There are many different sketchbooks on the market and some of them are sold as watercolour or multitechnique. But the truth is that most of them contain paper that does not work well with water-based techniques. As a result, many people find it difficult to obtain satisfying results, and some even become discouraged with watercolours. All because of the wrong paper. Paper plays a crucial role here. Therefore, we will share with you what a watercolour sketchbook should contain, how it should be made and, above all, which paper is absolutely suitable.

What kind of paper should be in a watercolour sketchbook?

Well, ideally it should be watercolour paper, right? The best watercolour paper is cotton paper made by the traditional mould made method. It is very difficult to produce and that is why there are only a few manufacturers in the whole world who can make it. There are also quite good watercolour papers made from cellulose, or a mixture of cellulose and cotton. In any case, watercolour papers are very good quality papers, with high resistance to soaking and abrasion. They most often come in 200 or 300gsm thickness and several surface types. Whatever the type, we recommend papers from well-known and experienced manufacturers.

Arches sketchbook is one of best
Arches Watercolor cotton paper 300gsm in Koval Sketchbook. This paper must to be stitched and binded by hands. This is hardest cotton paper on Earth.

Why are most sketchbooks not suitable for watercolour?

Good watercolour papers are too hard and stiff, and cannot be machine binded. The paper used in mass produced sketchbooks needs to be soft to be machine stitched. So 95% of the sketchbooks on the market are not suitable for watercolour because they use ordinary, plain paper. This is why many beginner artists cannot make progress in watercolour because, even trying several different sketchbooks, they still do not get the desired results. 

Here are our recommendations for sketchbooks with the best cotton watercolour papers.

Top 5 best watercolour sketchbooks for professional artists and beginners

How to improve your watercolour
Only cotton certified paper will make your watercolor beauty and detailed.

Most of the sketchbooks in our range contain 100% cotton watercolour, certified papers such Fabriano, Saunders and Arches (here you will find detailed information about these papers). They are also mulitechnique, so many artists use them in many ways. However, there are a few sketchbooks that watercolour artists love the most. These are:

Sketchbook PRO 25x25 aka Sketchilla 

This largest watercolour sketchbook got its name from its size. It is most popular with professional artists who need plenty of space to sketch and paint. When opened, the sketchbook lies flat and is as much as 50cm wide. The top-quality 300gsm Fabriano Artistico cotton paper allows the watercolours to bring out their greatest beauty and handles well when repeatedly washed. Sketchilla, like every sketchbook in the PRO series, is stitched with waterproof thread that does not absorb colours. At the same time, this sketchbook is Vegan Friendly, because Fabriano Artistico is the only cotton paper produced using the traditional mould made method, but instead of gelatine, synthetic alcohol-based ingredients are used here. Sketchilla is not available all the time, which is why it is hunted by many artists. Especially the version with extra white paper.

Sketchilla Best artist sketchbook

Pro Sketchbook 14x20 Fabriano Artistico

This is the most frequently purchased watercolour sketchbook. It is perfect size, not too big not too small, a typical sketchbook format that is easy to take with you when you travel or carry in your backpack or bag. And because it contains 300gsm cotton paper it will work well with any technique. At this size and weight, the pages will not curve at all. This is the iconic watercolour sketchbook from which the production of cotton sketchbooks began. It is also available with cut corners and a metallic cover. This version comes with extra white paper, making it even more unique. 

A5 Professional Sketchbook

Baby Book 9x9

A jewel in our portfolio. This is the only sketchbook in the world this small (also available in an even smaller 7x7 size) with true cotton paper. We used Saunders Waterford 190gsm paper here. Artists who create small watercolour works love it because such paper works perfectly with watercolour and gives it the right brightness, while at the same time resisting repeated soaking and correction. The BabyBook sketchbooks are also distinguished by their uncommon button-closure binding which makes them look very original. Well - our customers love these little art books.

Mini Sketchbook Watercolour

ART series sketchbook with 200gsm cotton paper

This is the ideal watercolour sketchbook for beginning artists and for those who prefer more pages instead of thick ones. The Art sketchbook has a universal size of 14x20cm. It comes in several versions with different papers: Arches Watercolor 185gsm, Fabriano Artistico 200gsm or Saunders Waterford 190gsm. These are very strong excellent papers, but slightly thinner than those used in the PRO series. But remember, it's still cotton paper so even the lower weight ensures high strength and the best collaboration with watercolours (see comparison 200gsm vs 300gsm). The Fabriano Artistico version is vegan friendly and is also the most popular version of ART sketchbook.

The veneer of these sketchbooks has a slightly glossy surface which gives it a nobility appropriate to the paper used inside.

Cotton Papers in Sketchbooks Art

Sketchbook PRO Arches Watercolor 300gsm

This is a sketchbook for professionals and also the most unique sketchbook in the world. Arches Watercolor, 100% cotton paper is very characteristic, very stiff and extremely hard. It is surface sizing according to traditional techniques using gelatine. All this makes it the most difficult paper to fold and stitch. Koval Sketchbooks is the only brand that can make a sketchbook with this paper thanks to our own hand sewing and gluing methods. It is important to note that the sketchbooks are stitched with waterproof, anti-absorbing thread and tightly glued, so your artwork is aesthetically pleasing and the gap between the signatures is minimal.

Top 5 Sketchbooks for watercolor guide

I hope this article helps you choose the right sketchbook for yourself, and if you want to see all the watercolour sketchbooks click here: