How to Choose a Journal

How to Choose a Journal

In response to questions I have made a video on How to Choose a Journal. Hopefully people who are looking for a journal that they can both write and sketch in, will find my thoughts useful. If you want to write in a journal or sketch in journal choices are easier than if you want to mix the two activities in one book.

To summarise what I look for when I choose a journal is
Size – it has to fit in my handbag
Paper weight and quality – I like to be able to sketch
A stitched binding must be strong as glued books fall apart with heavy use
Archival paper is good
Extras like ribbon markers and envelopes at the back ( these are nice to have and not deal breakers)

The Journal I will use next is a Daler and Rowney which is 150 gsm cartridge paper. I have used these sketchbooks before and will report on how this one performs but I expect it to be suitable for what I need it for.
The Square journal in the video is a Hahnemühle is 140 gsm and made for dry media but will take a bit of wet media.

Other journals discussed are the Stillman and Brin range and Strathmore sketchbooks. They are great for sketching but expensive to glue stuff into!

I hope you enjoy “How to Choose a Journal” leave questions in the comments if you have any.

In a Minute Ago delivered to your inbox
Use the subscribe feature in the sidebar. Enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you activate it and you are all set!
If you are on a mobile or tablet you will need to scroll to the bottom to find the subscribe feature.


  1. Drooling over the goodies! I love Seawhite, very well made, good paper, 140 gm but double sized; they will take a reasonable amount of sloshing, and very reasonably priced.

    Jules Woolford
    1. Yes I like the Seawhite too – I have only ever used 1 that I picked up in the UK at Cass Art (who have a website but do not post to Australia) so I checked out elsewhere – Amazon UK sell them at $28 + postage (Australia) so to get them here would work out as expensive as some of the top name brands in sketchbooks. I do plan on picking up a few when over there however as you are right the double sizing means they are very useful little book!

      Sharon B
  2. My latest journal (of my recent trip to Italy) is in Kikki-K “Take Note” journal. It’s probably not great for wet media, but I don’t do much painting (yet). What I like about this book is that each page is printed (or not printed) with a different background. Some have lines, some have spots or a grid; some pages are white, some are coloured but otherwise blank. I found this encouraged the creative direction of my journalling, and it was especially good for a holiday where I didn’t want to spend too much time journalling but I wanted to create memory prompts for the future.

    1. Hi,
      I’ve been trying to find the journal with blank, lined and dotted pages to no avail.
      Even on Kikki-K website. Is this because your comment was made some years ago and they’re Jo longer available please?

      1. Judith if you want all three in one book I have not seen one but if you want a blank journal or one with squares there are many ie look for the European brands such a Leuchtturm – Moleskine has a squared or dotted or blank journal too. Google it and plenty turn up but not all 3 together.

        Sharon B
        1. Thank you very much. J

          I’ve been trying to find the journal with blank, lined and dotted pages to no avail.
          Even on Kikki-K website. Is this because your comment was made some years ago and they’re Jo longer available please?

  3. Hi Sharon, oh, I will be a follower, thats quite sure – …and be reminded of lessons in your wonderful Studio Journal class – which opened my eyes for seeing and – photographing — so much more things in my environment. Thank you for this possibility.

  4. Lots of good tips here thanks. Like the idea of a handbag square type journal. Your drawing is amazing, I wish I could draw like that…
    Will definitely start researching what’s available near me book wise. Can’t wait for next tip x

    Gillian Green
  5. Your blog title, In A Minute Ago, seems to fit journaling somehow. This is basically what you told us in your Studio Journal class, but it was a good refresher and I really enjoyed hearing your voice. LOL I also enjoyed the subtitles. Whatever creates them does not understand your accent (so I imagine it’s American –I don’t even know why I had them). Fortunately, I have no problem understanding you and don’t need the subtitles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *