My favorite and cheapest sketchbook: Gerstaecker’s I LOVE ART
A great sketchbook that’s also cheap. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I found a sketchbook that I love working in on a daily basis. It costs less than 2 euros and has paper that can handle lots of different material. Are you getting curious yet? Hurry on and don’t stop reading then!
Sketchbook / sketchcahier
Okay, a little disclaimer in advance. Sketchbookmight be too big of a word. I’m talking about the I LOVE ART Tekencahier by Gerstaecker. It had 40 pages (20 sheets), a firm paper cover and 2 staples in the middle.
About the brand Gerstaecker
A little background information for those interested. Gerstaecker is an art supply chain with multiple stores in the Netherlands. ‘I LOVE ART’ is their own product line where you get nice value for money. Or as they state on their website: “…meant for the price conscious artists, beginners or heavy users”.
For international readers: take a look at Seawhite
The quality of the paper as well as the price of this little sketchbook by Gerstaecker is pretty comparable with the cahiers by Seawhite (which I know you can get internationally). So if you run into that somewhere: go for it!
Enough talking about brands; back to the sketchbook. I got this book during an ‘Art Based Learning’ event in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (for those not familiar with ABL, I’ will definitely write a blog about it, because I highly recommend it!). The sketchbook we received wasn’t a fancy sketchbook. Just a simple cahier with firm pages and a black paper cover. That simplicity is exactly the reason why I became such a fan of this sketchbook!
Freedom to mess around
After the event I grabbed the sketchbook once in a while when I just wanted to practice or test a certain material. Because this isn’t some beautiful (and expensive) sketchbook, I didn’t mind getting messy. Mind blown: that’s what sketchbooks are all about! I noticed a kept on using this sketchbook instead of my fancy Mossery. Because that one is so pretty, I was afraid to mess it up. Relatable anyone ;-)?
I LOVE ART, I love the paper
I also noticed fairly quickly how much I loved the paper in these I Love art cahiers. Most cheap sketchbooks have thin, rubbish paper. This paper is nice and firm 140 gsm, crispy white plus it has a little texture to it. Just the way I like it!
Colored pencil, fineliners, gouache: it all works on this paper. And although it’s not aquarelle paper, you can also work with watercolors (just don’t rework the paper too much when it’s still wet). Another plus: these cahiers are light and handy to carry around with you.
What about the price?
Hold on to your chair: an A5 sized cahier is only €1,55, A4 is €2,50 and the A3 size costs you €3,65. If you buy them in a set of 3 you pay even less. Only €1,14 per A5 cahier!
Is this the end of expensive sketchbooks?
Does this mean I will never buy a more expensive sketchbook again? Hahahaha. Nope. I fear I will never be able to resist a beautiful sketchbook with a great design, lovely paper and lots of pages.
Perfectionist? Performance anxiety? This is your sketchbook. I hear it all time during the workshops that I host, I it used to be my issue too. "I’m afraid it will fail", "I don’t wanna ruin my sketchbook" or "If this drawing turns out ugly, my whole sketchbook is ugly".
But the whole idea of keeping a sketchbook is for you to practice and make mistakes! You can’t improve your drawing without practicing. And those paralyzing beautiful ‘Sketchbook Tours’ on Instagram and YouTube? A lot of bad drawings preceded those. But that’s something nobody’s shows online…
‘We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.’ - Walt Stanchfield
This is the reason I will keep buying those I Love Art sketchbooks. It helps me overcoming my fear of bad drawings and ugly sketchbooks. It makes me do what I was meant to do in a sketchbook: sketching, practicing, messing around, making mistakes, learning and growing.
Is any of this relatable? Will you go and buy these sketchbooks? Let me know in the comments or on my Instagram!
P.S.When you place small orders at Gerstaecker, the shipping cost are pretty high at the moment. If you live near one of the stores, I definitely recommend swinging by. I can’t be held responsible though for any other art supplies that end up in your shopping basket once you’re there ;-)