Caerina Abrenica - Illustration & design


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I just finished a sketchbook but what do I use next?!


As I come to the last page of my sketchbook, I'm wondering what sketchbook I should use next. Here's a post about some of the books i've used over the months that gave me a certain vibe to each.

I bought this book from a zine fair at my school from Christine Tebogt. The pages are smooth and blank. I didn't touch this one for a while cause it felt too nice to use at the time but I later got over the fact that sketchbooks are meant to be USED. Didn't have issues with bleeding and I enjoyed sketching with markers I bought from Daiso as seen in the first few images. I started to experiment with pencil but found that the paper was too smooth for it and would rather use paper with a bit of tooth for pencil. I enjoyed the size of the book and started to collage my sketches to make the pages appear more full. If I wanted to draw a single image on a page, I could.

I had a lot of fun with this next one. I bought it at Hanji and the paper feels a bit better than newsprint. What I liked the best about this one was that half of the pages were partially blank (feint line in the middle), and the other side would be grid. I especially enjoyed the grid because the colour wasn't too harsh. I experienced bleeding issues, particularly when using Tombow markers. I find this sketchbook to be meant more for pencil, pen, pencil crayons and some light markers which I prefer to sketch with anyways. I continue to approach sketching in a collage type manner from my last sketchbook.

This small little book was dedicated to a challenge my friend and I decided to do spontaneously. We decided to draw in it at least once a day for the 30 pages in the book. I wanted to practice developing characters so I chose to do full figures in a Pentel brush pen. The quality of the paper was smooth and had a medium thickness. Thicker than your average paper, but experienced bleeding in some places where my ink was more dense. This book is fun for small spot images and doodles. I also bought this one from Hanji and they have different animals and colours to choose from!

My most recent book is this hardcover Handbook. I personally found it challenging to use at first because of the odd size. It was also kind of awkward to draw in because my hand would rest on both the book and surface I was drawing on, as opposed to having my hand fully rest on the book. The paper is also thicker than what i'm used to and has some tooth to it. I realized I could have experimented with mixed media more in this since bleeding was definitely not an issue. I just bought a new .25 pen at Muji at the time so I just wanted to keep drawing with it. I bought this book at Above Ground and they have different sizes and colours. Also, the pocket at the back is plus even tho I never used it lol

Conclusion! Some things to consider before purchasing a sketchbook:

  • Purpose?
  • Size?
  • Paper? (texture, tone)
  • Medium you will be using in it
  • Bleeding
  • Portability
  • Have you finished the last one you bought? (lol guilty of buying new books without finishing/touching other ones I bought)

Personally, I found I enjoy sketching in a fine black pen, Daiso/Tombow markers and a brush pen. Paper with a bit of texture and perhaps a tone worked with my mediums. I prefer books in the size as the first two in this post and I always look for portability since I always carry my book to sketch when I travel and chill at cafes. 

I hope this was helpful/insightful in some way. Writing this post also made me aware of my own preferences for sketchbooks, however I think i'll keep experimenting on different books depending on the purpose. Thanks for reading if you got this far!