The Best Sketchbooks for Markers: Reviews in 2020

Heading into the world of art sounds like a lot of fun, but without the right tools, it could prove to be a frustrating endeavor. It’s not enough to have the right set of pens, as you’ll also need the best sketchbooks.

It’s pretty clear that not every regular piece of paper puts up well with marker ink. For that, you’ll need a quality paper that absorbs the ink properly without bleeding through the pages. Other aspects to consider are weight, and texture, to name a few.

We’ll get to that later in the article. Before reviewing the sketchbooks, let’s talk about two of the most popular types of markers and which paper are the most suitable for them.

10 Best Sketchbooks | Quick List

What Types of Marker are You Using For?

To know what sketchbook or paper is the most suitable for our projects, we first must consider the type of markers we will be using. Alcohol-based and water-based are the most popular, so let’s talk about the paper you’ll need for them.

Water-Based Marker

We call them water-based markers because of the pigments featured, which float in water. This process is what creates the water-based ink.

Water-based markers work on most paper, as the ink isn’t heavy enough to create a mess in surfaces like notebooks. Because of that, these markers are the go-to choice for tasks like bullet journaling and calligraphy art.

While you can use water-based pens on any paper, the damage these markers do to regular paper fiber makes it impossible to add extra layers to your projects.

If you want to avoid that, consider getting either of the following options: watercolor blocks, watercolor boards, paper pads, and very specific sketchbooks.

As we head into our reviews, we’ll be covering a variety of products capable of working well with this type of markers.

Alcohol-Based Marker

Fortunately, alcohol-based markers are capable of working well over any paper. Nonetheless, if you want to accomplish the best results, you’ll have to put a bit more effort while selecting a sketchbook.

Ideally, the paper has to be smooth enough to keep excessive wicking or bleeding away. You also want your pages to be soft, as it’ll better handle the ink by allowing it to penetrate the fiber easily, and thus, it’ll blend with the other colors used.

However, make sure the paper is not too soft. If it is, you won’t be able to control wicking or bleeding because the ink will spread too quickly.

During our reviews, you’ll find brands like Canson that emphasize their efforts into creating versatile sketchbooks that work with a variety of marker types, including the alcohol-based.

Remember to use smooth paper. A rough surface isn’t ideal for marker tips because the nibs fray more easily.

Top Rated Sketchbooks for Markers

Let’s take a look at some of the best sketchbooks to combine with your ideal markers for professional artist.

1. Moleskine Art Sketchbook 5″x8.25″

This product is one of Moleskine’s best offers. Made with high-quality heavy paper, this sketchbook is the ideal choice for artists that often get inspired on the go. It’s suitable for sketch drawing, and it also puts up well with tempera colors.

The sketchbook features a hard cover with an elastic closure and an integrated bookmark ribbon for more convenience.

Inside, the heavy paper is identical on both sides. Other than having a nice texture, the pens move smoothly over the surface.

Also, the structure of the book is outstanding. The pages have durable sewing by groups that later get glued in by section, creating a long-lasting set of pages. Moreover, the number of pages included in this sketchbook is 104.

Sadly, not everything about this product is good. The pages aren’t entirely bleed-proof, so you’ll have to be careful not to put too much pressure on your utensils. Otherwise, some marks will be visible in the coming pages.

 Pros 

  • Good size & weight
  • Ideal for all dry media, pens & markers
  • Comes with a hardcover, elastic closure
  • 104 pages included with bookmark ribbon

 Cons 

  • Dripping issues after several uses

2. Canson Artist Series Pro Layout Marker Pad

Canson is a reliable art supplier that you’ll be seeing more than one time here. The first one of the company’s product is an 11×14-inch marker pad with semi-translucent white paper. A wide variety of drawings and design new ideas are among some of the projects you can do with this product.

The pad offers 50 sheets of 18-pound or 70 grams. With acid-free paper, artists can use it to create art with pens, pencils, and even markers. Regardless of which one you use, the pages don’t bleed through.

Another particular feature of this product is the design of the pages. They’re thin and yet strong and capable of putting up with the markers. As mentioned above, the risk of ink bleeding through the paper is pretty low.

A minor observation to keep in mind is that the pages can fall out easily. While drawing, especially if children are doing it, people must be careful not to apply too much pressure.

 Pros 

  • Features semi-translucent white paper color
  • Thin but resistant pages
  • Bleed-proof
  • Compatible with pens, pencils, & markers

 Cons 

  • Pages can fall out easily

3. Bee Paper Bleedproof Marker Sheets Pack

Perhaps this option isn’t the first that comes to mind while searching for sketchbooks, but it still manages to be equally and sometimes even better than the standard sketchbook.

