Looking for the Best Mixed Media Sketchbook?

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What is a Mixed Media Sketchbook?

A mixed media sketchbook is a great place to explore using all sorts of different media combinations. It is really aimed at the artist who wants to do more than just sketch using pencil. Artists use many different types of media in their sketchbooks, from wet media to dry media. They may stick in images using various glues or gel mediums for collage. I personally like to use watercolor washes with pen drawing and add some collage elements to my sketchbook pages and so I prefer working in a mixed media sketchbook.

Keeping a mixed media sketchbook is a wonderful way to keep a record of your creative process and your journey as an artist. Regularly creating art in your sketchbook keeps the creative juices flowing and helps to stimulate new ideas and ways of thinking about your art making. I love going back over my sketchbooks and being inspired to try out different combinations of media and different art ideas.

A mixed-media sketchbook is also a useful tool if you require a portfolio for college entrance, a job interview, or for your daily work (for example fashion designers record their designs and ideas, and stick down swatches of fabric, or paint watercolor patterns in their mixed media sketchbooks).

You can also use your mixed media sketchbook as an art journal in which you can explore your thoughts and dreams.

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

15 Best Mixed Media Sketchbooks:

1) Canson Mixed Media Pad

Size: 9″ x 12″

Number of pages: 60

Weight of paper: 160gsm

Binding: Wire Bound

Canson is a well known brand that has been around for a long time. Its mixed media paper is ideal for light washes and all dry mediums.

2) Strathmore Mixed Media Pad

Size: 9″x12″

Number of pages: 40

Weight of paper: 190gsm

Binding: Wire bound

The Strathmore mixed media sketchbook has micro-perforations so that you can easily remove artwork and display it. It is wire bound which means it can lay flat for easy mixed media art-making. It is perfect for watercolor, gouache, acrylic, graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil, marker, pastel, and collage mediums.

3) U.S Art Supply 9″ x 12″ Watercolor Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 9″ x 12″

Number of pages: 60

Weight of paper: 160gsm

Binding: Spiral Bound

This sketchbook has paper with a lovely fine texture for easy blending of paint and pencil. It is an ideal sketchbook for students who want to master drawing and painting techniques. The paper erases well, absorbs well, blends easily, and leaves clean lines without smudging.

The paper can be used with a variety of different mediums, including acrylic, oil, watercolor, and gouache paints, plus pencils, ink pens, markers, graphite, charcoal, pastels, and has micro-perforations for easy removal of sheets.

4) Arteza 9″ x 12″ Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 9″ x 12″

Number of pages: 120

Weight of paper: 180gsm

Binding: Spiral Bound

This Arteza Mixed Media Sketchbook is suitable for a variety of dry media as well as light washes of wet media. The paper is acid free which means it wont yellow over time. It is spiral bound which means it can lay flat when open for ease of use.

Each page is microperforated.

5) Ohuhu Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 8.9″ x 8.3″

Number of pages: 124

Weight of paper: 200gsm

Binding: Spiral Bound

This sketchbook is ideal for mixed media because it has heavyweight 200gsm paper which prevents bleeding or feathering of paint. It is microperforated and is portable in size.

6) Bachmore Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 9″ x 12″

Number of pages: 100

Weight of paper: 160gsm

Binding: Top Spiral Bound

With a strong hardbound cover and a top spiral bind, this mixed media sketchbook is durable and easy to use. It can be used with a range of dry media and also light washes of paint.

7) LYTEK Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 6″ x 9″

Number of pages: 100

Weight of paper: 190

Binding: Spiral Bound

The LYTEK Mixed Media Sketchbook has a water repellent hardcover and can protect the artwork from splashes of water or even rain. It is spiral bound which makes it easy to turn pages and it lays flat when open. The pages are perforated for easy removal of artwork. This sketchbook is perfect for sketching, drawing, and artmaking in dry media as well as and light washes in wet media.

8) ETCHR Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 5.8″ x 8.3″

Number of pages: 52

Weight of paper: 230gsm

Binding: Stitchbound

100% Cotton cold press paper gives its texture a subtle tooth which absorbs more color and keeps it vibrant. Popular for all ranges of artists from beginners to advanced. Great for both large washes, fine details and a variety of techniques.

This is a compact mixed media sketchbook which is acid-free and is perfect for a range of dry media and wet media.

9) U.S Art Supply 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″

Number of pages: 76

Weight of paper: 230gsm

Binding: Stitch bound

These are quality watercolor, drawing, and mixed media sketchbooks which can be used by professional artists and beginners.

The natural white cold-press textured surface makes them perfect for practicing watercolor techniques. They absorb water well, are excellent for blending, and leave clean lines with no bleed-through.

