6 Best Notebooks for Graphic Designers, Artists & Illustrators

6 Best Notebooks for Graphic Designers, Artists & Illustrators

Just Creative is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more

Despite what we may think, for someone who works in a creative space, no piece of tech will replace a quality notebook for quick notes or sketches of ideas and projects when you’re on the go.

The problem is, like many other product landscapes, the options that are available when it comes to a good pen or good notebook are almost endless and can cause headaches and confusion trying to find the best one for your type of work.

With that in mind, we wanted to build a guide to best notebooks for graphic designers, artists and illustrators. Let’s dive in!

 

The Best Notebooks for Graphic Designers in 2021

When we started to look around and gather information for our list, we realized that there are a lot of options out there and we needed some help. For our recommendations for the best notebooks in 2021, we actually reached out to our Facebook group for suggestions and what our readers use.

Click on any of the links below to get more information on a certain product, or if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, keep reading for more information.

  1. Moleskine Classic 
  2. Field Notes 
  3. Moleskine Smart Notebook (Creative Cloud Connected)
  4. Leuchtturm Master Classic
  5. Moleskine Livescribe Notebook 
  6. Evernote Sketchbook with Smart Stickers 

 

The Best Notebooks Compared

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
$16.95
$11.95
$69.95
$36.95
$28.77
Price not available
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
-
-
$16.95
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
-
-
$11.95
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
-
-
$69.95
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
-
-
$36.95
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
-
-
$28.77
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
-
-
-
Price not available

 

sponsored message

Adobe Creative Cloud Discount

What To Look For When Buying Notebooks

If you’ve ever stopped by your local office supply store and strolled down either the notebook or pen aisles, the number of choices available to you is staggering. It is no wonder that many creatives will go through notebook after notebook until they find the best one for them.

But what should you look for in each? Let’s take a look.

Notebooks

A good notebook should be made of better quality materials than the notebooks that you had in college. You’re a professional now, you should own something with substance.

sponsored message


Let’s take a look at what you should consider when buying a notebook.

Size

This factor will be different for everyone. A lot of the decision in regards to the size of the notebook you’re using comes from what you’re using it for. If you are typically going to do more writing in your notebook, you may be ok with a book-size notebook. On the other hand, if you are primarily going to be sketching and drawing, a larger notebook could be more accommodating.

Paper

The paper that you use in your notebook of choice will typically be influenced by three major areas. These include:

  • Media

Specifically speaking, what type of writing or drawing utensil do you plan on using most often with your notebook. If sketching is the primary focus of your notebook, finding one with sketching paper will likely work best for you. Many notebook manufacturers will make notebooks that work well with many types of media including markers, ink, fountain pens or even watercolor.

  • Weight

If you’ve never gone paper shopping, it can be eye-opening to learn that paper is offered in different weights. The higher the weight of the paper will be relative to the thickness of the paper. A thicker paper can resist getting wet without rippling or buckling. Some weight is better suited for using with certain pens so that the ink doesn’t smudge or even bleed through.

  • Finish

When it comes to the finish of the paper, the term refers to the texture of the paper, For many illustrators, having a paper with good texture can add a sense of realism to what they are drawing, giving it a feel of being real and coming right off the page for some.

Cover

For many creatives who may use a notebook for sketching, the cover can become a makeshift hard surface to draw on. Choosing a notebook with a flimsy cover may not be the best choice. Coincidentally, for writers, having a book-type can be more beneficial so you don’t have to flip back and forth continuously.

Price

sponsored message


It always boils down to this. You may have found the perfect notebook for your needs. It does everything you need it to short of making a good cup of coffee. Then you see the price and almost fall over. A good, high-quality notebook shouldn’t cost more than your rent but at the same time, shouldn’t cost so little that you can find it at the dollar store either. Finding a good middle ground is your best option here.

 

The Best Notebooks for Designers in 2021

To some, a pen and notebook go together like peanut butter and jelly or ketchup and french fries. Essentially made for one another. The best pen and notebook feel like an extension of your hand and the perfect writing surface for all of your ideas.

We wanted to shine a light on those that even in their simplicity, can make a world of difference for someone who works in a creative field. It could be a great gift idea too, especially a personalised notebook!

So if you’re ready, let’s read ahead a bit.

 

1. Moleskine Classic

Moleskine Classic Notebook

As it was also featured in our best gear article, seeing multiple offerings from Moleskine is no surprise at all. People can get obsessive over owning a notebook from Moleskine and it all started with the Classic. A straightforward notebook with a practical design, it is available in different styles including colored notebooks, memo books and even “smart” versions (see our 3rd item).

