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Ask DN: Designers, what is your sketch book of choice?

over 6 years ago from , Designer & Dev

For those of you who still love the feel of a pencil/pen and a paper to sketch out your ideas, what is your choice for a sketch book/pad?

I'm looking for something that is easy on the budget, something that's bigger than pocket-sized and allows me to remove pages(perforation/spring binding), which doesn't deteriorate its binding. Suggestions? Thanks!

39 comments

  • Nick MorrisonNick Morrison, 6 years ago

    I just bought this Sketchbook this past week and am loving it: Baron Fig

    Baron Fig

    Only $16 dollars and free shipping in the US. Although it might not have all perforated pages the last 12 pages are perforated. The best feature for me is its ability to open entirely flat and stay open without having to bear down on it. You get to utilize the entire page and it encourages you to use both sides of the page (which I sometimes forgot or found it too uncomfortable in my old Moleskine.)

    You can also purchase it with Bitcoin and save $1!

    9 points
    • Kody DahlKody Dahl, 6 years ago

      Agreed on the Baron Fig. Also, if you have any feature suggestions (like a version with more perforated pages, for instance), they're really proud of their community-driven design and tend to ask for suggestions.

      Plus the cover feels nice. It's the little things.

      2 points
      • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

        Definitely going to look into Baron Fig. Yup, the delightful details matter...

        0 points
    • Conlin "Wuz" DurbinConlin "Wuz" Durbin, 6 years ago

      I love my Baron Fig!

      0 points
    • Mike ChambersMike Chambers, 6 years ago

      Yeah, this is a really good notebook, and I cant stress enough how useful it is that it lies flat when open (this is the reason I bought it).

      The paper is pretty good quality (I prefer Rhodia's paper), and holds ink well. I mostly use a gel pen with mine, but it also works well with a fountain pen.

      The main complaint I have seen about it online is that the ribbon frays really easily (you can see it start in your image), but I just figure that that gives it character.

      mike

      1 point
    • Paul @StammyPaul @Stammy, 6 years ago

      Another +1 for BF. Love mine!

      0 points
    • Becca Li, 6 years ago

      Also LOVE my baron fig. I took it everywhere for my travels. One thing I had suggested to them was to perhaps add an elastic band or an envelope at the end like the dot grid notebooks

      1 point
    • Moaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      This looks like a sweet product. Thanks for the suggestion folks! Definitely going to see if I can get my hands on one and test it out.

      0 points
  • Cole TownsendCole Townsend, 6 years ago

    I usually just keep a stockpile of blank printer paper on hand. I love moleskine but it feels silly to use them for sketching — they're tiny.

    6 points
    • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      Yeah I used to do that. Then started to use a pad with easily tearable pages. I find that it becomes disorganized very fast in case of loose papers....

      2 points
      • Sam Pierce LollaSam Pierce Lolla, 6 years ago

        I used a LEUCHTTURM1917 spring-back binder to keep loose pages organized and I loved it (until I broke it).

        They're really hard to find now though. I'll probably get one of these to replace it... but if anyone knows how I can get a LEUCHTTURM1917 version, please let me know :)

        1 point
        • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

          Yeah, came across a spring-back binder to compile those pages recently. Wasn't too sure if it'd be robust enough. Thanks for the suggestion though!

          0 points
  • Chris GriffithChris Griffith, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    The Dot Grid Book by Behance is pretty killer and is decently priced at $16. I always have a cheaper "no-grid" sketchbook too for the "napkin sketches."

    4 points
    • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      This looks pretty awesome...

      0 points
    • Ren WalkerRen Walker, 6 years ago

      It is! I've been using these for 3+ years (9 books full and counting). The light gray dots are perfect, light enough to not interfere with illustrations, but helpful when you want to wireframe/sketch. I also love the texture of the cover.

      0 points
    • Elliot JacksonElliot Jackson, 6 years ago

      Yeah, the Behance books are great. I use the Dot Grid Journal.

      0 points
  • Caleb SylvestCaleb Sylvest, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    A variety of Moleskine, but I also make my own.

    Awesome Book

    4 points
  • Ross Chinni, 6 years ago

    Rhodia DotPad is great: well priced and holds up over time. The light dots are great for UI design as well

    http://www.jetpens.com/Rhodia-DotPad-Notepad-Black-5.75-X-8.25-80-Sheets-5-mm-Dot-Grid/pd/6552

    3 points
    • Moaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      I've looked at Rhodia before and have been really tempted to try it out. Might do that now...thanks for the suggestion! Yeah, dot grids are super sweet for UI design.

      0 points
  • Harpal SinghHarpal Singh, 6 years ago

    I primarily use white printing paper (A3 & A4) to be able to throw what's not needed, stick it on the wall for team discussions and refer later.

