I’m a sketchbook addict - there, I’ve said it. I discovered the joy of sketchbooks over 40 years ago, and have a collection going back to the 1980s. Around 2008, I found the Urban Sketchers movement where quick drawings of our surroundings are made, usually in ink and in a sketchbook. After some research I realised that the book of choice seemed to be a Moleskine, so after further searching, I settled on a watercolour version as my weapon of choice and off I went, happily filling numerous books over the next few years. All was good, until around 2017,when the book I was using seemed very unhappy when I added watercolour to my drawings: at first I blamed my technique, but some further online research revealed that their paper quality had altered. Eureka..not me after all!!!!
My search for a replacement finally led me to the Seawhite Watercolour journals, and I have used them ever since. The first thing that struck me was that the sizes available were more user-friendly: the A5 landscape version (the one I use most) was perfect- better proportioned than the Moleskine large I’d been using. The 200g watercolour paper with its slightly rough texture (officially NOTsurface) takes ink lines extremely well, and using watercolour washes to my drawings has never been easier. The paper quality is consistently high, as is the binding used: even after much use, the books still look as they did when the wrapper came off. Each book has an elastic retaining band, a useful pocket on the inside back cover as well as a ribbon marker so you can find where you were in the book’s 60 pages. For me, though, the best feature of the books is that they open flat across any two page spread with no force, due to the binding method used - just perfect for a panoramic drawing, especially landscapes. This was a real joy when I first realised it : my previous Moleskine books had to be really manhandled to lat anywhere near flat, or needed a bulldog clip on both ends, which intrudes into the usable paper space.
The paper itself is sturdy enough to allow the use of both sides - another bonus for this Yorkshireman. I use Daniel Smith watercolours, which are extremely rich in terms of pigment, but there’s never been even a hint of show-through in any of my growing pile of Seawhite books. I mainly use the A5 landscape version, but the A6 size is perfect to slip in a jacket pocket, and the newest size-the 140mm square book- is perfect when opened flat across two of its pages to produce a nearly A4 landscape spread.
In short - I cannot recommend these sketchbooks highly enough: if you like line and wash, they are absolutely perfect; pure watercolour painting is a joy, too, and pencil sketching works equally well. Buy one, or more….you won’t regret it.
For more information or if you would like to purchase the Seawhite Watercolour Travel Journal, Click Here
Product Photography - Sandra Manchester