In my last blog, I shared my review of 6 different alcohol markers. The next question always is: 'Which sketchbook is best for alcohol markers? Of course, I'm more than happy to buy even more sketchbooks than I need and test them extensively. This is the result: my experience with 4 different alcohol marker sketchbooks in a row for you. At the end of the blog, I'll share the newest addition to my collection!
By the way, do you prefer to work on separate sheets of paper instead of in sketchbooks? Then I recommend using Bristol or marker paper. You can find more information about this in this blog.
Nice geprijsd, nice resultaat: Ohuhu Marker Pad
Ohuhu not only produces very fine (and very affordable) alcohol markers, but also offers matching sketchbooks. This Marker Pad is available in 3 sizes: 17,5 x 16,5 cm, 21 x 21 cm and A4 size.
This sketchbook scores a lot of points! It has 30 pages and firm, smooth, white paper of 200 gsm. The cover looks pretty chic with a kind of leather look, there's a sturdy soft elastic band around it and there's a reading ribbon inside. The sketchbook lies flat when you open it and the pages all have a perforation on the side. Did your illustration succeed (or failed miserably)? Then you can easily take out that page.
Are there any disadvantages? A small disadvantage, but Ohuhu has a nice solution for it. This paper does bleed through, but you get a soft flexible plastic sheet with every sketchbook. Just place it behind your page and the ink won't bleed onto the next page. Problem solved!
Available starting at €10,99 on Amazon
A great combi: MyArtBook with UltraSmooth paper
If you've been following my blog for a while now, you've seen MyArtBook before. I got this sketchbook from paper supplier Papicolor and ordered their UltraSmooth paper myself to test with alcohol markers. And that works! The paper of 140 gsm is incredibly smooth and alcohol markers work perfectly on it. I did most of my Inktober portraits in this sketchbook. Although a ring binder still isn't my favorite, it's nice that you can put your own favorite paper in it. Especially if you like to work with many different materials, this is a handy solution.
The only thing you still have to deal with is the bleed-through of the markers. I discussed this with Papicolor. At Ohuhu you get that plastic sheet, but Papiolor, as a paper supplier, wanted a more environmentally friendly solution. A few days later Papicolor called me back to tell me they had already found a solution: their own, 'Curious Translucent' paper. A sheet of this paper behind the page and the alcohol markers won't bleed onto the next page. Of course I tested this for you, and indeed: works like a charm. Order a package of the transparent paper with the UltraSmooth paper and you're good to go!
All different MyArtBook sizes and the paper are available here.
A setback: Crescent's Rendr Sketchbook
I saw this sketchbook on YouTube (watching illustrator vlogs is my favorite Sunday afternoon activity :-). Everyone seemed lyrical about this sketchbook, because the paper prevents ink from bleeding through and even promises 'No show thru' on the back.
I quickly ordered one and my expectations were high. Too high. Indeed alcohol markepapers don't bleed through or show on the other side of the paper, no matter how many times you layer the ink. I think there is some kind of coating on the paper that prevents this. Very nice, but that coating is also the problem. The result became very streaky. The ink seems to stay on the paper, so it doesn't blend well or even forms a shiny layer sometimes. The promised 'flat lay' is also disappointing. A great sketchbook for fineliners for example, but unfortunately not for my alcohol markers.
Available starting at € 12,58 on Amazon
My new favorite: Comic Book by Clairefontaine
A last minute addition to this blog and what a great one!
A week ago I received the newsletter of Hobbyshop-online, announcing that they had new sketchbooks by the brand Clairefontaine in their shop. Clairefontaine is known for the Rhodia paper (very nice for brush pens and calligraphy) and the Paint On paper, which I like to use for mixed media. This new sketchbook is specially made for alcohol markers. With paper that is not bleeding through and is suitable for double-sided use. I immediately send an e-mail to Hobbyshop-online to ask if they'd like me to review the sketchbook. The next day I found one on my doormat (thank you!).
Because of my experience with the Rendr sketchbook I was skeptical. I opened the Comic Book at the back to swatch some colors (I always swatch on the last page) and the first color bled through immediately. Say what?! I checked again...only to find out that the first and last sheets are thinner sheets of paper. Oops, my mistake ;-).
I grabbed one of the thicker pages for attempt number 2 and yes: per-fect. The colors blended evenly and the paper doesn't bleed through at all! You don't see anything on the other side of the paper, so you can use all 32 pages on both sides. Win win.
This paper is again nice and white and firm: 220 gsm. The paper is fairly smooth and gets a bit rougher when yo,u've colored on it with alcohol markers. Which I personally like, because it creates a bit more structure to draw an extra layer with colored pencils - which I also like to do. More good news? This sketchbook also has a real 'flat lay': the sketchbook lies completely flat when you open it.
So are there any disadvantages?*update 2021 Yes, actually there are 2 flaws. It can take a while for the ink to get to the right color, so you don't see right away what the final result is. Also, when layering, the ink feathers out more than in the other marker sketchbooks. Something to take into account while drawing (read: color well inside the lines). But despite these flaws, this might be one of my new favorite sketchbooks for alcohol markers!
Available in various sizes via Hobbyshop-online.
Join me! Online course with alcohol markers.
Do you want more tips about alcohol markers so you can fill your own sketchbook? I've got you covered with my new Dutch course 'Illustrative portraits with alcohol markers'. In 5 lessons I'll show you how to illustrate with alcohol markers, how to sketch faces, and how to make nice illustrative portraits using reference pictures.
The English edition will follow as soon as possible when enough people are interested. Would you be interested in this course in English? Send me an e-mail and I’ll put you on the mailing list!
PS The links in this article are mostly affiliate links. Are you planning on buying one of the sketchbooks? It would really help me if you order using these links! It won’t cost you a,,nything extra, but I’ll earn a small percentage of the purchase. Which will help me write more of these blogs. Thank you so much!