I really love making sketchbooks but sometimes time and/or energy are in sort supply so I always see this as an opportunity to test out a new sketchbook brand. I bought a Pith sketchbook a few months ago after a friend recommended it to be good for watercolour and it's been sat on the shelf ...until now!
We were isolating over Christmas when my sketchbook ran out and I couldn't go to my studio to collect my paper and binding kit so just had to use what I could find in the house. The full and honest disclosure is that I was quite nervous of using the Pith book as I had purposely bought a bigger size than normal ... A4 rather than A5 ish). When opened it created a huge expanse of A3 white space and when I first looked at it I opened it up then closed it again and put it back on the shelf!
Brave pants on, I decided the best thing to do was to create a test page of some of the materials I like using and some of the new materials I had hanging around the house. I had great fun and would recommend this for anyone who is fearful of the first blank page of a sketchbook. You could paint a little block of colour for every paint palette in your paintbox or test out what marks all your pencils make. Without the intention and pressure of having to creative something 'good', the fear is lost with the bonus of developing knowledge and experience of your tools. Giving yourself full permission to make a mess is the best way of overcoming The Fear!
I've nearly worked through my sketchbook now using a broad range of materials and can tell you that Pith Sketchbooks are really good.. I will definitely purchase one again.
Here's what I like:
Pith are a sustainable company who plant trees on your behalf when you buy a product..nice!
The sketchbook opens up completely flat making it great to work on if your sketches stretch across the page. (This is because of the type of binding which is exposed spine and a nice touch)
The paper is good quality, off-white, acid-free with a medium tooth texture. It's good for a wide range of media, both dry and wet. At 170 GSM, it doesn't buckle with light washes and has minimal bleed through. There's an artist's review here on the Pith blog
I like a hard cover and particularly like the bright colour range of board covers which you can decorate yourself with paint or collage
The minimal aesthetic is nice.
With each purchase you get sent a 'desk meadow' (pack of seeds) and postcards with artwork submitted by artists.
They are a bit pricey...starting at £12.99 for an A6 sketchbook.
I'm annoyed that the A5 sketchbook only comes in a landscape format which I always find, when opened up, becomes a bit too long. Having said that, the notebooks can also be used as sketchbooks and come in a better range of sizes but with slightly thinner paper.
Check out Pith sketchbooks HERE
(This review is unpaid/unsponsored)