Best Sketchbooks For Colored Pencils

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Unlike watercolor medium, there is not a specific brand nor specific sketchbook lines made just for colored pencil. 

Most of mixed media sketchbooks would be ideal for use with colored pencil. The one thing to consider is: the paper thickness. Ideally, the paper is thick enough that lines don't press through the paper to the sheet below. The paper's thickness becomes more important as the sketchbook need to withstand the constant erasing and shading. 

In this article, we reviewed 6 best sketchbooks for colored pencils, we hope you will find this article helpful for finding the right sketchbook for you.

How to choose paper for colored pencil

6 Best Sketchbooks for Colored Pencils

1. U-Create Sketch Book

Review

This spiral-bound U-Create Sketch Book has a generous size at 9 x 12 inches, ample space for large compositions, landscapes, and life drawing.

It has 75 sheets of 75 pound acid-free, lignin-free white paper. The spiral binding lays flat for easy drawing, and perforated sheets make it easy to remove sheets without damaging the binding. 

It's a great sketchbook for inks and pencils, and is portable despite its size. It's a basic, affordable sketchbook with great paper for colored pencils.

What's to like about the U-Create Sketch Book?

The fairly heavy, acid-free, bright white paper on this sketchbook takes color well and is a great choice for inks, pens, pencils and markers of all kinds. 

Because the paper is quite thick, you can draw on both sides of the sheets however just a word of warning, this sketchbook will not work with wet media.

For a large, affordable sketchbook that travels easily and has perforated sheets, it's a great choice.

What's not to like about the U-Create Sketch Book?

This sketchbook isn't very rugged or durable. The spiral binding may loosen or bend under more rugged use.

It would be nice if it had a hard back cover, so that it could be used as a drawing surface instead of needing to be placed on a hard surface in use.

Pros

  • Large, white, smooth drawing surface on each page
  • Perforated sheets
  • Spiral binding lays flat
  • Paper is acid and lignin free
  • Heavy weight paper
  • Can be drawn on both sides of the sheet

Cons

  • Spiral binding may loosen over time
  • Doesn't have a hard back cover

2. Pentalic Sketch Book

The hardbound sketchbook from Pentalic has bright white paper and is designed for all dry media. The paper is sustainably sourced and acid free, so this hardbound book is a great way to preserve and care for your artwork.

Review

The Pentalic Sketch Book is a generous 8.5 x 11 inches, large enough for a variety of drawing styles, but compact enough easily to take with you. The hard cover protects the book while you carry it around, is sturdy enough to act as a drawing surface to sketch no matter where you are, and protects your work when it's done, so you can easily keep a sketch or art journal.

The spine lays flat during use, so you can make two-page drawings, but also stands upright on a bookshelf. The 110 sheets are bright white, 70 pound/114 gsm acid-free pages, perfect for dry media.

What's to like about the Pentalic Sketch Book?

These smooth bright white sheets are perfect for colored pencils, taking color well, erasing cleanly, and with minimal press-through impressions to the other side of the page (depending on your drawing style). It's a durable book, sturdy enough to draw in using the cover for support, and the leatherette cover looks nice when the book is stored on a shelf.

The sturdy binding also helps to prevent pages from moving/slipping, which reduces smearing. The fact that the paper is sourced from sustainable forests is a wonderful bonus, and the sketchbook is very affordable for the size and quality.

What's not to like about the Pentalic Sketch Book?

The pages do warp with wet media, and will bleed with alcohol-based markers, but Pentalic is clear that the book isn't designed for that.

Pros

  • Sustainably sourced paper
  • Sturdy, high quality cover
  • Binding lays flat, stands upright, and reduces slipping
  • Bright white-acid free sheets perfect for colored pencil

Cons

  • Not suitable for wet media

3. Premium Sketch Books by LYTek

This pack of two Premium Sketch Books by LYTek gives a total of 160 sheets has a rugged, durable cover and sturdy wire binding, so the books can be flipped all the way over and used as a drawing surface. It's great for drawing, doodling, and sketching no matter where you are.

Review

The Premium Sketch Books by LYTek have a sturdy chipboard hardcover that is water resistant for extra protection. The twin wire binding is durable, and lays completely flat when opened, or can be flipped over and inverted to use as a drawing surface. Each sketchbook has 80 sheets of 63 pound/95 gsm acid free paper to preserve your work, and the sheets are micro-perforated for easy removal. The large 9 x 12 inch drawing surface is useful for a wide range of drawing and sketching styles.

What's to like about the Premium Sketch Books by LYTek?

The smooth white pages of these sketchbooks are great for colored pencils and all dry media. The paper is durable enough to withstand erasing or layering, and the cover is sturdy enough to provide support when drawing. Getting two sketchbooks in one shipment is a great value and saves time. It's a good heavy-duty casual sketchbook.

What's not to like about the Premium Sketch Books by LYTek?

This paper is thinner than some other sketchbooks, and aggressive drawing or shading may cause impressions to press through to the other side of the sheet or to sheets below, depending on your drawing style.

Pros

  • Cover is hard and sturdy
  • Cover is water resistant
  • Spiral binding lays flat
  • Sheets are smooth and white
  • Micro-perforation makes it easy to cleanly remove sheets
  • Good size sketchbooks with two in a package for lots of drawings

Cons

  • Thinner paper than other sketchbooks

4. Canson 100510419 Artist Series Sketch Book Paper Pad

This high-quality sketchbook has a hard cover with a sturdy binding that allows the book to lay completely flat when open. Its pages has a smooth and fine texture, definitely made for pencil and charcoal use in mind,

Review

The Canson Sketch Book Paper Pad has a generous size of 11 x 14 inch dimension. The lay-flat binding combined with the large page size, allows artists to easily make two-page compositions for larger art works. 

The leatherette cover is sturdy and attractive, working with the acid-free paper to protect and preserve the artwork. Each book has 90 sheets of acid-free 65 pound/96 gsm paper.

The paper is especially intended for pencils, with a fine texture that has just the right amount of tooth, and a surface that is easily erasable and smudge resistant.

What's to like about the Canson 100510419 Artist Series Sketch Book Paper Pad?

This is a big sketchbook, hence it won't be our first choice for travel or sketch commute, However the hard cover and sturdy spine does provide some durability and protection for sketching on the go. 

The large sheets of white paper have the perfect texture for pencils and take color well while resisting smudging. It also stands up to a lot of erasing. The smudge-resistant paper is also useful for charcoal, and thick enough for inking.

What's not to like about the Canson 100510419 Artist Series Sketch Book Paper Pad?

The large version of this sketchbook that we reviewed is not too convenient for travel or commute sketch, however this sketchbook does come in smaller sizes such as 4 x 6 inch, 5.5 x 8.5 inch and 8.5 x 11 inch that are more suitable for that purpose.

Some might argue that the price is a bit expensive, but we think the quality justifies the higher price.

Pros

  • High-quality hard cover
  • Sturdy, lay-flat binding for ease of use and two-page compositions
  • Acid-free bright white sheets of paper
  • Paper designed for pencils, with a slight texture and smudge-resistant surface

Cons

  • Too big for be taken around
  • A bit pricey

5. Bellofy 100-Sheet Sketchpad

The Bellofy 100-Sheet Sketchpad has thick, strong paper designed to be versatile for all types of media. The flip-top spiral is friendly for right- and left-handed artists, and this single sketchbook allows experimentation with charcoal, watercolor, inks, and even acrylics.

Review

The Bellofy 100-Sheet Sketchpad is a multi-purpose 9 x 12 inch art pad. The sturdy spiral binding is designed to open at the top, making it friendly for left-handed artists as well as right-handed ones. The 98 pound/160 gsm paper is thick, strong, and smooth. The paper absorbs and reflects lines and colors more easily and reduces blotching and smudging.

It can withstand erasing, reduce bleed-through from markers, and even be used with wet media like watercolor pencils and acrylic and oil paints. The pages are perforated for easy removal, made from recycled paper, and are acid free. It even comes with a satisfaction guarantee, and there is a discount available when purchasing multiple Bellofy sketchbooks at once.

What's to like about the Bellofy 100-Sheet Sketchpad?

Placing the spiral binding at the top of the notebook is a great way to make it friendly for left-handed people. It's also useful for any artist, because it keeps the binding away from your work and gives you free range of movement. The thick paper is suited to a wide variety of media, art styles, and gives room for growth and experimentation. The fact that it's guaranteed, recycled, and has a discount for multiple purchases makes it easy to choose this high-quality sketchbook for almost any artist or art style.

What's not to like about the Bellofy 100-Sheet Sketchpad?

The perforation makes the sheets slightly smaller than 9 x 12, trimming off a little more than half an inch. While it's minor, it does mean that sheets torn at the perforation are now not a size that easily fits into standard frames and need to be specially matted.

Pros

  • Multi-purpose paper
  • Sturdy binding
  • Spiral at the top for left-handed or right-handed use

Cons

  • Pages aren't true to size when removed from the pad

6. Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil Pad

Very few sketchbooks are created specifically for colored pencil use, Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil Pad is one of them. Having said that, this sketchbook is excellent for graphite, charcoal and sketching sticks.

The paper is clean white with a toothy surface (vellum finish), which gives a nice texture to your colored pencil drawing. The back side of the paper has less tooth giving artist options to experiment with different drawing techniques.

What's to like about the Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil Pad? 

The paper has an adequate weight at 163 g/m2. It is quite thick and durable, it will stand multiple erasures.

The paper is perforated and easy to tear. What we like about this sketchbook is, the size of the paper after tearing is actually 9 x 12 inch (unlike some other sketchbooks that include the perforated and wire bound in their size description, like Bellofy sketchbook above), this means more surface area for your drawing.

What's not to like about the Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil Pad?

When used for blending and layering, we found that paper is a bit too soft. Tearing the paper and put it against a hard surface solves this issue.

Using a solvent with this paper is also out of question.

Pros

  • Heavy weight and durable paper
  • Micro-perforated, easy to tear
  • Actual size when removed
  • Acid free

Cons

  • Too soft for blending and layering work
  • Warping problem when used with solvents

Final Verdict 

Now that you have a clearer picture of some of the best sketchbooks for colored pencils, it’s time to decide which is the best option for you.

Any of these sketchbooks are great but if we have to choose one, then you cannot go wrong with Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil Pad, for the price and the quality - it is highly recommended.

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