Questions about sketchbooks

  • I'm really curious to know what people do in their sketchbooks: do you draw on both sides of the paper?
    Lines appear slightly at the back (I'm quite a heavy sketcher as well...) and it annoys me so much to draw on that page, but at the same time it annoys me to waste space
    I love my sketchbook though, the paper is nicely textured and I don't really feel like changing it (Derwent Big Book). Or else, it should be the same type of paper but thicker (mine is 110gsm)
    Do the lines show at the back in yours? Do you just ignore them?
    Which sketchbook do you use? What kind of paper is it? (smooth, rough?)

    Also, what sketchbook with coloured paper would you advise? brown, tan, cream?

  • SVS OG

    I draw on both sides of the paper; mine is a spiral ring-bound Derwent Sketch n Store, 165gsm. I don't have particular issues with the lines showing...if I look closely I can see a little bit from the other side but not enough to bother me...but then I don't do anything very special in my sketchbook right now - it's usually messy pencil sketching, thumbnails, all really rough stuff that I then scan in and refine later, as the final piece will either be on watercolour paper or digitally...

    I like the texture and quality of the paper though (fairly smooth with a little texture), perhaps the 165gsm weight makes a difference.

  • It depends on the sketchbook... if the paper is thin (Moleskine Cahier) I tend to draw on one side because the paper is thin and the artwork often shows through. For a thick weight I use both pages.
    For a colored sketchbook I tried out the 5.5 x 8.5" Strathmore Toned Tan and it is a good size, portable and fun to sketch with.
    Happy Sketching!

  • SVS OG

    If you are using pencil or some similar dry media and do on both sides, there is a potential for images to rub against one another when the book is closed, thus causing smudging & such. Also, it might make scans and/or photos of the page show a hint of the sketch on the underside (if done dark enough and the paper isn't thick enough).

    Though I tend to just use "white" paper since my sketches are more for "play", I have loved the sketching work of Kevin Keele, who does on browns & grays. On one of his Instagram posts, he said, "The process I take when sketching an image: I start by doing a rough, light drawing with a ball point pen ( zebra f-301s are my favorites). Then I fill in the shadows with a 50% grey Prismacolor marker. Next I go back to the ball point, fill in all the dark details. Last, I use a white gellyroll pen to add the highlights."

    A couple of links on Keele:

    Oh also, @Jake-Parker has a list of his tools on his site:

  • SVS OG

    I find myself only ever using one side....not really sure why just don't like drawing on both.

  • Pro SVS OG

    My sketchbooks are the messiest, scruffiest, least curated thing you can imagine. They are a jumble of observational sketches, anatomy studies, thumbnails for illustrations, notes, quotes, to-do lists, unrelated ideas and doodles of all types, drawings by my kids (when I let them), watercolour sketches (which make the paper all wavy), scraps of paper taped or glued in everywhere (I draw on whatever I have handy at any time). I do not care even about drawings overlapping each other on the page, let alone about the front or back of pages! I may tone an older drawing with markers and have the markers seep through all the following drawings.
    Sometimes there is even a nice clean page with finished drawings 😉
    When I stopped being precious about my sketchbooks a few years back, they really started to work for me and become major sources of ideas, experimentation and inspirations - and I started to use them heavily and profit from them, which was not the case before.

  • I only use one side of the paper in sketchbooks. I think it is because as a akid I was only given recycled paper from my Dad's office and I resented my artwork not being important enough to qualify for new paper. Another reason is though that I tend to be heavy handed sometimes and I don't like linr imprints showing through.

Log in to reply