Here, we have a pack of 50, 11×14-inch sheets, which are naturally white, acid-free, and approved for use with Copic pens.

Other than Copic markers, there are a ton of art utensils, including drawing pen sets that work on these sheets. You can use pens, ink, crow quill pens, water-based and permanent markers too.

Each one of these sheets feels super smooth while drawing over them. The texture feels pleasant, and the pages are capable of absorbing the ink with no bleeding. Additionally, you can blend colors effortlessly, adding yet another benefit of purchasing this pack of sheets.

Nonetheless, while blending, you should avoid adding too many layers. If you do, the drawing will look blotchy and glossy, which is less than ideal. It takes some time to adapt to new layering techniques, but it certainly is worth it.

 Pros 

  • Pack of large 11×14-inch sheets
  • Includes 50 sheets
  • Compatible with Copic markers
  • Ultra-smooth & acid-free

 Cons 

  • Adding too many layers while blending ruins the final result

4. Leda Art Supply Sketchbook for Artists

While most sketchbooks would work with specific markers, only the best are capable of putting up with other drawing tools.

This one, for example, resists pencils, ink, pens, and charcoal, to name a few art drawing tools. It’s a highly versatile book that’ll meet the expectations of artists that enjoy putting new ideas onto the paper.

In total, the sketchbook has 160 pages of smooth and beautiful colored paper that will increase the visibility of your drawings.

Since the paper is 120GSM, you can assume it’s pretty dense. The thickness overall seems appropriate, offering you the chance to add depth to your projects. Also, the risks of creating a mess are barely non-existent due to the bleed-proof properties of the pages.

Other features worth mentioning are the elastic band that holds the pages together and the accordion back pocket that provides room to keep photos, paper, or pencils organized.

With all of that in mind, it’s a shame that the paper doesn’t seem to be suitable for Copic markers, which lose quality on the pages.

 Pros 

  • Versatile sketchbook suitable for pencil, ink
  • Includes 160 smooth pages
  • Dense 120GSM paper offered
  • Different sizes available
  • Elastic band & accordion back pocket included

 Cons 

  • Not the most suitable paper for Copic markers

5. Bianyo BN-5801 Bleedproof Marker Paper

Due to the 70GSM quality of the paper included in this sketchbook, there are several benefits you can expect.

Most noticeably, the thin structure of the pages will absorb less ink from the markers. Besides not suffering bleed-through, the paper also allows the pens to last longer by using less ink.

The marker pad measures 8.27×11.69-inch, which is a pretty good size due to the amount of room offered for your projects. Plus, the paper is white and acid-free. You’ll also like how smooth it feels while drawing over each page.

You can use a variety of markers to work with this pad, such as Banyo and Copic pens. The texture of the paper is also suitable for water-based and permanent markers, which you’ll be able to use on the 50 sheets offered.

Something you need to know about the paper is that it’s thin. Although there’s no bleed-through, the markers do seem to be noticeable from the other side. If you’re looking to create colorful, detailed projects, this pad may not be what you need.

 Pros 

  • Good 8.27×11.69-inch size
  • 70G paper weight
  • Absorbs less ink from the markers
  • Works with any kinds of marker

 Cons 

  • Markers are noticeable from the other side of the pages

6. Derwent Graphik Inspire Sketch Book, Medium

The following sketchbook offers 82 pages featuring bleed-proof marker paper for each one of your activities. Additionally, the book has printed patterns that heavily inspires artists to complete illustrations, drawings, and doodling, among other types of tasks.

Inside, you’ll find pages with dots, triangles, squares, and hexagons nestled within the book. There are eight pages of each, giving you plenty of room to let your creativity run free during your projects. Besides, such a variety ensures artists get to develop new ideas.

However, once you get carried away, you’ll notice that the eight pages for each design aren’t enough.

Since the design of the sketchbook is to work with Derwent products such as the Line Maker and Line Painter Pens, you may be wondering if other markers would do well on the paper.

Fortunately, the answer is yes. The pages withstand popular brands such as Crayola, Prismacolor, and Copic.

Plus, the perforated pages allow you to remove them if needed.

