Blank notebooks offer a great opportunity for you to express your creativity through writing, sketching, painting, or otherwise. They also serve as a portal into your mind as you flip back through them after they’re done. Some will be better than others, however, depending on the use you have in mind. You might be on the hunt for a journal that travels well, or for one with paper that stands up to your drawing implements, or for one that is attractive and will display nicely. No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got a recommendation for you. Check out our five favorite blank notebooks below.
1. Canson Artist Series Field Drawing Book
This 7-by-10-inch spiral-bound notebook is easy to travel with and opens to a completely flat drawing surface. The cover is sturdy yet flexible and stays secure thanks to the double wire construction of the spirals. Find inside 60 sheets of 90-pound (147-gram) cream paper that is acid free, opaque, and thick enough to use on both sides. We also like that each sheet features two textures, with one having finer tooth than the other. You can decorate these pages with fountain pens, felt-tip pens, and other inky implements; you can even cover them in paint with only minimal warping.
Canson Artist Series Field Drawing Book
2. Field Notes Ruled Paper Notebooks
If you like to carry a sketchbook at all times, consider these mini notebooks from Chicago-based purveyors Field Notes. Designed to resemble the old-timey notebooks of scientific researchers, they measure just 3½ by 5½ inches and feature flexible covers so you can easily slip them into a jacket or pants pocket. Each notebook features 24 sheets of durable and plain white Kraft paper. The pages are ideal for use with pencil, graphite, charcoal, and some inks, but we recommend testing before using heavier markers, as bleed-through can occur. These are sold in packs of three so you can stock up or give one to a friend.
Field Notes Ruled Paper Notebooks
3. Moleskine Classic Notebook
Moleskine’s notebooks are an industry classic, and we’re partial to the hardcover options, which feature a durable leatherlike cover to protect your work and thoughts. Each features 240 blank pages and an elastic band that holds it closed when not in use. The book measures 5 by 8.25 inches and is super thin, ideal for those who often travel with their notebook, and it includes a slim interior pocket to hold any loose items you might want to keep together. Though the company’s most popular color is black, this notebook is available in more than a dozen shades, from classic navy and hunter green to bright red and rose-petal pink. The pages generally do exhibit more bleed-through than those of our top pick, but this notebook remains one of the most sophisticated you can get.
Moleskine Classic Notebook
4. Ashley Hardcover Blank Book
It can be hard to find a completely blank, all-white notebook free of branding. This low-price option is a great one. It measures 6 by 8 inches and features just 14 sheets of paper—perfect for brief mementos. The paper has subtle tooth and takes well to writing, sketching, and coloring whether with crayons, pen and ink, markers, or watercolors. They are thick to resist bleed-through but will ripple a bit with more fluid media. The hard cover presents a clean surface and is finished with a book-like spine so the final project will look at home on any shelf.
Ashley Hardcover Blank Book
5. Strathmore 400 Series Visual Drawing Journal
This pick is similar to our top choice but is a somewhat smaller and less expensive alternative. Also spiral-bound, it contains 42 sheets of 100-pound (63-gram) blank paper that is ideal for sketching, charcoal, markers, paint, and more. These pages feel almost like cardstock, yet they are easy to tear out without warping the spiral. With its colorful drawing and balloon lettering, the cover might be a little loud for some people’s tastes—but we suppose you could always paint it over.
Strathmore 400 Series Visual Drawing Journal