What's Up With Those Cheap Sketchbooks

If you are anything like me then you get super excited over cheap art supplies. Heck even a dollar off the normal price of an item is enough to celebrate. When it comes to art supplies your money needs to stretch pretty far – especially if you like to try out new products all the time! Most people who are professional artists would probably overlook the Daler-Rowney product line entirely. It has a reputation for student grade quality and while that is true you can still get alot of use out of their products. Over the years (as far back as high school even) I have been using this brand of sketchbooks (along with Pentalic’s version) for everyday exploration. So what’s up with those cheap sketchbooks anyway?

The Basics of Daler-Rowney Cachet Sketchbooks

Sizes : 

Portrait – 6 x 4 / 8.5 x 5.5 / 7 x 7 / 11 x 8.5 / 11 x 14

Landscape – 6 x 9 / 8.5 x 11

Paper : 70lb / White Drawing Paper / Acid Free /Neutral PH

Sheets : 110

Price :  $13.79 at the time of this post. Sometimes you can get a two for one deal.

Other Info : Black pyroxylin hard cover that resists water and generous usage. Sewn binding for flat lay.

Buy It Here

These sketchbooks are meant to be used mostly for dry mediums even thought it says it can handle a variety of mediums. I usually use wet media in these all the time cause I’m a rebel like that. Since the paper is only 70lb it warps with even a little water – for how I utilize these books it’s not a problem. Most sketchbooks that are budget friendly have a problem with ghosting as well as warping. Ghosting is when  you can see the artwork or writing on the back side of the paper. With dry media this sketchbook handles pretty well at resisting ghosting but it isn’t perfect. It handles decently for wet media ghosting also but still has some. The Pentel Pocket Brush for example leaves very strong ghosting – again this doesn’t bother me for how I use these.

How I Use These Sketchbooks

I love these sketchbooks because I don’t have to feel guilty about messing them up because that is literally what I use them for. Great for random color tests, blobs or random shapes, patterns as well as trying out different styles if I am trying to figure out how to draw something.Sometimes I even cut portions out or even rip entire pages out – there are no limits to the abuse these take! I use “higher end” sketchbooks for more defined work or studies – stuff where I use a bit more mental awareness of what I want the outcome to be.

I even use heavy amounts of water without fear. I do not create any final artwork in these so the wrinkles do not matter. This is a sketchbook to try things out that maybe you don’t want to share with others, a place you can mess up without fear of being judged!


Overall the practical use of these cheap sketchbooks is what keeps me coming back for more. They are also affordable and when they have a two for one deal I am always inline to stock up. The paper does age a little bit as seen from my book from 2003 but it isn’t bad. You can still take art from them and scan them and be able to adjust the whites to the correct balance. The binding lasts after alot of use – even from high school when I would tend to drop things!


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