    That said, I do have a sketch pad I always carry along for ideas that hit me in the wild. http://www.ryman.co.uk/ryman-soft-cover-sketch-book-a4-110gsm-80-sheets-160-pages

    On my fourth one now. Works with thick / thin pen, retains ink on both sides of paper without ruining, easy to carry and paper feels great. I use coloured index tabs to organise it.

    They do have a perforated version but I haven't used that one. Thanks.

    2 points
    • Dave LuetgerDave Luetger, 6 years ago

      Yeah I find loose paper makes it easier to throw stuff away. It's harder to me to put pen to paper in a sketchbook because I feel like what I sketch has to be more "perfect."

      0 points
    • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      Agreed, A3/A4 works well for sticking up on the wall which is kind of why I wanted a pad that would allow me to tear off pages.

      The Ryman looks neat for the price. Thanks a bunch for the suggestion!

      0 points
  • Ben GoldBen Gold, 6 years ago

    http://dotgrid.co This is the best I've ever used but it's too expensive if you live outside of the UK due to shipping.

    The Behance Dot Grid Book is pretty awesome, but kind of large and the paper is soft so some pens (fountain pens) bleed.

    Currently I'm using two notebooks from Muji: a Dot Grid and a plain notebook.

    1 point
    • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      Dotgrid and Behance's Dot Grid Book look pretty sweet. Usually use a pencil or a liner, so probably won't have a lot of problems with bleeding.

      Muji's looks pretty awesome for the price. Thanks for the suggestion!

      0 points
    • Josh ClementJosh Clement, 6 years ago

      For Muji I'd recommend A5, 72pages. Great for quick notes, not for sketching.

      0 points
  • Adam T.Adam T., 6 years ago

    Rhodia Dot Grids. Big boys for at work, little bound notebook for on the go and at home.

    1 point
  • Chris GillisChris Gillis, 6 years ago

    A big pile of Staples paper, cheapest I can get it for.

    1 point
    • Moaaz Sidat, 6 years ago

      Yeah, the freedom offered by the large stock of cheap blank papers is quite comforting...though loose papers get a bit too disorganizing ...

      1 point
  • Andrew Westling, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    They aren't cheap, but the Whitelines Hard Wire A4 Squared notebook is my favorite notebook ever. It has rigid cover and a LAMY Safari pen fits perfectly in the coil.

    Whitelines Hard Wire A4 Squared

    0 points
  • Matas GreceviciusMatas Grecevicius, 6 years ago

    I love Canson sketchbooks (usually carry both a4 and a5 sizes in my backpack) http://www.artsupplies.co.uk/item-canson-xl-sprial-sketch-pads.htm

    0 points
  • Nick Inzucchi, 6 years ago

    I use a BF for day-to-day notes but keep a Tufte 11 x 17 grid pad at the ready for large-scale wireframing. Extra thick, high-quality paper and the scale lets you explore a long thread of ideas within a single frame.

    0 points
  • Ryan WebsterRyan Webster, 6 years ago

    Patiently waiting on delivery of my https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/timtwo/sketchynotebook

    0 points
  • Brian A.Brian A., 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Large Moleskine with blank pages. I've tried out types/brands/sizes and this one feels the best.

    0 points
  • Stephan AngoStephan Ango, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I have a thing for panorama format notebooks. I've been using this 5x12" Copic notebook for the past four years. It's a very simple spiral-bound notebook. I like that it lays flat and the paper is a thick stock that is feels sturdier and more opaque than most.

    21 notebooks

    0 points
  • Nicole DominguezNicole Dominguez, 6 years ago

    Muji notebooks (http://www.muji.us/store/stationery/notebooks/recycled-paper-note-double-ring-b5-plain-80.html), or whatever piece of paper is closest at the moment.

    (although while on the Muji site, I found this: http://www.muji.us/store/stationery/notebooks/recycled-paper-magazine-notebook-mini.html -- Which COULD be fantastic for quick wireframes...)

    0 points
  • Beth DeanBeth Dean, 6 years ago

    If my sketch book is too nice, I get precious about drawing in it. I carry around a gridded plain brown kraft paper cover medium size Moleskine Cahier for day to day notes, etc. I carry around the small grid or blank version for sketching ideas. It forces me to stick to thumbnail size so I don't get too overwhelmed planning a composition or idea. If I actually want to draw, Moleskine's watercolor notebooks are pretty great, heavy paper vs. the garbage paper in the actual sketchbooks. Holds marker well.

    0 points
  • Julie RobertsJulie Roberts, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Strathmore premium recycled 9x12

    It's a classic! Love the texture and weight, plus I can slip in letter sized paper if for some reason I was doodling or tracing on loose leaf.

    0 points
  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 6 years ago

    Moleskine Cahier Journal, pocket size, graph paper.

    0 points