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234 of 240 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2013
I hate buying paper online for my drawings. I like to be able to hold it and feel the paper; examine it like a monkey examines a banana; see its color. These are all vital things to determine if it’s the paper for you. BUT. I put my name on Canson paper—it’s fantastic paper.


I don’t know about paper for pastels, charcoal (it’s not my best medium), watercolor, etc., but I do know about graphite or colored pencils for portrait drawing. So, this review is greatly geared towards paper for the purpose of drawing in pencil.


Notice how the pad reads something like 65lbs or 100lbs—something like that? Obviously, the drawing pad isn’t going to weigh 65 pounds. This refers to the stock. 60lbs is what I consider Sketch paper, and it’s usually the pound of paper you’ll get for a book called a Sketch book. But I draw traditional realistic portraits, and 60lb doesn’t hold up against all of the wear-and-tear the paper will undergo for my 12 hours of drawing on it. My minimum requirement for “finished” pieces is 80lb. 80lb is great. It’s not too thick, but not thin enough that it’s going to crinkle from a misplace stroke. 100lb is also very nice paper, and I’d suggest that as well.
If you are buying paper that is meant to be PRACTICE PAPER, you don’t need to get thick paper. If copying paper is fine for your purposes, I’d suggest about 60lb paper. For more finished pieces, get 80lb. With thicker paper, however, you tend to get less per pad (about 24 sheets compared to 100 sheets for something like 60lb), but SPEND THE MONEY if you want quality paper that is going to still be presentable at the completion of the artwork.


As briefly mentioned above, Sketch paper is traditionally thin-stock paper. Drawing paper is more “fancy,” so it’s usually thicker and sturdier. Sketch paper is for practice, and Drawing is for the real-deal stuff, in my opinion. Sketch paper is cheaper per sheet than drawing paper (usually), but it comes down to quality. For starting artists, I suggest one of each pad (both drawing and sketch) of about 12 inches tall, that way they have enough room to explore their talents in the Sketch pad, and then exhibit them on a grander platform in the Drawing pad. For the Drawing paper, 80lbs at minimum! That’s the lowest paper I ever use for my portraits. For the Sketch paper… well. That’s up to you. I use 60lb, which is just fine, practically like copying paper, I suppose.

The thing about me and VA is this: I LOVED THE BOOKS. Oh, I’ve been going through New-VA-Book Withdrawal since the last one came out. Then I decided to purchase for myself a birthday present, and I bought the 1st and 2nd Graphic Novels for the Vampire Academy. The illustrations are fantastic and expressive, and the story is beautifully adapted. I love how Christian and Adrian (in the 2nd book) are drawn, especially. EXACTLY and PERFECTLY how I figured they’d look. These are a wonderful addition to your bookshelf, especially if you’re a VA fan in withdrawal.


Ah, the question! What size of paper to buy! That’s completely up to you, and what sort of drawing you’re looking to get into. I have paper pads that are as small as 6x8, and as large as 24x18. The kind of paper you get is utterly your preference. Honestly. If you want to do large-scale portraits, a big pad is definitely for you. If you want portraits that are about the size of a copying sheet of paper (ABOUT), then 9x12 is great to buy (I use that size most frequently). My only suggestion to you is to get a pad with spiral binding. That makes it so you don’t have to worry about pending pages or destroying glued-in or sewed-in bindings. I like the spirals so that I can flip through with ease, and never have to worry about wrecking a previous portrait just to draw a new one.


Some paper has… oh… “pot holes” in it. I draw on smooth paper, medium texture/smooth, with my graphite pencils. THE TYPE OF TEXTURE YOU GET IS IMPORTANT TO THE MEDIUM YOU USE ON IT. Make sure you read what type of medium the paper was designed for, because the paper IS different and will take your art-implements differently.


Ah. Color. To me, I don’t really care, so long as it isn’t stark like gray or pink. I have used bleached white paper, and then just the regular paper that doesn’t even specify color on it. I guess it’s really just up to you and what you’re drawing for and with.


Of course, the type of drawing you do is going to affect what tools you need. However, if you’re into realistic portraits of people, etc., I might have a few suggestions:

- A set of blending stumps—or as many as you can get! I use these more often than my pencil in a drawing!
- White charcoal pencil. ESSENTIAL for making things completely, stark white, like highlights. Some people also use white pens, but my preference is the charcoal.
- If you’re not a black-charcoal kind of person like me, but still need an alternative to get really black color, I HIGHLY recommend the General’s Layout Extra Black No. 555 pencil. It has to be my favorite pencil!
- PLENTY of different sized erasers. I have big pink ones, pencil erasers, kneaded erasers, and tiny mechanical erasers to get into small spaces easily.
- And, of course, some pencils! I really don’t have too much of a preference as to what pencil I use—a regular old one you find in a school classroom works! But, if you want to get fancy, you CAN definitely buy some nice Prismacolor or Derwent pencils (both are fantastic, EXPENSIVE pencils). I suggest a Medium or Soft set of 12, if you can. The hard sets can be sort of non-necessity, and you might find yourself only needing a few of those, particularly in the 2H-4H range. 9H is EXTREMELY hard. The guide to pencils is this: 9H-H are hard pencils, and 9B-B are soft pencils. I guess the standard #2 (which is an HB) is the “neutral” ground.


