REVIEW: Etchr Sketchbooks, Perfect Sketchbooks and Accordion Sketchbooks

Etchr started with the goal of creating the ultimate art bag, and then ultimate art supplies of all kinds. In their own words, “Overall, we’re helping artists art.” Want to learn more about Etchr sketchbooks? Read on!

VIDEO

I made out like a bandit! Etchr kindly sent me:

  • one Etchr Sketchbook – Landscape Bundle cold press
  • one Etchr Sketchbook – Landscape Bundle hot press
  • one A5 Perfect Sketchbook cold press
  • one medium Accordion Sketchbook hot press

All of these sketchbooks are:

  • vegan friendly
  • Made with paper that is-
  • 100% cotton
  • Acid-free
  • traditional white
  • Useable on both sides of the sheet
  • artist grade

Etchr Sketchbook Landscape Bundle

Etchr Sketchbook Landscape Versions Photo

These bundles come in a choice of cold press and hot press. I received one of each. They consist of three sketchbooks in sizes:

  • A4 (21 x 29.7cm or 8.3 × 11.7in)
  • A5 (14.8 x 21cm or 5.8 x 8.3in)
  • A6 (10.5 x 14.8cm or 4.1 x 5.8in)

Each book has:

  • 26 sheets/52 pages
  • sewn binding
  • cotton fabric cover
  • color-coordinated ribbon and elastic binding
  • stitched Etchr Llama logo
  • cool back pocket

Both cold press and hot press have heavier weight paper than most sketchbooks:

  • Cold press paper weight – 230 gsm/110 lb
  • Hot press paper weight – 220 gsm/100 lb
Etchr Sketchbook Logo

The covers are cotton fabric and have a cool Etchr llama logo stitched on the bottom corner. You can paint on these covers. I did! I’ll show you later.

I know I keep saying ‘cool’, but that’s the word that came to mind when I was looking at this sketchbook. The back pocket is different from any I’ve seen.

It looks about the same as most sketchbook pockets, and is about the same size, and provides the same function, but the sides…! The sides are a silky fabric, and the top of it is a heavy paper. It feels sturdy and is lovely to touch. Forgive me — it’s a cool pocket!

Etchr Sketchbook Interior

I did need to ‘prime’ the books by opening them, and gently folding the book backwards a little bit. Once I did this, the books lay nicely flat.  These books don’t fold back all the way back.

Etchr Sketchbook Hot Press vs Cold Press Example photo

The Cold Press has more *tooth than the Hot Press but both are stiffer paper — the kind that bends more easily than rolls up.

Both have the same color paper. The front and back of the page are the same texture and color in both books.

*When paper is made the process creates a surface texture with small dimples in the paper. This texture is called tooth. Depending on the process, some paper has almost no tooth (hot press) while some is like a rocky dirt road (rough). Most (cold press) fall somewhere in between.

The Cold Press

I did my usual test with wet-into-wet techniques and found that the paint flowed well, and stayed bright. Color lifted enough to lighten. I personally like paper that will allow color to lift more, but the upside is that it means you won’t accidentally lift color when you try to add it.

I used masking tape to border the painting, and masking fluid for the puff balls. Both peeled off the paper easily with no tearing at all.

There was no *dimpling or buckling, and when I removed the tape, the paper was flat.

*Paper expands when it is wet. If the paper isn’t wet evenly or doesn’t absorb the water evenly, then parts of the paper will expand while other areas won’t. It may dimple — develop little hollows where the paper is drier, or buckle (aka cockle) where you get waves across the paper or curl as one corner or side of the paper dries faster than the other. Stretching (priming) the paper and or taping your work down securely can help prevent this. Some papers are more prone to it than others. I never pre-stretch when testing because I want to see what the paper does without it.

For my next test, I used a 0.3 technical pen. I was a bit afraid that the cold press tooth might be a little rough for a smaller nib pen. I had no trouble though.

Tooth in a paper breaks up the pen line so that it isn’t crisp but, with pressure and layering of the pen, you can saturate the paper to overcome this. It can take some work, but it wasn’t bad on this paper. Here, the upside is that the broken lines produce a soft, blended effect that is very nice.

The Hot Press

The results of my wet-into-wet test showed that the paper handled very much like the cold press. The paint didn’t flow quite as much, and it was easier to create fine detail. Both masking fluid and masking tape peeled off with no damage.

The difference was very typical for the differences common to hot and cold press. The tooth in cold press gives more flexibility in technique and juicier flow. Hot press gives you more control and the ability to create fine, unbroken line.

The main difference between the two was in the result.

