I absolutely love my sketchbooks. I am rubbish at keep journals or diary's so my sketchbook is the perfect reminder of where I was at any given time...plus doodling is the best. The perfect sketch book inspires me to be better and to draw more. All of my reasons for loving my book means that if I sacrifice the things I want from a new book, I end up hating it and using it as a notepad to write my Chinese take away order on. If I'm going to dedicate a year (or half a year when I'm being productive) then I want it to be the perfect book.
So here is my personal and insane criteria for buying the perfect sketchbook:
.No spiral bound books:
I realise I must be alone in this one since every sketch book in every store is spiral bound, but it's one of the most important factors for me. I HATE spiral bound sketch books. The pages rip out easily, the spiral has a tendency to get squashed or break, the pages fall off....it is my general nightmare. I have tried and tried to get on board with this element of sketchbook design since it seems to be near impossible for a company to not stick a swirly piece of metal on their books, but alas I can't. Just say no to the spiral guys.
|See through pages...don't make me laugh|
This is the second most important factor. Sometimes I'll see a really pretty book, I'll see that the pages are thin or worst - see through - and I think to myself 'I'm sure it will be fine'....WRONG. Those pages need to be thick enough that I can build a fort if need be...or you know, something more reasonable like be able to watercolor paint on them if I want to. They need to be flat , not dimpled and if they are 'off white' then it's a plus. The joy of the perfect paper in a sketch book is oddly satisfying. The touch of it, the smell, the smoothness of it. I just love a blank sketch book. I want a book that makes me want to draw. That perfect blank page will actually make you want to deface it.
|When I fall in love with a new cover|
This one isn't essential, but if I'm going to be carrying a sketch book around every day it would be nice if it was pretty to look at. I've tried customising them myself but I like to hide my work on the inside. I'm never happy when I create the outside design. I found the perfect mythical sketchbook once , about 10 years ago. It had the prettiest pattern on it. It was so good I bought three. Then two and a half years later I'd used them all up. Since then all others pale in comparison...you can't forget your first love after all. Now I'm content if it's just a nice colour.
.A5: This is the last essential item on the list. It needs to fit in my handbag, hand luggage and in front of me while still giving me enough space to place my coffee cup (and optional cake). I can do a 'page full' drawing with detail or lots of little sketches. Plus in an emergency I can paint or draw across two pages for an A4 experience. People say that size doesn't matter. They obviously have never owned a sketch book. A5 is the perfect size.
|They trick me into thinking their perfect...but nope!|
.Elastic to keep it together:
Now we get into the 'wouldn't it be nice if...' list. These are those things you add onto a list that aren't essential but would be great. Kind of like wishing the man you end up with loves cooking you eggs Benedict, has a high speed internet connection and an addiction to Netflix. A girl can dream.
An elastic attached to the book to keep it together is easy, a nice touch and makes it seem more professional when you grab it in a coffee shop because you just have to draw that funny dog that just passed the window. Keep it together man!
Another non-essential, but in my magical make believe land where every drawing would make Glen Keane audibly say 'wozah' and unicorns prance around me, my sketch book also has a hardback cover. Is it essential ? No . Does it make drawing easier? YES. Are most of the great sketchbooks donned by a hardback cover..of course. I like to go between a hard back and a semi hard one...no jokes please, we are all adult here.
|Take my money..no wait I changed my mind|
.Doesn't cost a cabillion pound : This unfortunately has to be the last factor because I have been known to spend a disgusting amount on sketchbooks in the past. I've spent the kind of amount where you lie if someone asks you how much it costs, or change the subject very quickly. The sad truth is that normally when you spend money the sketch book will be lots and lots better , but I begrudge paying such crazy amount for blank paper...especially since if the kind of sketch book I love happens to be in fashion then it will be everywhere for a fraction of the price. On these occasions it is perfectly reasonable to buy up a whole shops stock. When my baby sister was little she had a doll that she wouldn't let go of. My mum needed a way to pry the doll out of my sister hands because it was starting to smell so she went and bought 3 decoy dolls to distract my sister. What does this have to do with sketchbooks? Not much but it does prove that you can never have too much of a good thing. And that my mum was an evil genius.
I know that everyone reading this list will just be shouting ...'JUST BUY A MOLESKIN'..which is a valued point but they are so stupidly expensive for what they are and (as crazy as it sounds) the fact everyone has them kind of makes them feel a little soulless. Then again this may just be my bitter poor inner voice.
So the search for the perfect sketchbook continues. I may have made a break through on the case with my recent search. The shop had the perfect book but only in poo-shade so I ordered a prettier colour online. Will it be the one ? Who knows but a girl just has to keep searching.
Now I just need to find the perfect pencil........