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The Best Watercolor Sketchbook for 2023

best watercolor sketchbook

This article lists ten of the best watercolor sketchbooks you can use today. We all know that this is a specialized sketchbook designed specifically for creating watercolor artworks and sketches. Additionally, artists use watercolor sketchbooks at all skill levels who enjoy working with watercolors as their medium.

Our list of the best sketchbook for watercolor is based on personal usage experience and recommendations from fellow artists. Please see the product list below.

Top Best Watercolor Sketchbook Reviews

1. Leda Art Drawing Water Color Sketch Book

leda art drawing water color sketch book

If you want a watercolor sketchbook that offers quality, excellent pricing, and superb craftsmanship, you must check out this Leda Art Supply product. It is one of the best watercolor journals with an appealing textured waterproof cover, slight-weight smooth paper, and impressive sewn binding.

This watercolor sketchbook takes pride in its all-around usage. It can be used with watercolor, pen and ink, and watercolor pencil that only needs a little blending and layering. In addition, even if it comes with cellulose paper, it still handles light watercolor very well. So, line and wash are acceptable in this sketchbook.

In addition, the paper of this sketchbook is soft, but still, you can use watercolor washes. You must ensure they are light washes to prevent a mark from behind the paper. I suggest using watercolor first before using direct watercolor.

Finally, I am very impressed that this sketchbook lays flat when opened without you worrying about the pages tearing out. Combining the sewn binding and rubberized cover with fantastic flex results in an excellent, high-quality sketchbook.

  • Made with smooth and cream-colored surfaces which preserve the quality of work
  • It comes with an all-weather soft cover to protect your artwork from outside threats
  • Made with stitch thread binding
  • Design to lay flat to allow a comfortable sketching experience
  • Constructed with thick and dense paper with durability
  • Softcover allows pages to rub pencil drawings

This product is for artists looking for a high-quality watercolor sketchbook. The paper quality is impressive, and this sketchbook allows you to use both sides. It also comes in perfect size as it offers portability but still offers enough space for your sketches.

2. Strathmore Hardbound Watercolor Art Journal

strathmore hardbound watercolor art journal

This watercolor sketchbook from Strathmore is perfect for artists who love working in all sorts of mediums. It’s the best bullet journal for watercolor, where the pages come with great textures that allow it to accommodate watercolors and all the other mediums. This product is solid and well-made overall.

I am pleased with the paper’s quality as it is made of 100% cotton. Based on my experience, watercolors will appear vivid in this sketchbook compared to other products as it takes ink very well. Aside from being suitable for watercolor and other wet media, it also supports well with collage.

Also, I am impressed with the binding of this sketchbook. It gives little room for expansion and changes in thickness for the pages. In addition, the whole sketchbook is very sturdy and can be used outdoors as it needs no further support.

Finally, the pages of this sketchbook are weight specified and in the correct quantity. Although the book does not lay completely flat when opened, this is expected with the type of binding this sketchbook has.

  • Made with excellent binding
  • The paper is made of 100% cotton, which is perfect for watercolor
  • It can be used for various media
  • Very sturdy and can be used outdoors
  • Proper sizing with enough space to work with
  • It does not lie flat

This sketchbook is for artists looking for one that can take watercolors and other media. Its ability to handle any medium allows you to have much fun using the sketchbook. The product is solid and beautifully made, which makes this a must-have product.

3. Speedball Artist Watercolor Sketchbook Journal

speedball artist watercolor sketchbook journal

If you are a watercolor artist, this watercolor sketchbook from Speedball is a must-have. Crafted from natural linen, it is the best watercolor travel journal with appealing and functional choices for artists on the go.

Designed for watercolor enthusiasts, these journals feature a sturdy elastic closure and a convenient, transparent envelope nestled within the rear cover. The watercolor books are perfect for artists seeking a compact for creating art while traveling. Furthermore, this product comes in five different sizes, catering to the preferences of various artists.

As far as the binding, assembly, and cover of this book, all are very impressive. The cover looks impressive, while the rubber binding band seems durable. This type of binding allows the paper to lay flat easily.

Finally, the paper quality is better than the other sketchbook I have used previously. The paper in this sketchbook feels thicker and holds watercolor and ink much better. The size is also perfect for travel while holding watercolor and ink better without bleeding or feathering.

  • Paper sizes are excellent for traveling
  • Pages are built to be used on both sides
  • The paper is sturdy enough to hold any watercolor application
  • Built with a cover made of finely woven linen
  • It comes with rounded corners and an elastic band adding durability
  • Sizing is inconsistent

This watercolor sketchbook is for artists that travel a lot. Its compact design is built for travel and comes in various sizes. It comes with a high-quality cover, elastic closure, and a transparent pocket in the back. The quality and attention to detail is very impressive.

4. Illo Artist Preferred Sketchbook

illo artist preferred sketchbook

I am impressed with this Illo sketchbook. They are designed in a square shape, which is great for artists of all levels. It comes with a durable cover that will make your drawing safe. It is also built with a soft touch and anti-slip leather.

The pages are suitable for different types of art tools like markers, pencils, and ink. As for watercolor, you can use it but only a little to prevent the other pages from getting wet. This book is nice because it opens up easily and stays flat. This feature makes it simple to work on your art.

Another aspect that I appreciate about this book is its cute square shape. It is handy for sharing on various social media platforms like Instagram with the need to crop your work. In addition, there is a little pocket in the back of the book and a strap for keeping the book cover nice and snug.

I also like the paper quality of this sketchbook. It is smooth and feels amazing to draw on. Once you put the pencil down, it stays right where you want it. Then, if you press on the crease, the book opens flat as the spine handles very nicely.

  • Made with a hard cover to keep your drawings safe all the time
  • It comes with perfect square dimensions for easy sharing on social media
  • Made to lay flat for easy usage
  • Built to be used on various media
  • Made by fellow artists
  • It emits a strange odor

This product is for artists looking for a sketchbook that can be used in various media. The paper is the highlight for me. It is as smooth as silk, and the bonus is that you can even draw and decorate the front, making it suitable for sketches.

5. Paul Rubens Watercolor Paper Block

paul rubens watercolor paper block

If you are looking for the best cheap watercolor sketchbook, you can check on this product from Paul Rubens. This watercolor sketchbook comes with a leather cover featuring a rugged smooth finish for protection and easy usage.

Aside from the hardcover, this watercolor sketchbook is also impressive with its compact size. The cotton paper can handle beating from scrubbing, layering, and many more. Additionally, the pages are perforated in case you do not want to remove some of the pages.

Additionally, the paper can hold lots of water which is perfect for watercolor usage. One side of the paper is rough, and the other is smoother, which allows you to choose which sides. On top of that, the colors move very well when it is used for watercolor application.

Lastly, the compact size of this watercolor sketchbook is perfect for artists on the go. Furthermore, this sketchbook stays closed securely with the elastic strap feature. Although the book is compact and lightweight overalls, the cover adds more weight, but this downside is not a big issue.

  • With 100% cotton and acid-free paper with a smooth surface for watercolor usage
  • Built with leather cover for premium protection
  • The compact size is perfect for traveling artists
  • With dual-sided paper design
  • The elastic strap feature closes the sketchbook securely
  • Usage of too much glue

This product is the best affordable watercolor journal for your artwork. This product allows you to watercolor both sides of the paper. Excellent quality, which is perfect for artists looking for high-quality watercolor sketchbooks that are still affordable.

6. Arteza ARTZ-8323 Watercolor Paper

arteza artz-8323 watercolor paper

This watercolor sketchbook from Azteza is another product perfect for artists on the go. The size is small enough to be manageable when traveling. It is the best bullet journal watercolor that lies flat to give a two-page spread which is perfect for watercolor enthusiasts.

This small watercolor sketchbook has a perfect size, and the pages are thick enough to do watercolors on and not bleed through. The company also looks very durable and should protect your art when you are outside.

Aside from its size, this watercolor sketchbook is beautiful. The paper quality is heavy and should take watercolor painting easily. On top of that, the covers are sturdy and attractive. Also, the paper lays flat and conforms like cotton, even if it is not 100% cotton.

Physically, this watercolor sketchbook looks classy and sturdy on the outside. There is an elastic band that holds it together. Then, the ribbon will mark your place in the sketchbook. From my experience, even if you constantly carry it, the paper will not fray or wear, which is quite impressive.

  • Made with cold-pressed paper, which is perfect for watercolors
  • Includes versatile double-sided sheets with dual texture
  • Made with acid-free paper that ensures longevity and preservation of the art
  • Equipped with natural linen cover and binding
  • An expandable inner pocket is available inside the sketchbook cover
  • Paper tears easily with erasing, tape, and masking fluid

This watercolor sketchbook is perfect for an artist who travels a lot. The size is small enough to be manageable when traveling. Lastly, the pages are thick enough to do watercolor work without bleeding through. The cover will also protect all your artwork inside.

7. Bee Paper Creative Watercolor Journal

bee paper creative watercolor journal

If you are a watercolorist, you can try this sketchbook from Bee Paper. This product exudes quality at an affordable rate. The cover may need to look more impressive, but it could be a perfect layer for mixed-media applications.

I have tried many watercolor sketchbooks, but this product is one of my favorites. The paper is excellent for wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry techniques and comes in various sizes to allow the artist to choose their personal preference.

