This did not go as planned! But I tried to save it as much as I can hehe. I’m still getting used to the kind of watercolor paper Moleskine has. It absorbs the colors too fast for me; I still have to figure out how to paint on it properly. I’ve tried gouache on this though and it was more manageable.
Right now, Moleskine is the only brand I know which has portable sketchbooks with real watercolor paper available in Manila. It’s pricey (easily one of the most expensive art materials I have ever bought, around 800 pesos, or a bit more) but I like the size and portability, and how it’s bound. I’m using the large watercolor notebook. Again, I’m not used to the paper yet so I’m not happy with it yet haha. In the future, though, I’m thinking of cutting up watercolor sheets instead and having them book bound, rather than getting another Moleskine.
I’ve also tried the Monologue sketchbooks. They come in a variety of sizes which range from around 300-800 pesos.They don’t have actual watercolor variations but their paper can hold light watercolor drawings, and are also very good for pencil sketches. The same goes for the ring bound Muji sketchpads. I got one as a present, but I think they cost a little below 300 pesos. They’re okay for light watercolors, and ink also doesn’t bleed as much into the paper grain.
I keep a different sketchbook for my stamp and ink print works because they are much messier and I don’t want my watercolors to have ink all over them all the time. Right now, I’m using a 5.5 x 8.5 in Peter Pauper Premium sketchbook I found in Fully Booked. It has archival paper, perforated pages, and is hardbound. If I remember correctly, it costs more or less 300 pesos. Not bad at all.
I’ve also kept a number of generic Best Buy sketchpads through the years and they work fine if you’re not too keen on paper quality and binding. I use them for pencils, thumbnail sketches, and my five-minute fakes. My best reco for practice sketchpads, especially for ink sketches, are the ones in National Bookstore with the Care Bears printed on the cover! I’m not sure if they’re acid-free (they are probably not), but for practice, I’m really happy with them. The paper holds ink well and doesn’t ugly-bleed (inventing a word here). The last time I checked, each costs only 35 pesos. You can wrap the cover if you don’t like the Care Bears print haha OR you can let the cover grow on you.
What are your favorite sketchbook brands? :) And what are your favorite kinds of paper to draw and paint on?