Pink Pig Watercolour Sketchbooks Review

Pink Pig sketchbooks? That’s an odd name, and not one I’d ever heard before August. But when the rolled cardboard package arrived on my doorstep and I pulled back the tab, the package revealed sketchbooks that surprised me.

Overview

Produced in a family run business in Yorkshire, UK, Pink Pig Sketchbooks have been continuously made for over 25 years. Given their cute moniker, I expected sketchbooks that had a fun vibe and questionable paper. What I got was the opposite. Pink pig sketchbooks are solidly constructed and presented in handmade tissue paper wrapped hard covers. The leaves in my two review copies were 140# (300gsm) Bockingford not watercolor paper. A protective vinyl cover sheet inside the front of the sketchbook featured a tossed piggy pattern that brought a smile to my face.

Pink Pig Sketchbooks Made In Great Britain

Product Range

Pink Pig International prides themselves on having one of the widest selections of size/orientation/cover/paper combinations on the market. Sketchbooks can be fully customized with personal artwork or logos as well. Pink Pig developed a well-organized selection process on their website to navigate the hundreds of possible combinations.

Pink Pig Watercolour Books Website Orders Example
This screenshot shows the launch screen for choosing a watercolor sketchbook to suit your personal taste and budget.

Pink Pig Sketchbook Covers

Pink Pig Posh watercolor sketchbooks feature a sturdy double spiral binding and matching hard covers on both the front and back. I was pleased to see boutique quality Thai banana-leaf-and-silk hardcovers on a spiral bound sketchbook. Coordinating paper affixed inside the cover over the edges and folds keeps the handmade tissue paper secure and provides a space to add an inscription or mount an envelope for ephemera. There is no keeper strap or ribbon ties to hold the book closed.

Pink Pig Made In Great Britain Sketchbook Detail
I received a Natural colored A4 Landscape and a Sky Blue Pigscape (18 x 9″) sketchbook for review.

The Paper

I had never used St. Cuthbert Mill’s Bockingford paper, but I knew Brenda Swenson and Rob Dudley both use it, and I admire their work. Any watercolor paper that’s described as “forgiving” is going to be a good match for my style, and I was eager to try it. The affordable price and excellent working properties of Bockingford made for an ideal sketchbook: sufficient quality for serious studies, but not too precious for sketching. My books each contained 15 leaves.

Pink Pig Watercolour Book Paper Swatch Example
Bockingford Not has a traditional felt texture that allows for impressive flocculation/granulation.

The Pink pig sketchbook is constructed so that the front of each page is the front of the watercolor paper. For me, this allows me to continue my natural work flow of thumbnail sketches, swatches, and notes on the left side of the spiral and my finished work on the right. The Pink Pig company advertises the ability to paint and doodle across the spiral, so I tested and discovered both sides of the paper gave similar (though not identical) results.

Pink Pig Watercolour Sketchbook Painting Example Sunflower
I used a popular Joanne Boone Thomas tutorial to test the paper’s ability with multiple wet washes and masking tape. The yellow smudge in the margin is from my finger after the tape was removed:  the tape held securely and released easily.   Even after several layers, the paper remained easy to ink.  Sennelier Artist Colors and Neptune brushes used for this piece.

I also wanted to see how this paper would handle pencil, erasure, inkwork, masking fluids and tapes, and watercolor washes with both student and artist grade paint. After using the Pink Pig sketchbooks for a little over a month, I’m impressed with their design and quality. I take a bit more care with the covers than I do with my usual sketchbooks, but the Bockingford paper is a nice blend of affordability and quality.

Pink Pig watercolour sketchbook for art journaling example
Sketching with ink and wash is my first love.  Ink, masking fluid, masking tape, and student grade Cotman and Van Gogh colors all performed beautifully on the Bockingford paper.  Like the popular Canson Montval, Bockingford paper lifts easily back to white, even after drying.

Pink Pig Watercolor Sketchbooks Swatch Example

Student grade watercolors in a tea wash (bottom stripe) and juicy wash (top stripe) on Bockingford Not watercolour paper.

Is a Pink Pig Sketchbook in your future? Click over to their website to look through the possibilities, and follow them on Instagram if you want to see how other artists are using their products. Whether you’re looking for a new Inktober sketchbook or replacing your finished watercolor sketchbook, it’s hard to go wrong with a hand-crafted beauty from Pink Pig International. Artists outside the UK may find it challenging to locate a Pink Pig watercolor sketchbook with Bockingford paper in shops, but Amazon is starting to carry the line, and sketchbooks can also be ordered directly from the Pink Pig website. Maybe we could talk Charlie into a custom Doodlewash Pink Pig sketchbook in the shop for Christmas or World Watercolor Month 2019, who knows?

What about you? Have you ever used Bockingford watercolor paper or Pink Pig sketchbooks? Would you be interested in a sketchbook with a decorative cover or do you prefer to customize your own? Are those of you in the UK ever going to forgive me for butchering the spelling of a dozen or so words in a review of an English product? Let me know in the comments.

And congratulations to Ann P. In the UK, the winner of our recent Pink Pig Sketchbook Giveaway!

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews

I’m a science and math educator who has been creating since childhood. I picked up watercolor four years ago and have been on a grand exploration discovering its playful and enigmatic personality.  Follow my adventure on Instagram!

20 Comments
  1. James 2 weeks ago

    Absolutely love the review Bekki! Following this we now have plans to stock more Watercolour in the USA & Canada on Amazon. A huge congratulations to Ann P (UK) for winning our watercolour prize!! We can’t wait to work with Doodlewash again in the future…watch this space 😉 Kindest regards, James Garlick | Pink Pig International Brand Manager

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, James! I’m excited these will be available here in the US.

  2. Rod Fletcher 2 weeks ago

    I am on holiday and have one of the pink pig not water colour sketch books you describe. Sturdy Yorkshire binding and paper that cockles very little. Good stuff!

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Pink Pig Sketchbooks would be a great travel or holiday journal. The covers are nice enough to leave on a coffee table.

  3. Sandra Strait 2 weeks ago

    Thank you for the review. I was very curious about these books. I love Bockingford Watercolor paper so these would be right up my alley!

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sandra! Bockingford is such a forgiving paper, and I loved the spiral binding.

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 weeks ago

    Sounds like a great choice for sketchbooks, Bekki. How can you not love something named Pink Pig – or Bockingford? Your sunflower painting is lovely, BTW.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Oh, yes! These Pink Pig sketchbooks are a delight.

  5. Faustine Gebhart 2 weeks ago

    What is a tea wash? I really like your painting style.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Thank you, Faustine! A tea wash is a light wash of color to establish big areas. Marc Taro Holmes has a free printable entitled “Tea, Milk, Honey” on his website that shows how to do it.

  6. sq wifeve 2 weeks ago

    Liked your review. I don’t have one of these books – yet. But when i enters the recent draw, I posted to Facebook and one of my daughter’s friend has won them! She thought it was a hoax at first and said she never wins anything. It’s lovely as her daughter, a schoolgirl, is a budding artist and takes classes on Saturdays art a local college so she will love them. And I’ve been promised one which is very kind. It’s so nice to hear good news.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      How exciting! Yes, these sketchbooks would be ideal for an art student. I hope you have fun with yours, too.

  7. Sharon Nolfi 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for the great review. I have one of their sketchbooks (purchased in L.A.) with drawing paper in it – it’s quite nice.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon. I was curious about their drawing paper with Inktober just around the corner. Does the paper you have take ink well?

      • Sharon Nolfi 2 weeks ago

        I’ve only used it for pencil sketches – it’s not very heavy. I don’t know what the actual type of paper is called by the manufacturer, as it came as a gift without any cello wrapping.

        • Author
          Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

          Thanks, Sharon. I enjoy pencil sketching, too.

  8. M. L. Kappa 2 weeks ago

    I was given one of these a while ago and loved it! Thanks for the info on where to acquire more, Bekki!

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Their website is impressive. From the sounds of the first comment, Pink Pig plans to bring their line to the US.

  9. Jessica Seacrest 2 weeks ago

    Great review Bekki 🙂 Who doesn’t want a sketchbook called Pink Pig?! Customization options look wonderful and the square size they have on Amazon looks great for mandalas.

    • Author
      Bekki Page 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Jessica–it is a charming and memorablememor for their line. I found quite a few interesting options on Amazon and Jackson’s, but it’s hard to beat their own Pink Pig website.

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