These sketchbooks are sturdy and durable and are ideal for using while traveling. The linen-bound hardcovers can withstand daily use, and the elastic bands keep them closed, so your artwork is protected from the elements (dirt, water, bending, and tearing)

10) Student Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 11″ x 14″

Number of pages: 100

Weight of paper: 180gsm

Binding: Wire Bound

This mixed media sketchbook is ideal for students as it is hot-pressed and has a very smooth surafec – great for accurate pencil drawing and watercolor painting. It is affordable and perfect for ink, colored pencil, marker, acrylics and pastels.

The pages have micro-perforations and the sketchbook is spiral bound so it lays flat when open.

11) Bianyo Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 8.26″ x 11.69″

Number of pages: 60

Weight of paper: 200gsm

Binding: Spiral Bound

The Bianyo Mixed Media Sketchbook is ideal for wet and dry media Like watercolor, acrylic, pastel, pencil, charcoal, and water-based markers, however, it is not recommended for alcohol-based markers.

12) Stillman & Birn Beta Series 7.5″ x 7.5″

Size: 7.5″ x 7.5″

Number of pages: 52

Weight of paper: 270gsm

Binding: Stitchbound

This is a sketchbook that is built for serious use. It stands up to advanced dry & wet media techniques. Great for working in heavier washes or overlaying washes (glazing) of watercolor or gouache.

13) Canson Mixed Media Sketchbook 7″ x 10″

Size: 7″ x 10″

Number of pages: 80

Weight of paper: 224gsm

Binding: Side wire bound

This Canson Mixed Media Sketchbook is double-sided: one side if a fine texture and the other is a medium texture.

It has excellent erasability and is strong enough to hold a variety of wet and dry mediums

14) tumuarta Square Watercolor Mixed Media Sketchbook

Size: 5.5″ x 5.5″

Number of pages: 48

Weight of paper: 300gsm

Binding: Stitch bound

This mixed media sketchbook has 300gsm heavy weight paper which is ideal for watercolors, acrylics, inks, pens, colored pencils, markers, oil pastels and more. The paper is acid free and wont yellow over time.

This mixed media sketchbook lays flat when open and also has micro-perforations so that you can easily remove artwork to frame or display outside of the sketchbook.

This sketchbook is very sturdy in its hardcover and has a handy pocket inside to collect your bits and pieces of ephemera, photos or art inspiration.

15) Arteza Watercolor Mixed Media Sketchbook 5.5″ x 5.5″

Size: 5.5″ x 5.5″

Number of pages: 132

Weight of paper: 230gsm

Binding: Linen bound

The Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook can easily be used as a travel mixed media sketchbook because it can fit easily in your purse or backpack. Its cold-press watercolor paper is 230gsm which means it won’t buckle or warp when wet.

This is a natural Linen Bound mixed media sketchbook and your artwork will stay securely in place in its hard cover.

Verdict on the best Mixed Media Sketchbooks:

What is the best sketchbook for watercolor?

tumuarta Square Watercolor Mixed Media Sketchbook

What is the best sketchbook for beginners?

Canson Mixed Media Pad

What is the best sketchbook for colored pencils?

U.S Art Supply 9″ x 12″ Watercolor Mixed Media Sketchbook

What is the best mixed media sketchbook?

Strathmore Mixed Media Pad

A mixed media collage with lots of photos cut out an stuck together. Frida Kahlos face is in the center.

What should I look for in a sketchbook?

When you are browsing the art shops for a good quality mixed media sketchbook there are a few things you need to look for when choosing.

Type of paper

Generally, when you are a mixed media artist you need to be working on paper that is durable and quite tough. The paper must withstand liquid mediums and heavy mark making.

Your best bet is to choose a sketchbook with paper that is at least 160gsm in weight.  This is a lot heavier (and thicker) than your standard printer paper and it holds water better. You can do light washes on this paper and can layer collage elements.

If you are using a lot more water-based art mediums then it would be best to choose a mixed media sketchbook with 300gsm paper.

Cold-pressed paper has a more textured surface than hot-pressed paper. As a result, cold-pressed paper is able to better hold liquid because of the bumps and ridges. It doesn’t buckle or warp as easily as hot pressed paper. Many watercolorists prefer cold-pressed paper because they find they have more control over their paint when using this paper.

That being said, hot pressed paper has a lovely refined quality to it, and if you choose to work on the smooth surface of hot-pressed paper you can easily achieve precise mark-making and seamless blending of paint. Paint tends to dry a lot faster on hot-pressed paper.

Suitable for which kind of medium?

It is important that you identify which sort of medium or mixed media you will be using in your sketchbook.

Are you a first time mixed-media artist? The perhaps don’t limit yourself and rather choose a sketchbook that will work for a variety of wet and dry mediums.

Weight of paper

If you are only working with dry media, then you can happily work on a 100gsm paper without the worry of it easily warping or tearing.

If you are using a wet medium then you need to select a mixed media sketchbook with a heavier paper.