 Pros 

  • Contains 82 pages of bleed-proof paper
  • Comes with printed patterns to inspire creativity
  • Pages compatible with most popular brand markers
  • Perforated sheets allow you to remove them easily

 Cons 

  • Needs more dots, triangles, squares, and hexagons pages

7. Crescent Creative RENDR Lay-Flat Sketchbook

Due to the incredible technology behind it, the following sketchbook is more than an ideal choice for high-quality art projects.

For starters, the book features No-Show Thru tech that allows artists to use every side of every page, guaranteeing there are no unpleasant marks that pass through the next pages as you draw.

Secondly, the lay-flat binding limits at the center of the book makes it possible to use both pages as one, which comes in handy to create drawings that require a large sheet.

This particular design is ideal for the majority of art media, and it also makes the pages compatible with markers.

Unfortunately, in this case, size does matter. With multiple versions available, the smallest of this sketchbook, which measures 3.5″x5.5″, doesn’t lay flat entirely. It’s a mild inconvenience that, although it doesn’t interfere with the quality of the paper, it does put some limitations on your drawings.

The larger 8.5″x11″ sketchbook, on the other hand, is almost flawless.

 Pros 

  • Thru tech makes the paper bleed-proof
  • Compatible with many collections of markers
  • Acid-free & two-sided sheets
  • 180GSM quality
  • Different sizes available

 Cons 

  • Smallest version of this sketchbook doesn’t lay flat

7. Strathmore Series Hardbound Sketchbook

This mixed media journal measures 8.5″x11″, though other sizes like 5.5″x8.5″ and 11″x14″ are also available. They’re suitable for sketches, drawings, paintings, and many more tasks.

The book is acid-free and bleed-proof, making it safe to use without worrying about messing up the other side of the pages.

Additionally, this sketchbook is both good-looking and well-built. Inside, the Smyth-sewn binding allows the pages to lay flat, making it more comfortable for the users to draw.

Outside, the lightly textured matte cover featuring an appealing cocoa brown color makes the journal eye-catching.

What’s surprising about this product is that it truly is a mixed media journal, as it’s capable of putting up with almost anything. You can paint using watercolor or acrylic pens, and the drawing will look good.

The only issue is the number of pages. With only 32 in total, it feels like a bit more would’ve made this product even better than it already is.

 Pros 

  • Puts up with a variety of markers & pens
  • Different sizes available
  • Suitable for sketches, drawings, paintings, & more
  • Acid-free hardbound book

 Cons 

  • Sketchbook only has 32 pages in total

9. Canson Universal White Sketch Pads, 9″x12″

Due to the versatile surface of each page, this sketch pad opens up plenty of possibilities to create a variety of art projects. In total, there are 100 sheets of paper included, which are acid-free and bleed-proof. Plus, the book comes with 65-pound weight paper.

One pleasant surprise you’ll encounter while using this sketch pad is that the pages don’t tend to wrinkle when you’re erasing over them. Additionally, the pencils don’t smear on the pages, which is a frustrating issue that a lot of sketchbooks can’t solve.

This one, on the other hand, does it successfully. You’ll be able to draw perfectly fine, adding as many details as needed as well as creating more depth to your drawings.

While you’re doing that, the ink doesn’t pass through the paper, ensuring the option to use the other side of the page without issues.

Something you may not like about this product is the serrated seam to remove pages. It isn’t ideal because it often creates rips.

 Pros 

  • Versatile pages for art projects
  • Comes with 100 sheets of paper
  • Acid-free & bleed-proof pages

 Cons 

  • Serrated seam may cause rips while you try to remove the pages

10. Canson XL Series Marker Paper Pad

This product features semi-translucent white paper ideal for drawing or designing rough sketches to finished forms. The paper works incredibly well with art utensils like pen, pencil, as well as with alcohol or solvent markers.

The paper pad measures 9×12-inch, offering 100 sheets for your projects. Also, the paper is foldable, acid-free, and weighs 70 grams.

Even though the pad may seem too thin, the paper is bleed-proof and comfortably smooth. After spending some time doing sketches on it, there’s still no sign of any bleed through that could mess up the pages.

Nonetheless, and precisely due to the thin design of the pages, you must be cautious while doing some tasks. For instance, you must be careful to avoid wrinkling the paper while using the eraser.

Other than that, this paper pad does very well. It’s compatible with alcohol-based markers as well as Sharpies and many more, making this product a good purchase if you already have a collection of pens.

 Pros 

  • Features semi-translucent white paper
  • Works with pen, pencil, & markers
  • Thin pages that don’t bleed through

 Cons 

  • Pages are somewhat fragile, requiring users to be cautious

Things to Consider Before Choosing Sketchbooks

What do you need to know before purchasing? Here are some of the features that would be better to keep in mind.