You can see that the hot press (on the right) is much smoother. Even painted, the cold press shows more texture.

Although I had no trouble with pen work on the cold press, I was able to get darker, crisper line work on the hot press. However, I couldn’t get the softly blended look.

I personally prefer the hot press, but I have that preference with most papers.

The Cover

I mentioned that the cotton fabric on the Etchr Sketchbooks could be painted, so I decided to give it a try.

I didn’t do any kind of prep, and I probably should have, but I wanted to see what would happen without it. I used acrylic, so I wouldn’t have to worry about color reactivating later. The little critter, toward the corner, is the stitched llama – I left it unpainted.

It was a little difficult to get the paint to spread on the cotton. Priming it with gesso would have helped, or possibly using a medium to make he acrylic spread more easily. Overall, it wasn’t terribly difficult to use as is, and I like the result.

The Etchr Sketchbooks also come in portrait bundles.

The Perfect Sketchbook from Etchr

The Perfect Sketchbook is available in Cold Press.

The sizes:

  • A4 (21 x 29.7cm or 8.3 × 11.7in)
  • A5 (14.8 x 21cm or 5.8 x 8.3in)

Each book has:

  • 22 sheets/44 pages
  • Sewn stitching and glue-reinforcement
  • PU faux leather cover
  • color-coordinated ribbon and elastic binding
  • debossed Etchr Llama logo
  • cool back pocket

I received the A5 sized Perfect Sketchbook. You are probably wondering how it differs from the Etchr Sketchbooks above.

Etchr Perfect Sketchbook Logo Emboss

Obviously, the dark grey PU cover is different. Instead of a stitched llama on the front cover, you have a debossed llama and writing on the back.

The PU cover is easier to keep clean, but not as easy to customize.

The Perfect sketchbook paper is heavier at 300gsm/140lbs and the tooth is more pronounced.

Performance wise, the color flowed more wildly in the Perfect Sketchbook than it did in the cold press Etchr Sketchbook. The color lifted a little more easily. I’d say the paper was formulated with a wider range of techniques in mind.

As might be expected, pen lines were even less crisp in the Perfect Sketchbook, but I was still able to get nice dark coverage. I was able to get smoother blending of lines which is nice.

Possibly the best way to compare the Perfect Sketchbook to the Etchr Sketchbook is to say that it is a little more. That is — the paper weight is more, there is more tooth, the paint flows more wildly, and color lifts more easily. It isn’t more by a lot, but enough to be noticeable.

Is it Perfect? I can truthfully say ‘yes’ and ‘no’, because that’s subjective. It wouldn’t be perfect for me, but I do like the paper.

The Accordion Sketchbook from Etchr

Accordion Etchr Sketchbook Exterior Cover

The Accordion Sketchbook comes in both cold press and hot press. The cold press weight is 230gsm/110lbs and the hot press is 220gsm /110lbs.

The sizes are:

  • Medium – (13 x 21cm or 5.1 x 8.3in)
  • Small – (9.5 x 14.5cm or 3.7 × 5.7in)

The medium size sketchbook has 30 pages and the small size sketchbook has 42.

Etchr Sketchbook Accordion Opened

Since these are accordion books, they have 1 sheet that is glued to each cover and folded to make the pages. Though difficult to photograph, they are so cool to see, and provide a way to paint continuous, unique works of art.

The covers are PU faux leather with a debossed llama and logo. They’re a lovely reddish brown color.

I received the hot press, medium sized version for review.

 

The paper in the accordion book is the same color and tooth as in the hot press Etchr Sketchbook and handled the same.

As with every other accordion-style book I’ve ever used, the covers overlap slightly as you open it to work on a two page spread. But you can open it to work on as many pages as you have space for, and they’ll lie flat. You do get some movement of the paper when you work on the pages. It’s the nature of an accordion book.

The paper handled both watercolor, pen and gouache easily.

I only used the gouache for the white highlights though because it might crack if painted over the folds. That has more to do with the nature of gouache than the properties of this Accordion book.

With 30 pages to use, it will take me a while to finish even one side of my accordion book, and I couldn’t get a whole side showing with the camera, so I’ve got a couple of pages showing here so you can see the detail – nice crisp lines, and bold color.

And here is my seven-page sea serpent. She isn’t totally finished yet, but I’m having great fun working on her.

The Accordion sketchbook is fantastic for extended landscapes, storybooks, or any style of painting that carries from one page to the next.

Overall

The Etchr Sketchbook, the Perfect sketchbook and the Accordion book are all fantastic to work in. All three handled both watercolor and pen beautifully, with absorbency that allowed good flow, and kept the color bright.