If you intend to work with pen and light washes then a 200gsm paper will suffice, but if you want to be able to do more blending of paint, or if you are using water-based glue or gel mediums in collage then I would suggest going for at least a 300gsm paper.

Size of paper

Think about your purpose.

Do you want to have a mixed media sketchbook that is easy to carry around with you for on-the-go artwork? Or are you looking for a square format that you can easily photograph and post on social media?

I personally find that working in a mixed-media sketchbook that is less than A5 in size is too small. I feel limited by the size and get frustrated that I can’t extend my ideas.

Bigger can be better for mixed media because you have space to explore your media variations and compositions with areas that are busier and areas that are quieter.

Binding

There are various ways your sketchbook can be bound: Saddle-stitched, spiral and wire-o bound.

Mixed media sketchbooks can also be ring bound or bound in a way that makes then lay flat. This is very useful when you want to work on a two-page spread in your book.

Cover

There are various types of covers to choose from. If you are looking for a mixed-media sketchbook you can travel with, then you should choose a cover that is waterproof or at least water resistant.

The cover of your mixed media sketchbook should not be flimsy and should easily protect the pages inside.

General durability

Firstly, is the sketchbook well-bound? Does it seem durable? You certainly do not want to have had your sketchbook for a few months only to find it starts coming apart at the seams.

Layout and structure

A mixed media sketchbook can be structured to lay flat when open.

It is also useful if your mixed-media sketchbook has a pocket at the back so you can store your reference photos, inspirational pictures, ephemera or other arty pieces of paper that you may use at a later stage.

Some mixed media sketchbooks also have a ribbon to mark which page you are on. This is really a personal preference and many artists like to make their own bookmarks for their mixed media sketchbooks.

a person painting in their mixed media sketchbook

What is mixed media paper good for?

Mixed media paper needs to be able to carry the weight of a combination of mediums used on it. It should not tear easily and it should be able to absorbs a good amount of water without bulking or bending out of shape.

It is important that mixed media paper is at least 200gsm. I personally prefer to work with paper that is 300gsm because I tend to use more water-based mediums – like watercolor or gesso.

What qualifies as mixed media?

Mixed media is essentially the combination of different art mediums used in one artwork.

Media combinations that are often used in a mixed media sketchbook:

  • Pencil and Pen
  • Pencil and Watercolor
  • Watercolor and Pen
  • Collage and Watercolor
  • Acrylic Paint and Pen
  • Gesso and Pen
  • Paper, Gesso, Pen
  • Paper, Gesso, Watercolor
  • Collage, Sewing with cotton/thread
  • Charcoal Drawing over Watercolor
  • Charcoal Drawing over Collage
  • Charcoal Drawing over Gesso
  • Gel Pens, Sharpie Markers, or Brush Pens over Gesso
  • Gel Pens, Sharpie Markers of Brush Pens over Collaged Paper
  • Tea or Coffee Painting
  • Tea Drawing
  • Tea Drawing over Collaged Paper

[Related article: Painting with Tea and Coffee]

What is the difference between collage and mixed media?

Collage is essentially a technique where you work on a 2D surface by arranging materials like paper and images to create an artwork.

Mixed media is an art form where you use more than one art medium to create an artwork. It can be both 2D and 3D.

Collage art can be used as part of mixed media art.`

[Wondering How to Find Your Art Style? Read this blog post!]

Can you use charcoal on mixed media paper?

You can use charcoal on all mixed media paper. The tooth (or texture) of the paper will affect the finish of your charcoal artwork. If you are working on a rough textured paper you charcoal drawing will have a sketchier feel to it. If the mixed media paper you are working on is smoother then your finish will be crisper.

Bear in mind that if you use charcoal in any form, as well as pencil or pastel, you should always spray fixative over the finished artwork. This will prevent the drawing or artwork from getting smudged and damaged over time. Fixative holds the medium to the paper.

Can you use mixed media paper for acrylic paint?

Yes, you can use mixed media paper for acrylic paint provided you haven’t added too much water to your acrylic paint. Make sure to also be working on at least 300gsm cold-pressed mixed media paper.

How do you get better at drawing?

There are various ways you can get better at drawing. The first step is to keep practicing. You can read my article on Improving Your Drawing for more in-depth tips!

Best media to use on mixed media sketchbooks?

Well, this really comes down to personal preference. There are just so many different kinds of media combinations out there. It really depends on what sort of artwork you enjoy making and what your personal style is. My advice is to really spend time testing out and playing with different combinations of mediums. Play is an essential tool in guiding us towards our true calling as artists and helps us define what our style is.

[Related Post: How to Draw Luscious Lilies: Step-by-Step!]

Conclusion

Choosing the best mixed media sketchbook for your art-making shouldn’t be tough! I hope this post has given you some guidance on what to look out for when buying a sketchbook:)

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