Searching the perfect sketchbook: review MyArtBook by Papicolor.
If you love drawing, you're probably familiar with this dilemma. The quest for the ultimate sketchbook. One that looks good, isn't too expensive and most importantly: has the perfect paper. Because some paper is better for pencils, other paper more suitable for markers and watercolor paper is a league of it's own. Taking 3 separate sketchbooks with you all the time isn't really an option. Papicolor (a distributor of paper goods) brings a (or maybe even the) solution: MyArtBook.
MyArtBook in one paragraph
Actually this is more a sketch folder than a sketchbook. MyArtBook has a hardcover and a 6-ring binder. Available in A5, A4 and A3 size. The cover is a flip-cover that folds back entirely, turning it into a kind of clipboard. The folder also has 2 elastic bands. They’re not fixed to the cover, but you slide them through little holes. This way you can use the elastic bands however you like.
A ring binder; how do I feel about that?
To be honest: when I first heard about MyArtBook, the idea of a ring binder didn’t make me jump for joy. But I must say my opinion has shifted a bit since I got to use MyArtBook in real life. Since the flip-cover is folded all the way back, the folder is much more convenient than expected. Are you a lefty or do you want to draw something on the other side of the paper? You can easily flip the paper and click it back into the ring binder.
While drawing I did notice I turn my paper quite a lot. So the ring binder does get in the way sometimes. Benefit to this system is the fact that you can temporarily take your paper out of the sketch folder, which obviously isn’t possible in a sketchbook with a fixed cover.
Another plus: did your drawing turned out brilliantly or do you want to gift it to someone? MyArtBook has got your back. Each page has a perforated edge, so taking it out of your sketchbook is easy. The part where the ring binder holes are placed, is ‘extra’. So what’s left once you tear your paper out is the actual size of the paper: A5, A4 or A3.
And did your drawing or sketch failed miserably and you can’t stand to look at it any longer? No problem, you just take out the entire page without damaging your sketchbook. Come to think of it, I see more and more possibilities to this ring binder ;-)
The flip-cover: Urban Sketch-proof
Because of the flippable hardcover you have a nice firm background to work on. Obviously most of us are working from home right now. But once it’s allowed again, we’ll be gamboling outside like cows in springtime. I’m definitely gonna pick up Urban Sketching again (= drawing outside or on location). I think the flip-cover will be perfect for that!
This is the part of MyArtBook I was immediately pumped about. There are 13 different types of paper, available in sets of 10 or 20 sheets. So you can assemble your ideal paper combination! Papicolor is a distributor of paper, envelopes and handlettering products. So you know the paper quality is gonna be solid.
I was treated to a test package containing:
20 sheets ‘recycled kraft sketch/drawing paper’ (110 gsm)
10 sheets ‘ultrawhite mixed media / watercolour paper’ (200 gsm)
10 sheets ‘black sketch/drawing paper’ (210 gsm)
Mixed media / watercolor papier: test test test
I definitely put this paper to the test and I love it! I tried acrylic markers, watercolors and gouache. Everything was smooth sailing. You can even work on both sides of the paper without any issues. The paper has a light structure to it, but is fairly smooth overall. I’m curious to see if the 350 grams watercolour paper is any different. I don’t mind a little bit more structure when it comes to watercolor.
Black paper: approved
I also enjoyed this black paper. The black color has a nice intensity, it’s firm and colors really pop off the page (like the colors of the Sakura Gelly rolls that I used).
Recycled kraft paper: better than expected
This paper definitely delivered way better than I expected upfront. I tried different pens and markers on the paper and there was no ghosting or bleeding! Only after a couple of layers with a black brushpen it started showing on the other side of the paper.
When it comes to materials that are more ‘wet’ (like Ecoline brushpennen or watercolors) this paper isn’t meant for that. But even so: as long as I stuck to one layer, I was still able to work with them. If you start using multiple layers of wet materials, the paper will start to crumble. So I’ll probably stick to pencils, fineliners and markers with this one.
Curious to testing more paper
Because I work with colored pencils a lot, I’m definitely gonna try the White drawing papier. I also put in an order for the 160 gsm Ultrasmooth paper to test my alcoholmarkers on (update: that works really well!).
Pick your color
An update on this blog: by now there are 4 colors available! Black, Dusty blue, Dusty pink and a soft Lime green.
Any disadvantages to MyArtBook?
I must say that the size of the sketchbook/-folder isn’t the most convenient to carry around with you in a smaller bag. The folder is bigger than the actual paper size. Take the A5 folder; it measures 19,5 by 24 cm and has a thickness of 3 cm. Normally A5 is 14,8 by 21 cm, so the folder is almost closer to A4 size. I like to carry my sketchbook with me wherever I go, but it does take up way more space in my bag than my other A5 sketchbooks.
Second remark: at some point the paper in your book is full of drawings. Of course it’s a plus that you can replace that paper with fresh blank sheets. But what’s left is a collection of loose pages, which you have to store somewhere. The reason I prefer to work in sketchbooks, is not having single pages lying around. Maybe Papicolor can come up with some nice paper boxes to store these pages in*...?
*be right back, I need to pitch this business-idea now.
How much is it?
You’re paying € 18,65 for the A5-size book. A4 and A3 cost €22,20 and €34,40. The A5 paper sheets start at €2,70 for 10 or 20 sheets. The paper sets I currently hold in MyArtBook are €9,65 combined. I think I can easily put another set in there. That means you pay €12,50 for a well-stocked sketchbook of 50 tot 60 sheets (= 100 pages). Plus a one-time investment in the cover. That’s a pretty decent price!
Since I’ve been using MyArtBook for only 2 week now, I’m not sure about the durability yet. But everything feels well though of and quality made, so I think this will last you quite a while.
So Nienke, do I need to buy another new sketchbook?
Well…are you really fond of one typical type of paper, do you prefer to keep your sketches collected in one sketchbook or do you want to carry your sketchbook with you all the time? Than this might not be the ultimate sketchbook for you.
But do you like to work on several types of paper, draw on location a lot or are you like me and just can’t control yourself when spotting a new sketchbook? Then I say: order right here!
Any questions left about MyArtBook? Let me know in the comments down below or drop me a message on Instagram.
PS The links in this article are affiliate links. Do you want to buy MyArtBook? It would really help me if you order using these links! It won’t cost you anything extra, but I’ll earn a small percentage of the sales made. Which helps me writing more of these blogs. Thank you so much!