The variety and quality offered by the company that started little more than twenty years ago as well as the convenient size of many of their notebooks, designed to be easy to take with you or throw into a bag will keep these at the top of many lists for the best notebook available for a long time. 

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
  • CLASSIC MOLESKINE NOTEBOOK: Moleskine classic notebooks are perfect notebooks for writing journals, a daily diary, or note taking in college classes or meetings. Moleskine notebooks are beloved by...
  • DURABLE COVER & ELASTIC CLOSURE: Hold writing projects & notes in your Moleskine notebook with an elastic closure band & inner storage folders. Leather-like classic Moleskine cover & thick, ivory...
  • GIFT QUALITY NOTEBOOKS: Moleskine planners, journals and notebooks come in hardcover or softcover and colors like black, red, blue, green and brown. The binding and cover have a durable finish,...
  • DELUXE QUALITY PAGES: Moleskine's thick, ivory paper pages in a hardcover Moleskine notebook, softcover Moleskine notebook, cahier or volant journal, or Moleskine planner are perfectly textured for...
  • MOLESKINE QUALITY: We're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital. We bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens &...

sponsored message


 

2. Field Notes

Field Notes Original Kraft Memo Book

One look at these vintage-styled notebooks ad you may think that someone found a collection of their granddad’s old notebooks laying around. Measuring 3.5 x 5 inches, the small notebooks come with 48 pages and are perfect for a quick sketch or jotting down notes on the go with its saddle binding.

Available in three styles, Aaron Draplin’s, Field Notes design harkens back to pocket ledgers, agricultural memo books and for the on-the-go designer, is a must-have item.

 

Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
  • POCKET NOTEBOOK, PERFECTED - At 3.5"x5.5," this Field Notes Original Kraft memo book 3 pack of journals is perfectly sized to fit in the pocket of your shirt, pants, or purse. As always, the inside...
  • MIXED PAPER PACK - This pack includes three notebooks with different paper styles — 1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain — each with 48-pages. A great sample pack to find your favorite style.
  • ACID-FREE, BRIGHT WHITE - Each field journal features responsibly manufactured 60 lb (90 GSM) Finch Opaque body paper, which is a pleasure to write on, as it's smoother and more substantial than the...
  • RUGGED & DURABLE COVERS - Stash your Field Notes notebook in your pocket, car, or backpack for everyday carry. The cover is made from 80 lb kraft cardstock from French Paper Co. in Michigan and...
  • PROUDLY PRINTED & MANUFACTURED IN THE USA - We take great pride in our complete and transparent origin stories. Each of our thin notebooks and journals is bestowed with evidence of our artisan-first...

 

3. Moleskine Smart Notebook, Creative Cloud connected

Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook

These days, just about everything we use is connected and now, that even includes the notebook you use on a daily basis. With the Smart Notebook from Moleskine, anything you write can be transferred to your Creative Cloud account by taking a picture of your work with the Moleskine, which is an app connected to the Creative Cloud, and will sync the image as a JPG or SVG which then allows you to edit it in Illustrator or Photoshop.

Technology can be amazing and with this notebook, it can also help you be super productive during your day.

 

Moleskine Adobe Creative Cloud Paper Tablet, Extra Large, Black, Hard Cover (7.5 x 9.75) 176 Pages
33 Reviews
Moleskine Adobe Creative Cloud Paper Tablet, Extra Large, Black, Hard Cover (7.5 x 9.75) 176 Pages
  • SMART NOTEBOOK: Combines the flexibility & memory-enhancing tactile feedback of an old-school analog notebook w/ the convenience & shareability of digital note apps. This smart notebook works...
  • WITH NCODED TECHNOLOGY: Invisible Ncoded technology embedded within each page enables the Moleskine Pen+ to recognize where it is within the notebook and to transfer all your freehand notes from page...
  • FROM PAGE TO SCREEN: Companion app seamlessly transfers what's written on the notebook page to your device, digitizing your analog notes & allowing you to notate, share, search, edit, & organize your...
  • MOLESKINE VERSATILITY: In addition to the iconic notebook, the Moleskine family of products includes both digital & analog writing & lifestyle technology, including smart notebooks & apps, bags,...
  • MOLESKINE QUALITY: We're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital. We bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens &...

 

4. Leuchtturm Master Classic

Leuchtturm1917 Classic Hardcover

At a whopping 233 numbered pages, the Leuchtturm Master Classic notebook definitely gives buyers their money worth. While for many, having a smaller, thinner notebook may be the way to go, this is for those who feel otherwise.

