Sketchbook Reviews

In this video I show you some of the sketchbooks I have used and the pros and cons of each.

If you find it difficult to procure art supplies in your local area, consider online shops:

Check out  Senior Art Supplies and The Art Shop for affordable Australia-wide shipping of larger quantities.  Ken Bromley Art Supplies  and Jackson’s Art Supplies based in the UK ship worldwide. Dick Blick and Amazon ship worldwide for most art supplies.

Quill Visual Diary – various sizes in ring binding are easily found in newsagencies in Australia. The hardbound and thicker paper version can be found at Office Works

Moleskine – Watercolour Notebook, various sizes.  The one I show is the pocket sized one from Book Depository (free world-wide shipping).  Also found locally in Western Australia at  Jackson’s Drawing Supplies.  See Liz Steel and her website fore even more reviews on sketchbooks.  She uses a lot of the Moleskines as does the queen of colour mixing – Jane Blundell (check out her free tutorials and resources- they are very comprehensive)

Watercolour paper – in sheets and pads from local art supply stores.  I show you the Saunders and Waterford.  I’ve also used Fabriano Artistico and Arches.  The lighter weight papers (90lb) tear easier.

Stillman and Birn – various sizes, bindings, paper weights and finishes.  Available from The Art Shop , Australia (flat-rate shipping). Easily found at Dick Blick  in the USA.

Strathmore Visual Journal –  Jackson’s Drawing Supplies, Australia and Dick Blick

Global Hand Book – Dick Blick or Amazon

Nature Sketch – Amazon

Other excellent choices that I didn’t show in the video are:

Copy paper – the type made for ink jet printers.  They are just fabulous for a low cost, practise paper, especially for fountain pen and dip pen practise.

Draw and Wash pads by Art Spectrum – a heavy weight paper that is beautiful.  Found at local art shops in Australia.

A very affordable sketchbook, I stumbled upon at Booktopia, is ring bound with micro perforations. Flat-rate shipping in Australia. The small size is about A5 size.

Unique papers I’ve seen people sketch on include paper cups, receipts, envelopes, retired novels and other books directly over the print, ledger pads, and don’t forget digital sketching using drawing apps.


You Can Draw Too!

With my favourite resources


Courtesy of Zalira Dalton Photography

When I look at this charcoal drawing of my son, I’m floored.  Two years ago, I couldn’t imagine drawing anything like this.  Two years ago, I was a frustrated crafter-wanna-be-fine-artist.  I could do basic technical drawing, cut and paste, sew a bit, construct 3D things, splash acrylic paint in the semblance of an abstract graphic, or repaint the one oil painting I learned as a child – and that was it.  I felt I had hit an artistic ceiling.  I couldn’t draw anything from my imagination, and I couldn’t draw anything from a picture or real life.  In fact, I felt like I just couldn’t SEE what I was trying to draw.

And then I saw a sketchbook on Kickstarter that looked amazing (which by the way, never was received). That and an upcoming trip back to the USA gave me the impetus to learn as much as I could because I wanted to journal in pictures on our trip.  This lead me to borrowing every drawing, sketching, painting book and magazine from my local library, and after that, I bought too many e-books and physical books to count.  I scoured the internet for lessons, blogs, and forums soaking up everything I could.  I got to a point where I was able to find styles that resonated with me and slowly honed in on specific lessons, not trying to learn everything  that was available.
When people see me sketching on location, I inevitably have someone sigh, “I wish I could do that”.  To their surprise, I share that I couldn’t draw two years ago, but I have found some amazing resources that helped me more than others and I will share them here.