Weight of the Paper

Here’s how you know which is the most suitable sketchbook paper for you, depending on their weight.

75-90 GSM: These are ideal as sketching or practice paper. Due to their thickness, they’re compatible with pencils, charcoal, or even pastels. However, paper within this weight range could be too thin for ink, leading to bleed-through issues.

100-130 GSM: This drawing paper comes in handy for finished artwork in almost all media. As mentioned before, anything lighter than 70lb could have bleed-through issues.

180-260 GSM: Here’s the heavy-weight drawing paper, bristol, and the multi-media papers. Anything in this range shares many similarities to card stock as well as light poster board.

Around 300 GSM: These are the most suitable for painting instead of drawing. Sketchbooks with papers within this weight range are rougher, ideal for watercolor journals.

Paper texture

The texture of the paper is an essential feature that we can’t ignore. Earlier in the article, we briefly mentioned that smooth pages are the ideal choice if you’re using water-based or alcohol-based markers, mostly due to the paper’s friendliness to their nibs.

Naturally, a rough paper could also be more suitable for other tasks, but when it comes to the types of markers mentioned above, smoothness is always better.

Besides being friendly to the markers nibs, smooth texture allows the ink to spread better into the fiber. It avoids issues like bleeding through the pages.

Alternatively, you could opt to have mildly textured paper, often called fine or medium grain.

Number of Pages

Considering your paying a fair share of your money for the sketchbook and that inspiration may come at a moment’s notice, having more pages is always convenient.

As seen during our reviews, the number of sheets offered per product could vary, with some offering 34 pages and others more than 100.

Either way, the number of pages is equally as relevant as the quality of the paper itself when you’re purchasing a sketchbook.

Of course, if you’re not an active artist and only need the sketchbook for sporadic use, then fewer pages could also do the trick for you.

Shape and Size

Although the size of the sketchbook varies depending on the brand that produces it, there are several standard sizes that most companies use for their products.

Depending on your needs, most suppliers would offer multiple versions of the same sketchbook in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.

In the United States, the most common sketchbook sizes are 4×6″, 5×7″, 7×10″, 8.5×11″, 9×12″, and 11×14-inch for the hard, durable cover sketchbooks. On the other hand, spiral bind and tape-bound paper pads measure 14×17-inch, 18×24-inch, and 24×36-inch.

Those are some of the most standard sizes available. As with anything else, choosing one out of those options ultimately depends on the artist’s preferences.

Non-Bleed Option

Ink bleeding through the pages is an issue that most artists face almost inevitably, whether during the early stages of their careers or somewhere down the road. Sadly, even though art suppliers claim their sketchbooks are bleed-proof, that’s not always the case.

The tricky part about the bleed-proof sketchbooks is that they must have perfect thick paper quality, not too much but not too little either.

If the sketchbook meets the standard, then a properly-sized page will be able to spread the ink appropriately through the fiber while avoiding bleeding through.

Since it can be tough to find a real non-bleed sketchbook, we recommend sticking to our reviewed products.

People Also Ask Some Questions (FAQ)

Q: Are Moleskine sketchbooks good for markers?

Not entirely. For instance, the Moleskine Art Sketchbook isn’t suitable for alcohol-based markers, Copic, and Sharpies because they bleed through. However, ink from the Diamine Black Onyx and the Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Black don’t bleed through.

Q: Is cardstock good for Copic markers?

Yes, but not all cardstock does the trick when it comes to Copic markers. Consider options like the X-Press It Blending Card, which is one of the most appropriate cardstock choices if you’re using Copic markers.

Q: Can I use Copic on regular paper?

Technically, you can use Copic markers on every type of paper you want. However, to get the best results, you’d have to go for the Copic paper, which is the ideal choice for Copic markers. The key to using Copic markers is to have a proper paper that won’t suck up the ink too quickly.

Q: What to do when ink bleeds through paper?

There are many ways in which you can proceed if this issue happens to you. You could either use a finer nib to avoid pooled ink, change to drier ink, or decrease the ink flow by compressing the tines of the pen.
As a last resource, try another type of paper.

Final Words

It may not seem like it, but a high-quality sketchbook makes an incredible difference in the quality of your work.

Besides highlighting the ink properties, the pages allow it to spread through the fiber to guarantee vibrant, colorful art.

After learning more about the best sketchbooks for markers, now it’s your turn to pick one of the many options and start putting your ideas onto the paper.

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Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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