Product Review: Handbook Brand Sketchbook

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I am constantly in search of the perfect sketchbook. I do a lot of different things and experiment with a lot of different materials, so I need one that can withstand my many artistic moods. As a result, finding that perfect sketchbook is easier said than done!

That search did lead me to discover the Hand•Book brand, which is a worthwhile entry in the competition. I got a square spiralbound version, which has been really fun to fill up. It hasn't earned a spot as my ONLY sketchbook, but I will definitely keep one of these on hand until I find that perfect unicorn.

The Pros

They come in a variety of sizes

Like I mentioned above, mine is square. The unusual shape inspires me to think in different dimensions than a typical sheet of paper, and I've come up with some really cool designs this way:

hand drawn lace on square pagela vie est belle square drawing

I don't know if either of these would have come to be without the square format. I also saw a lot of longer landscape versions when I was shopping, which would be equally intriguing to play around with.

The paper feels really nice

The paper is really smooth and fairly weighty, making it really easy to sketch on. It doesn't tear, it doesn't catch your nib if you're using a dip pen, and it's great for graphite drawing. I did this sketch with ink and a glass dip pen:

glass dip pen and ink sketch 

The cover is really sturdy

I love the hard cover on this sketchbook. I can drop it in a tote bag and take it anywhere without worrying that it's going to get folded up or otherwise damaged. I've decided my unicorn sketchbook is going to be hardcover.

The Cons

All that being said, there is one big reason this sketchbook isn't the absolute perfect one for me:

The paper is NOT bleed-proof!

I work with markers a lot, so it's important to me to find a sketchbook that can handle those. This sketchbook had paper that felt too nice to waste by skipping every other page, yet the paper wasn't at all bleed-proof. This was my first marker experiment in the book:

marker drawing hand book sketchbook

Pretty, right? Then I went to check the previous page:

bleed through marker drawing hand book sketchbook

....Oops. The concept sketch I did right before it was rendered pretty useless.

Final Verdict

Like I said above, I like this one quite a bit. Enough to keep one around, even if I collect a couple others for other purposes.

Where to Find Them

Sadly, the store that I originally found mine in is closed, so I can't direct business their way anymore. 😥 I've been looking around for a new source, and I've found that brand available on both Blick Art Supplies and Two Hands Paperie. If you find them anywhere else, let me know and I'll update this post!

Do you have any favorite sketchbooks? What brands do you love?


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