Is there anything more adorable than when your child draws a picture (okay, colorful squiggles) just for you? While it’s hard to think of something more amazing than seeing a kid’s obsession with finger paints and crayons develop into a full-fledged passion for the arts right before your eyes, there’s also nothing more annoying than having loose pages of construction paper crowding your space. That’s why drawing pads are such a brilliant invention: They allow your child to explore his or her talents in a confined space, all while saving you from a ton of This clutter. The only question is, which drawing pad is the perfect fit for your little artist?
To the naked eye, one drawing pad might not look much different from the next, but a drawing pad isn’t just a bound book stuffed with blank paper. There’s an array of drawing pads on the market that are specifically designed to cater to the advanced artiste, artists-in-training and even the finger painter extraordinaire. From the weight of the paper to how many pages it holds and the durability of each individual sheet, finding the right drawing pad ultimately comes down to the details. Here are a handful of our favorites, selected for quality, durability and multiple uses to get those creative juices flowing.
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1. Artist’s Choice Premium Sketch Pad
If your child is a talented artist who likes to experiment with different tools — one day they’re sketching with granite pencil and the next they’re coloring with markers — this sketch pad might be just their speed. It’s also ideal for kids who go through paper quickly as you get not one but two 75-page sketch pads, with each page measuring eight by 12 inches and boasting a relatively thick texture.
2. Canson XL Series Mix Media Pad
This mixed-media pad was made for artists who sketch their work and then want to add a splash of color. The drawing pad is the most versatile of Canson’s offerings because it’s sturdy enough to hold a light paint job and washes off ink without bleeding through the next page. These quality sheets because are a great value for art students (of all ages). One pad only yields 60 sheets, but since it’s vetted and affordable, you might as well buy two.
3. Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad
This sketch pad is perfect for passionate artists looking to hone their craft. The drawing pad is comprised of 100 heavily weighted sheets, each measuring nine by 12 inches. The pages are also made to be extremely durable so that artists can work with tools such as pastels, charcoal and colored pencils, and practice techniques without having to worry about tears or their work bleeding through the pages. But note: This pad is not made for watercolor or paint as these materials will bleed through — possibly through multiple pages.
4. Melissa & Doug Sketch Pad
Coloring books are fun, but for kids craving less guidance and more freedom, this sketch pad is the perfect fit. The spiral-bound sketch book includes 50 pages of nine by 12-inch portfolio-quality paper that holds up against pencils, charcoal, crayons, markers and paint. This drawing pad also includes step-by-step instructions for drawing a face and horse to teach your child a bit of technique without sacrificing their own creativity. It also fits neatly in a backpack or tote, so your tiny artiste can create even more masterpieces on the go.
5. Arteza Sketch Book
This set of durable sketch pads are perfect for a variety of uses. The hardcover ensures the contents stay protected, and the thick paper prevents ink from bleeding. The sheets are also acid-free, which preserves the life of your artwork. With the sturdy spiral-bound design, you can effortlessly flip through pages without tearing.
6. LYTek Hardcover Sketch Book
Nothing’s worse than ruining a piece of artwork or notes you spent hours on. This water-repellent cover will keep your designs and doodles secure, and the micro-perforated sheets tear out with ease. Bonus: the pad comes with a handy pencil loop so you never lose it.