Paper World

Academie Wirebound


Best inexpensive sketchbook

I do a lot of sketching and art of various kinds and in various mediums, such as pencil, chalk, Copic markers and ink. For this I need a good quality paper, but don’t want to spend a lot of money; I don’t want to feel guilty doing throwaway work. The best buy I’ve found is Mead’s Academie 70-sheet Spiral Bound notebook, and I’ve been using it for the past two years.

These sketchbooks are ideal for several reasons. First are cost and availability: They’re inexpensive and can be purchased practically anywhere, from office supply stores to Walmart and Target. The paper quality is good enough for frameable art. The sturdy notebooks have a solid pressboard back, so I generally don’t need an easel, and the pages are perforated for easy removal. There’s a two-sided pocket, so I can remove and stow keepers. I find the pocket helps me keep track of specific renderings, too. Because these sketchbooks are inexpensive, I can use a few concurrently and switch back and forth between different mediums. The paper quality is great for the price, too. It works well for Copic markers, especially, giving a true color rendering. The pages are non-yellowing (acid-free), as well.

For comparison, Strathmore drawing pads have more size options, but at 40 to 50 sheets per book, the cost per sheet is higher, and the Strathmore’s pages aren’t perforated for easy removal.

-- Stephen Young 01/29/10