Canson is GREAT paper. Fantastic. Scratchmore is also FANTASTIC paper. I own pads in both Canson and Scratchmore. In Scratchmore, I tend to buy the ones that have a brown cover with the woman’s portrait on the front. Good paper. Canson, I like the Recycled Drawing 80lb, but that’s sort of hard to find as it turns out, so any other Canson paper works brilliantly as well.

Generals pencils are nice and cheap, and they tend to work just fine for me. A MUST have itemis the General’s Layout Extra Black No. 555.

White charcoal pencils. Mine are just Generals brand.

Collection of blending stumps and some sandpaper to re-point their tips as they start to flatten out. Also, you can use this type of leather (I do not know the name, but it comes in some shading sets and is a goldeny color when new). I happened across this neat tool recently when I bought a set of blending stumps and I LOVE it. You can also use tissues, I’ve heard, as well as your finger.
ERASERS! Buy a ton of them. Little ones, big ones, etc. I’m not too much of a fan of kneaded erasers myself, but go for it if you please!

GOOD sharpener. I have one that sharpens three kinds of tools, and it’s by Faber-Castell (it’s called the Blackberry Grip Trio Sharpener). I DO NOT suggest using mechanical sharpeners, sine I find that it gives off chips on the end of the pencil and eats away too much of your very expensive pencil sets way too fast. Hand-helds are my preference, even if they are cheap ones from the dollar store!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2011
It's not very expensive, it's a good size, and there's plenty of paper for a month or two of drawing. If you press too hard, there will be a slight indent on the next page but it's hardly noticeable. It works for doodling and basic use, and I'd definitely recommend it.

~A rookie sketcher
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
So, I cannot really attest to the actual quality of the paper, as I am not an artist with that knowledge. I can say that the paper does seem to be of good quality- not too thin, and the book itself has held up over the past few months of school. I bought this for my son, as he needed a sketch pad for middle school art class and it met all the prerequisites. I will buy this again, should the need arise.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2014
Bought 2/26/14

I wanted to learn how to draw so bought a couple of books and pencils. This is the sketch book I have ever own. For the purpose of practicing drawing I found the sketch book excellent.

The book is sturdy and has held up being thrown in my bag for the past month or so. I find it easy to write on the pages and erasing is also ok. The pages have a good thickness to them. The pages are perforated so you can remove the pages with ease. The pages captures the light well.

I don't have any solid cons but I will explain why I only gave it 4 stars. I paid about $9 for this sketch book. I have seen other books for cheaper that seem exactly the same to me. I have blank book and a ton of notebooks, as a beginner these were probably good enough to start with and only cost $2 or so. I'm just speaking as a beginner now. I'm guessing experts aren't even reading these reviews. Even though I said the pages have a good thickness to them they also bleed through a little. I could very well be pressing to hard though. What this means is sometimes the back of the page you can see pencil marks and sometimes some feint lines on the next page. If the pages were just a little thicker this wouldn't be a problem for my heavy hand. I don't think this will be a problem for most people though.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2011
My daughter needed a sketch book for school that was 9x12, spiral bound and had more than 70 pages... I found that to be a bit of a task in our neighborhood! Amazon yet again saved the day! The sketchbook is exactly what she needed and a very nice quality. The paper is lovely and feels great to draw on. The binding and covers are sturdy and good quality. This is a bit expensive for everyday use, I think, but if you need, or want, higher quality, this is a great option.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2011
I purchased this item for my mom for christmas at the last minute and she got it in plenty of time for Christmas. She really loved it and was so proud to have her own sketch pad.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
I got this a few years ago from my uncle (who is also an artist) and have absolutely love it! The paper is nice and thick so if I press down with one of my pencils it won't rip, and the paper is smooth. I have drawn some of my best drawings in this book and would keep drawing in it, but I ran out of paper in it a few days ago. So now I'm trying to get another one! I would totally recommend this to anybody and everybody. Not a single complaint.

Now to go get me another.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2012
The paper in this sketchbook is pretty good-- better than some I've used, but nothing extraordinary. I did like the light texture of the pages. The binding has given me some problems though. The rings bend very easily, and if they are not perfectly aligned, the pages catch and tear very easily. I made the mistake of carrying the sketchbook with me in my book-bag-- never doing that again! However, if you're careful with the book, you won't have a problem.

Nothing special, but not that bad of a product. Worth the money.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2012
Art student teen daughter has used several different sizes of the Strathmore sketch pads, but she likes this 9 x 12 inch size best. She got 2 for Christmas and that will last a while. Good product, holds up. Quality paper. No disappointments.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 23, 2014
These pads are the usual Strathmore quality: good textured paper at a nice easy-to-handle 60-lb. weight with a decent brightness. This is excellent for charcoal and pencil sketches and the paper is tough enough to handle multiple erasures with a hard eraser. The spiral binding makes it easy to tote around and it always lies flat. Bonus: the sheets are lightly perforated and I can easily remove them without tearing. The protective cover is a little thin and won't take a lot of banging around so four stars instead of five.

I've used Strathmore pads for years and they have kept the same high level of quality. This pad is great for students or for quick sketches and studies.
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