In terms of size, this product is a smaller watercolor sketchbook for travel and quick doodles. By the way, the paper is made of 100% cotton. It is not pure white, but it has the barest tint of cream. You can do heavy washes for this paper, and it will not pill, which is pretty impressive.

In addition, the rigid board covers are beneficial when drawing on the go. It also comes with a metal spine that looks durable and high quality. Finally, the best thing about the Bee Paper is that you may find it inexpensive and can still use it like a pro with impressive quality.

  • Made with high-quality European milled paper sheets that can handle heavy washes
  • It offers versatility as it can handle watercolor, acrylic, pencils, and other media
  • Durable paper made of 100% cotton, ensuring no bleeding regardless of media
  • Built with double wire binding that creates a flat surface
  • Micro-perforated to true size
  • Quick drying and staining

This product from Bee Paper is perfect for mixed media works. It is super silky smooth pages will surely keep markings from fraying too quickly. Also, both covers are thick and sturdy, which is impressive. Lastly, the paper is sturdy and keeps its shape extremely well.

8. Tumuarta Travel Watercolor Journal Notebook

tumuarta travel watercolor journal notebook

Tumuarta Watercolor Journal is perfect for on-the-go watercolor and sketching needs. The pages of this watercolor sketchbook are thick and durable. The paper can soak up the paint and water without wrinkling or buckling.

What I like about this watercolor journal is its size. It can easily fit on any of your paint gear which means it can be used while traveling. The paper is approximately 140 lbs with a slight tooth, so the paint grabs nicely.

Additional features include an elastic band around the journal to keep it from falling open and a little pocket in the back for any small items you can keep in there. You can also find a bookmark ribbon attached to the journal.

Overall, this product is an excellent watercolor sketchbook. The pages are heavy and lie flat. It has a slightly bumpy texture, though it is smoother in feel than most cold-pressed watercolor paper. Lastly, the construction is sturdy and put together well.

  • Made with heavyweight and cold-pressed paper, which is ideal for watercolor
  • With acid-free paper, which will let the artwork stay vibrant over time
  • Built with round corners and hardbound to protect accidental cuts
  • Made with micro-perforated sheets to turn or remove pages if desired easily
  • It comes with inside handy pockets
  • The size is too small

This watercolor sketchbook is perfect for artists who like to travel and sketch at the same time. It has the ideal size for doing quick thoughts. As for painting, it also has the perfect size to practice ideas and techniques. Lastly, the ideal is perfect for beginners.

9. Mifuner Hardbound Travel Watercolor Journal

mifuner hardbound travel watercolor journal

This little travel-size watercolor notebook from Mifunor looks very impressive. The pages lie flat, while the papers appear to be of excellent quality. It is thick and has good tooth. The cover design looks solid while having the elastic is essential to keep the sketchbook closed.

Artists who are just getting their feet wet will love this watercolor sketchbook. It will be fun just to play around while you are painting with this sketchbook. The paint does not seep through the pages, and it looks adorable.

In addition, this sketchbook comes with high-quality watercolor paper and is portable. It is small enough to carry in a pocket and an excellent piece of paper for watercolor. Personally, I can use this sketchbook to do quick watercolor sketches of scenes for all types of events.

Lastly, this book lies flat when opened to provide panoramic sketches when needed. You can use this sketchbook and a small watercolor palette, put it in my small backpack, and use it easily anywhere to capture the moment.

  • Made with a warm white paper that has a perfect weight for watercolor journaling
  • Built with handmade cloth cover for excellent protection
  • With elastic brush holder positioned at the top of the book perfect for travel
  • Watercolor paper is thick, which allows both sides for watercolor sketch
  • Elastic band closure will make the painting more secured
  • Binding needs improvement

This product is perfect for artists looking for high-quality watercolor sketchbooks. It has a beautiful fabric cover, and the watercolor paper is nice and thick. Measurements are accurate, and the paper quality is top-notch.

10. Linden Art Watercolor Travel Journal

linden art watercolor travel journal

When it comes to quality, this watercolor journal from Linden has it. This product is for watercolors and other media like crayons, pencils, and many more. Mixed-media artists will like this high-quality sketchbook.

First, the covers feel amazing, as the sturdiness and flexibility are evident. The color, the texture, and the branding at the back look very impressive. Beginners and experienced artists can maximize the usage of this watercolor sketchbook.

When it comes to paper quality, I am also impressed with this watercolor journal. The paper holds water well with minimal warping; I can be heavy-handed on it. It also is nicely textured on both sides of the page, which is difficult to come by. The texture is enough and not too much to make painting or sketching difficult.

Also, the cover is strong and will not split at the spine like other journals I have used. I love the rounded corners and the elastic strap. It also comes with a ribbon bookmark attached that can be used anytime. Overall, this watercolor sketchbook offers excellent attention to detail and quality.

  • Made with thick paper suitable for painting, drawing, and other mixed-media art
  • It comes with the right size for art at home or travel
  • Built with stitched binding and a brown leather hardcover
  • It comes with an elastic strap and page maker
  • Made with large page quantity, more significant than any other books
  • Uneven sizing on the pages

This watercolor sketchbook is for artists who are just starting. The sketchbook is the perfect fit for any beginner’s level and purpose. The paper is heavy and thick enough not to buckle after washing.

How to Choose a Watercolor Sketchbook

best watercolor journals

Choosing the right watercolor sketchbook can greatly impact your artistic experience and the quality of your artwork. Here are some factors to consider when buying a watercolor sketchbook.

Paper Quality

The most crucial factor is the paper itself. Look for a sketchbook with watercolor paper specifically designed for wet media. Watercolor paper is heavier and can handle the water without warping or deteriorating.

Check the paper’s weight, usually in pounds (lbs) or grams per square meter (gsm). Heavier paper (around 140 lbs or 300 gsm) handles watercolor better and is less likely to buckle or warp.

Texture and Finish

Watercolor paper comes in different textures, such as cold press (slightly textured), hot press (smooth), and rough. The texture affects how the paint interacts with the paper. Choose the one that suits your style and preferences.

Some paper may have a specific finish or coating that affects how the paint absorbs and dries. Experiment with different finishes to find what works best for your techniques.

Binding and Durability

Choose a sketchbook with a sturdy and durable binding that can withstand frequent use. Spiral-bound sketchbooks allow pages to lay flat and be rotated 360 degrees for ease of use. Look for a sketchbook that will enable you to open it completely flat without the pages falling out.

When assessing binding and durability, opt for a sketchbook with a robust binding that can endure the rigors of frequent use without pages detaching. A sewn or reinforced binding and a sturdy cover ensure longevity and dependable performance throughout your artistic journey.

Number of Pages

Consider how many pages you want in your sketchbook. A larger number of pages allows for more experimentation, making the sketchbook heavier. Consider the number of pages in the sketchbook based on your creative needs and preferences.

While a sketchbook with more pages provides ample room for experimentation, a balance should be struck to avoid excessive weight and bulk. Additionally, selecting a sketchbook with an optimal number of pages allows for a well-rounded creative experience without compromising portability.

Size and Format

best sketchbook for watercolor

Consider the size of the sketchbook. Choose a size that suits your needs and the sketches you usually create. Think about the orientation as well. Portrait, landscape, or square formats can impact the composition of your artwork.

When choosing the size and format of your watercolor sketchbook, think about how it aligns with your artistic style and preferred subjects. The dimensions you select can influence your sketches’ composition and visual impact, so consider what suits your creative intentions best.

Acid-free and Archival Quality

Prioritize sketchbooks with acid-free and archival-quality paper to ensure your artworks remain vibrant and well-preserved over time. Acid-free paper prevents yellowing and deterioration, making it a crucial choice for the longevity of your creations. By using sketchbooks with these qualities, you’re investing in preserving your artistic legacy.

Water Handling

Evaluate the water-handling capabilities of a watercolor sketchbook by checking for minimal bleeding, feathering, and color dullness while prioritizing vibrant blending, layering, gentle lifting, controlled drying, and effective management of granulation effects.

Opt for a paper that balances preserving color vibrancy, allowing for technique versatility, and preventing excessive warping or buckling. Choosing a watercolor sketchbook with optimal water handling ensures that your artistic intentions are met, enabling the smooth execution of various watercolor techniques while maintaining the integrity of your artwork.

Price Range

Watercolor sketchbooks come in a range of prices. While quality often correlates with cost, there are also budget-friendly options that offer good performance. While considering your budget, remember that the price of a watercolor sketchbook often reflects the quality of its materials and construction.

Price Range Description Features and Quality
$10 – $20 Basic and Budget-Friendly Moderate paper quality, fewer pages, simpler bindings
$20 – $30 Balanced Value Better paper for watercolors, improved bindings, more pages
Above $30 Premium Investment High-quality paper, excellent water handling, special features

While premium options might offer superior paper and durability, budget-friendly alternatives provide decent performance for those starting or looking for more affordable options. Striking a balance between price and quality ensures that your sketchbook meets your artistic needs and financial considerations.


Choosing the best watercolor sketchbook is essential for artists. It’s like your special canvas for watercolor fun. A good sketchbook has excellent paper that works well with water, making colors mix nicely. Check how colors move, how bright they stay, and how the paper dries. A good sketchbook stays flat after you paint. Remember, it’s not just for art – it’s like your creative friend on every page.

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