Deliberately designed to last you quite some time, the paper comes in four different options – ruled, plain, squared or dotted. Which one you choose is a matter of preference but get ready to have this one for quite some time.

 

LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
  • INKPROOF PAPER: Master A4+ notebooks have 100 gsm paper, which is significantly heavier than our smaller standard notebooks and is highly resistant to bleeding and feathering.
  • OPENS FLAT: Our specialty thread-binding helps the notebook to open flat so you can write and draw at all angles without compromising the integrity of the spine.
  • ELASTIC CLOSURE BAND: Secure your content with the elastic enclosure band and inner gusseted pocket. Two distinct page markers are included for easy access to specific pages.
  • VARIOUS COLOR OPTIONS: 8.75 x 12.5 inch (225 × 315mm) dimensions and a diverse range of colours make the Leuchtturm Master A4 notebooks ideal companions for all walks of life. Stickers for labeling...
  • QUALITY SINCE 1917: Experience and consistency are important requirements for quality. Quality gives ideas a solid foundation on which they can develop. We are convinced that small details can make a...

 

5. Livescribe Notebook

Moleskine Livescribe

Another entry from Moleskine, the Livescribe Notebook will or should be familiar to anyone who uses a Livescribe pen. Designed aesthetically like any other Moleskine notebook, the pages feature three controls for the Livescribe+ features at the bottom of each page.

These controls work with an app and once they are sync will make any notes appear in digital form on the app. This can be really handy for someone who may temporarily misplace their notebook on a busy day.

 

Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
  • Elegant blank space that brings the thoughts and ideas that you write on the pages directly to your electronic device
  • Using the Bluetooth technology of the Live scribe 3 Smart pen and the dot matrix paper, written and drawn information becomes visible in the app in real time
  • Notebook has the unmistakable Moleskine design from the rounded corners, to the ivory-coloured pages
  • Normal paper printed with microdots
  • Easily capture the dots and, with their help, recognize at which position on which page you are writing

 

6. Evernote Sketchbook with Smart Stickers

Evernote Sketchbook

While this is technically a Moleskine notebook, it is also different. Many people, creatives, bloggers and more use Evernote on their phone to keep track of notes, web pages, and other things. With the Evernote Sketchbook with Smart Stickers, write or sketch whatever you want on the page and then use one of the included Smart Stickers to tag the page.

Take a picture through the Evernote app and it will appear right inside your Evernote account. If you use Evernote and you want more flexibility with the files you’re saving, this is right up your alley.

 

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
  • SMART NOTEBOOK: Combines the flexibility & memory-enhancing tactile feedback of an old-school analog notebook w/ the convenience & shareability of digital note apps. This smart notebook works...
  • WITH NCODED TECHNOLOGY: Invisible Ncoded technology embedded within each page enables the Moleskine Pen+ to recognize where it is within the notebook and to transfer all your freehand notes from page...
  • FROM PAGE TO SCREEN: Companion app seamlessly transfers what's written on the notebook page to your device, digitizing your analog notes & allowing you to notate, share, search, edit, & organize your...
  • MOLESKINE VERSATILITY: In addition to the iconic notebook, the Moleskine family of products includes both digital & analog writing & lifestyle technology, including smart notebooks & apps, bags,...
  • MOLESKINE QUALITY: We're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital. We bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens &...

 

The Best Notebooks Compared

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
$16.95
$11.95
$69.95
$36.95
$28.77
Price not available
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Pocket (3.5" x 5.5") Dotted, Black, 192 Pages
-
-
$16.95
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Mixed Paper (1 Graph, 1 Ruled, 1 Plain book) - 48 Pages - 3.5"...
-
-
$11.95
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
Moleskine Adobe Soft Cover Smart Notebook, Plain, XL (7.5" x 9.75") Black, 176 Pages
-
-
$69.95
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Master Classic A4+ - Plain Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 235 Numbered Pages
-
-
$36.95
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
Moleskine Livescribe 1 Notebook Ruled Black Large
-
-
$28.77
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Squared/Grid, Slate Grey, 176...
-
-
-
Price not available

 

Top Laptops

Top Gear for Video Editing

More Top Gear for Designers

 

Choosing the Best Notebook for Your Needs

Finding the best pen and notebook can take time and effort. Going through different notebooks to find a kind of paper that works best and a pen that feels like an extension of your hand is difficult, which is why you may see people with dozens of notebooks and cups full of pens. 

We hope that our list of the Best Notebooks for Creatives in 2021 helped to give you some ideas so you can avoid that fate but if you have a favorite notebook that isn’t on our list, let us know in the comments below.

[Cyber Monday Deals LIVE!]
[Cyber Monday Deals LIVE!]