with, we recommend getting familiar with the menu and then analyzing all the features in the guide. Though this may sound quite tough at first, it will offer you the opportunity to think outside the box. This will help you come up with something special for your artwork.

Here are the steps for using a sketchpad:

1. Create Time To Draw

Always keeping a pen and paper with you offers an opportunity to turn frustrating moments into productive times to draw. With a sketchbook at hand, you can always have a chance to craft something.

2. Don’t Aim For Perfection.

Aiming for perfection will always restrict your performance, particularly when it comes to creativity. Developing a sketchbook habit will give you an opportunity to learn more and become explorative. The beauty of sketching is that you can do it in a hurry and capture many details in an instance.

3. The Pen Matters Least.

Don’t be obsessed with having the right material. Simply start drawing with whatever is at hand. Eventually, you might find the need to expand your tool kit.

4. Collect Some Junk

Once prepared, the next step is to focus on drawing. Employ commitment, sustained focus, and desire to calm your mind and deal with what is at hand.

5. Draw What You See

It’s now the right time to draw what you see but not what you think about. Focus on what you can see and avoid obstructions to come up with drawings that look more like what you can see.

FAQ:

This section will now answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding sketchbooks.

Which Sheet Is Best For Drawing?

The best sheet for drawing is determined by your intended purpose and how to use it. Other determining factors include the paper’s tone, background, styles, sizes, brands, and paper types.

Should I Draw on Both Sides of My Sketchbook?

You can draw on both sides of your sketchbook. A typical sketchbook page is designed to be used on both sides. So, it should all come to your preferences on whether to use both sides or not. If you want your sketching pad to look full, then you may consider using both sides. But if you want it to have a cleaner look, using only one side of the pages is recommended. If your sketchbook paper easily bleeds and the ink gets through to the other side when you draw on it, you might also consider using only one side of the page.

What Is a Sketch Pad Used For? 

A sketch pad or sketchbook with blank pages is used for sketching, painting, or drawing by artists or anyone with creative aptitude. Some artists use sketch pads as part of their creative processes. The weight and the tooth of the best sketch paper determine whether sketch paper is designed for a specific group of media or multipurpose. 

How Do I Change The Color of My SketchBook?

To change the color of your SketchBook, navigate to the color wheel and select a color of your choice. You can also use a color picker to grab or choose a transparent color to create a custom eraser. 

Is 120 GSM Paper Good For Drawing?

Any paper that is best for graphite drawing should be above 80 lbs. The heavier weights are better for drawing since they can take more erasure and handle the constant pressure from a pencil or marker. On the other hand, thinner papers tend to tear easily and may ruin your work.

Is Vellum Paper Good For Drawing?

Vellum paper is good for preliminary drawing, particularly if you paint or draw something on a canvas. Vellum paper will offer you an opportunity to practice first. In addition, vellum surfaces work well if you paint with colored pencils.

Conclusion

It is advisable to research before you purchase something, which also applies to sketchbooks. Each brand comes with unique features. We hope this article offers you some basic knowledge regarding the best sketch pads for drawing, their characteristics, and what you should consider when buying a sketchbook.

A sketchbook may look simple, but selecting the right one will have many advantages in terms of cost. After you purchase, it is important to use and keep it safely to preserve your creative works. All the best when shopping!

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About Tom

Tom is a blogger and artist who also loves technology. He spends his days blogging about the latest developments in the world of art, and he enjoys sharing his thoughts with readers on what it means to be an artist today. Tom has always been interested in technology - but it wasn't until he was 13 years old that he discovered how much fun making websites could be! Tom is a fun-loving, adventure seeking creative type. He enjoys reviewing art products and technology gadgets on his blog and has been doing so for over 5 years now! He spends most of his time in the studio, at the beach, or out exploring new places.

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