How to Make an “All-in-One” Multipurpose Sketchbook Journal

By Adriana Guidi in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

I love buying sketchbook journals. You see them all the time on the internet, and anywhere that sells art supplies. With all the various colors and designs I’m like a kid in a candy store; I want to buy them all!

If you’re an artist, you’ve probably bought a few yourself. There are ones for watercolor, mixed media, oils, and of course, some for just sketching. But while I love all my different mediums and want the option to use any of them at a moments notice, I hate always having to carry a ton of sketchbooks around with me.

So I came up with an idea—combine all the papers I like into one book.

In the photo below you’ll see that I’ve gathered together all the different art papers I have in my collection. You can use whatever combination of watercolor, mixed media, charcoal, pastel and oil papers you prefer. . . you could even grab a selection of colored paper as well!


I decided to cut my papers into smaller 5.5” x 8.5”pieces, just like one of the small journals you would buy at the store. It’s easy to carry, and still has every type of paper I might want. To keep them organized, I’ve made holes in the papers using a 3-hole punch. Since the papers are smaller than the ring punch. I’ve created only two holes, but it still works.


Pick up a pack of those multi-colored rings—you can get these at Staples or any office supply shop—and you’ll have plenty of room for any other kind of paper you’d like to use down the road.

And though it doesn’t show in this next shot, somewhere on the back of each paper you can label what kind of paper it is. For example you might write “Canson sand pastel paper” or “Arches hot pressed watercolor paper” in small print, just to make it easier to find the paper you want down the road.


Last of all, if you’d like a front and back cover, it’s a simple task to add two nice sturdy pieces of foam board (which are easy to cut to size) to protect your papers. Or, get more creative! The sky’s the limit.

All told, it takes just a few minutes to put together an “all-in-one” hand-made sketchbook journal—perfect for studies, sketches, and small paintings when you’re at home, and extra convenient to take along with you when you’re out and about.



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