A sketchbook is a book or pad with blank pages for sketching and is frequently used by artists for drawing or painting as a part of their creative process. Artists often use large sketchbooks which include wide spaces of blank paper appropriate for drawing. Lawyers use rather large sketchbooks or notebooks known as legal pads that contain lined paper (often yellow) and are appropriate for use on tables and desks.
Principal types of binding are padding, perfect, spiral, comb, sewn, clasp, disc, and pressure, some of which can be combined. Binding methods can affect whether a notebook can lie flat when open and whether the pages are likely to remain attached. The cover material is usually distinct from the writing surface material, more durable, more decorative, and more firmly attached.
The exhibition of sketchbooks at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University in 2006 suggested that there were two broad categories for classifying sketches.
- Observation: this focuses on the documentation of the external world and includes many such travel and nature studies and sketches recording an artist’s travels.
- Invention: this follows the artists’ digressions and internal journeys as they develop compositional ideas