Even the Perfect sketchbook, with the most tooth, allowed bold pen lines though it was a bit rough for fabric-tipped pens. The hot press papers are best for crisp pen work but still take watercolor, even wet-into-wet, very well.

If you intend to use mixed media, lots of pen, or prefer a cover you can customize, the Etchr Sketchbook would probably be your best choice.

If you like more tooth, or intend to work entirely in watercolor, or prefer a PU faux leather cover, the Perfect Sketchbook would probably be your best choice.

If you want something different than the usual journal with the ability to create extended flowing works of art, the Accordion Sketchbook is probably your best choice.

Whatever your personal preferences, Etchr has a sketchbook for you.

Tools

Disclaimer

I was given two Etchr Sketchbook Landscape Bundles, one Perfect Sketchbook, and one Accordion Sketchbook for purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
15 Comments
  1. PennyH 1 month ago

    I’ve been wondering about the Etchr books. I’ve heard good things about them and they are a bit more pricey. Nice article. I haven’t seen this much variety to purchase yet, but will look. Hannumule is just to hard to get (& their paper can be a bit thin for my liking in their books).

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 1 month ago

      Thank you, Penny! These are definitely a good choice for those who like a heavier paper.

  2. Jane 1 month ago

    I’ve been using the cotton cover cold press books for a while and I really love them. The paper is wonderful and I like that it is easy to use both sides without rippling or bleed through. I’m hoping to get a Perfect Sketchbook soon.

  3. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Wonderful review, Sandra! They look like fabulous sketchbooks and I love that llama!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 1 month ago

      Thank you, Mary! I think I like the Etchr sketchbook the best just because of that stitched llama, lol. There is just something about it.

  4. mlaiuppa 1 month ago

    I bought their little ceramic palette in a can but haven’t tried it yet. Nice to know the quality of the paper. Cotton and 110lb certainly got my attention. I don’t do PU as I have had too much fall apart after few years but the cotton covers are something that intrigues me. I am curious about the pocket. The design is great as having it open to the spine would help to prevent anything falling out when it is closed and secured with the elastic but not sure what would fit in there. Not a palette or even a brush of any useable size. I’ve had pockets in a few other sketchbooks and never bothered to use them.

    I was not aware Etchr made these books but will certainly be seeking out a few to experiment with. I’ve been using Stillman & Birn but they don’t always come in sizes I like. The only accordion ones I have are Hahnemule and they are also limited in sizes. This gives me yet another source.

    Thank you for the thorough review and video.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 1 month ago

      Thank you, Mlaiuppa! I don’t use the pockets all that often, myself. Most sketchbooks come with a paper wrap that has info about the sketchbook, and I put those in the pocket because I know I won’t remember paper weight and so forth. If I’m sketching or painting on the go, I use them to store tickets or any small items that I might want later. I’ve even been known to stash a few dollars in there, if I’m not carrying a purse.

  5. Lori A Carscallen 1 month ago

    Well done as usual! I always learn so much from your reviews. This review has peeked my interest and will scout them out! I like the accordion book. It just might be what I need to jump my lost mojo. 🙁

  6. jkpringle21 1 month ago

    All your art is awesome and the books you tried them in, simply beautiful out come. Your line art is my overall favorite, followed closely by the rest. I enjoy your uniquic styles and wonderful reviews. I wish they were accessable in Canada, but when you look at their site, the books are fairly resonable in canadian dollars and no shipping fee. They just need to keep stock in. Have their paint brushes and love them. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful art. Enjoy your weekend and painting something marvelous.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 1 month ago

      Thank you Joan! I think Etchr doesn’t keep a lot of stock in store, so the availability comes and goes quickly.

  7. Kathy Delumpa Allegri 1 month ago

    What a comprehensive review, Sandra. I like all the examples you painted. I may have to try the Perfect sketchbook.

  8. De 1 month ago

    Great review, Sandra! I have used the Perfect Sketchbook since it was launched and love it! For the past 8-9 years I’ve traveled with a watercolor sketchbook so I’ve tried many brands but I’m now stuck on the Etchr’s sketchbooks and have had no need or desire to change. I also like their annual release of a sketchbook with Fabriano deckled edge paper – a real treat.

Leave Me A Comment!

©2015-2018 Doodlewash®  Privacy Policy | Terms Of Use | Disclosure  Powered By Wordpress.com

CONTACT US

Want to say hi and connect? Do you make lovely things with watercolor and want to be featured in the next Guest Artist post?! Great! Not sure, just feel the need to say something? Awesome! Just fill out the form below!

Sending
 
or

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

or

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: