this is not a ‘pretty’ sketchbook tour

Hi everyone, welcome to my new sketchbook tour! A quick tour of my Strathmore Artist Tiles sketchbook, filled with pencil, markers and gouache. I showed you how I filled the last pages of this one in a previous video post, and here’s the full tour. Enjoy!

You can also watch on and subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are subtitles available, and the transcript is below if you need to read as well as watch. I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a comment here or on youtube, or email me. Sign up to my email list as well for more at

I am not sponsored by any brands and nothing has been gifted by brands either (just some presents from friends and family).

– Strathmore Artist Tiles 400 series sketchbook (won in a Creativebug competition on instagram)


Hi! I’m Arati Devasher. Welcome to my sketchbook tour.

This is a Strathmore Artist Tiles 400 series sketchbook, spiral bound with 89gsm paper and 70 perforated pages that you can tear out.

I’ve used several different media in this sketchbook… a variety of graphite and conté pencils… colour pencils… brush markers… Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens… and some gouache and watercolours.

The recommended use from Strathmore, the manufacturer, is for dry media use only, but, of course, it’s always nice to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t, for me individually.

This isn’t a sketchbook in which I did very detailed studies or paintings. It is small and light enough to carry around, so the subjects I sketched are mostly food, the meals I was eating or more likely dreaming about, the things around me as I was travelling around London and its environs, or small concept sketches for paintings I had ideas for. I even did some quotes that I found interesting.

The illustrations in pencil were mostly done on the go, at bus stops, in trains and on the Tube, or in waiting rooms or cafes. The ones in full colour may have been conceptualised and drawn in one of these places, and then coloured in once I got home to all my art materials. Plus, of course the time to sit and paint!

I used several pages to take notes for classes, like John Muir Laws’ nature journaling workshops, or Bardot Brush’s drawing body parts classes. A messy sketchbook like this is useful to have, one in which you can just doodle to your heart’s content, without any expectation of having to show it to anyone. Yet, it’s an essential part of my own art process, as it’s helped me solidify many a floating idea and pin it down. And that’s what carrying around a small sketchbook like this helps with.

This isn’t a style of notebook that I would usually have bought as I’m not a fan of the spiral binding and would not use the perforation to tear pages off, preferring to use a craft knife to get a clean cut instead. It’s a sketchbook that I won in a Creativebug competition back in 2015, and it’s been worth a try at least. It has not performed well when using very wet media like watercolour, and it’s not meant to be used for that in any case. Gouache, though, does well, especially when used undiluted. The paper is excellent for pencil sketches, and when I used markers, they did not bleed through, always a good thing. Fountain pen would also work well I think, though I can’t recall if I used it here.

I learned a couple of good lessons from using this sketchbook. The first is that I like thicker paper, whether I’m using pencil or paint. I like the solid feel of it, and the ability to use any media I choose upon it. Secondly, I do like the smaller square format. I have another, larger, square sketchbook by Seawhite of Brighton, which I have almost finished, but this little size is much easier to carry around. Thirdly, it taught me not to turn my nose up at spiral binding, which has its uses, though, still, I am not a fan. And lastly, I really don’t like perforated pages and the rough edge it creates! I prefer a clean edge or the natural deckled edges of handmade paper.

In the future, I would use a similar sketchbook, but with thicker paper and without a spiral binding. I would carry it around with me, to take notes in, or complete assignments for online or in-person classes I might take. It would also be useful when visiting exhibitions where photography is not allowed, but sketching is.

I think you might like my last sketchbook tour, which is a smaller notebook, the Moleskine Pocket. It was much thicker paper and I used it for much more detailed artwork using mostly gouache. I hope you enjoyed this tour. Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you in my next video. Bye!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: