Make your own Custom Sketchbooks  (check out "Alternatives to making a sketchbook at the end)

Buying sketchbooks can be expensive!.....and there is a tendency for many (me) to hold back their artistic expression so a piece of paper won't be wasted.  None of us wants to waste paper but there is a place in art where we all need to feel free enough with our supplies that the art itself is our biggest concern.

For that reason I began making my own sketchbooks many years ago and have made hundreds of them for myself and my students and those that buy my book on Sketching With Valued Markers, but I have also used them for gouache, acrylic and oil painting when surface treated appropriately. 

It's easy.  First get some paper.  I use card stock because the materials, especially the markers, won't bleed through onto other pages.  I get my paper supplies many places and here are some sources here in the U.S. 

I buy my white paper at Walmart.  150 sheets will be about $6.  After dividing the sheets into sketchbook sizes, I use 30 pages to 60 pages (the thicker books provide good support in my lap, the thinner ones are obviously lighter to carry).  Twenty five to thirty pages is a good size.

I then take those pages to an office supply store such as Kinko's, Office Max, Office Depot and even Walmart in some locations.  I can get them bound in a spiral form (easier to fold flat), not comb binding for about $5, including covers front and back.

Sometimes I add colored pages in various shades and values of tan or gray.  This paper is from Michaels or some other paper supply.

Here is a stack of examples:

Other suppliers:

    Amazon is another source and here is a link:  Amazon card stock

Outside the US:  I am not well versed in places for these supplies outside of the U.S. but from having been in many countries I know most have office supply stores that could be of assistance.  You are looking for a heavy weight paper with a matte but smooth surface.  Loosely pressed paper will soak up your marker ink, paint, ink or whatever you are using and it isn't fun....unless that's the effect you are actually going for.

An alternative is recipe cards in a 4x6 or larger size.  You can just use them as singles and keep them in an envelope rather than a bound form.  Works just fine.  

Paper is everywhere.  Admittedly some areas are more difficult to find what you need.  Keep at it.  It's out there somewhere.  Do it for your ART!!

Alternatives to Making a Sketchbook:

I looked at some other things you could do for a decent sketchbook.  The best replacement I found was a Mixed Media sketchbook made by Canson.  They come in many different sizes and are easily accessible.  ( Amazon for Canson Multimedia Sketchbooks)

Other ideas in order of preference: 5x7 or larger recipe cards (Amazon), Bristol board (Amazon), Marker paper (Amazon).

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