The 10 Best Sketch Pads

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Inspiration can strike at any time, and whether you’re an established artist or a Monet in the making, you’ll want to capture your ideas on the fly with one of the sketch pads on this list. We’ve included both lightweight and heavy-duty selections that can accommodate mixed media and will enable creatives of any age to refine their technique or draft the next Mona Lisa. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Crescent Rendr

2. Canson XL

3. Moleskine A4 Watercolor

Editor's Notes

May 05, 2020:

Even though we like its ample size, we've opted to remove the Art Alternatives Very Big at this time. Its binding is not as strong as that found on many other high-quality choices, which can make it a frustrating choice over the long term. But when it comes to such ongoing durability, the Crescent Rendr still comes out on top. Its hard covers help it hold up to travel and being slipped in and out of your bag, while the 110lb paper is acid and lignin free for your peace of mind. It's not the most budget-friendly choice, but professionals should find it more than suitable. The same could be said of the Canson XL, a perforated choice that comes in a range of sizes. We've also kept the Canson Universal, which is only for dry media; if you're itching to use your watercolor paint set, consider the Moleskine A4 Watercolor, instead. It has all the fine touches that make Moleskine notebooks such a popular choice, including an accordion-style pocket, bookmark, and elastic closure. And because it comes in several sizes, including a diminutive pocket version, it can go anywhere you do.

For those who are on a budget, we've added the Strathmore 400 Series. This is an excellent choice for students, but do note that its soft cover cannot take a lot of abuse. There's also the Bellofy Pro and the Artist's Choice. They aren't made to the exacting quality standards of some other choices, but for the cost, they represent a fine value for casual artists.

Special Honors

Smythson Portobello With its luxurious crossgrain lambskin, the Smythson Portobello is a chic, if pricey, alternative to plain soft-cover models. It can be personalized with the recipient's initials, and it arrives with a Smythson HB pencil for added convenience.

Absolutely EVO Personalized Leather If you're looking for a gift for the artist in your life, the Absolutely EVO Personalized Leather is sure to be an appreciated choice. There are many leather and binding thread colors to select from, including teal, chocolate, and cognac, along with plenty of available sizes, allowing you to create a gift that will turn heads.

Montblanc Fine Stationery Sketch Book The Montblanc Fine Stationery Sketch Book comes in both blank and lined versions, but no matter which you choose, you can expect a sleek Saffiano leather cover and a handsome ribbon page marker. You'll find a rainbow of color choices to choose from, some inspired by famous pigments that have influenced art throughout the ages.

4. Strathmore 400 Series

5. Pentalic Traditional

6. Strathmore Toned Tan

7. Hand Book Journal Co. Travelogue

8. Canson Universal

9. Artist's Choice

10. Bellofy Pro

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.