• Poppy sketch in Strathmore 500 series sketchbook

    Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal Review

    In today’s post I’m sharing my thoughts about another sketchbook in my Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal Review. I’ll talk about the things I like and the things I’m quite not so keen on with this sketchbook.

    Because we are individual and paint in different ways a sketchbook that one person really likes another person may not like it at all! I always have several on the go at the any one time whereas other people may prefer to have just one sketchbook, we are all unique! I’m always on the lookout for the perfect sketchbook but I haven’t quite found it yet!

    Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal Review

    Strathmore art journals come in various sizes in both softback and hardback. They are available stitch bound and wire bound, and with a variety of different papers. The one I’m reviewing today is my 5.5″ x 8.5″ hard back 500 series mixed media art journal.


    Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal
    I sometimes stick a sketchbooks details on the back cover for reference.

    The sketchbook has 32 sheets, giving 64 sides to paint on. The 100% cotton paper is 190gsm, 90lb, with a vellum finish. It’s acid free and lignin free.

    Things I like about this sketchbook!

    The Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal with mixed media paper is one of the sketchbooks I have on the go at the moment. It’s the first Strathmore sketchbook I’ve used and although I have only done a few sketches so far I really like it.

    The sturdy lightly-textured, dark chocolate brown covers give this art journal a nice smart feel. Like some of the other small sketchbooks I’ve reviewed I find it’s not too heavy making it quite comfortable to hold and easy to take around.

    My Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal is stitch bound which is something that I look for when buying a new sketchbook.

    Woodland sketch in Strathmore 500 series sketchbook
    Mixed media sketch using watercolour, wax & collage.

    Although the mixed media paper in the 500 series art journal is slightly lighter in weight than some of my other sketchbooks, being 190gsm, I’m finding it strong enough for my mixed media sketches. This I feel is one of the benefits of using 100% cotton paper. For some of my mixed media sketches the paper must be strong enough to stand up to me scratching and scraping the wet paint with various different tools including palette knives, credit cards, twigs and feathers!

    Mixed media sketch in Strathmore 500 series art journal
    I like the crisp edges on the smoother surface, as can be seen in some of the pale background leaves.

    The paper has a fine vellum texture that makes the surface texture smoother than I normally use. I have to say when my art journal arrived I was a little disappointed to find this smoother texture however I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying working on it. I like the crispness it gives to my watercolour marks, if I don’t wish to soften them.

    Poppy sketch in Strathmore 500 series sketchbook

    Things I’m not so keen on about this sketchbook!

    As I mentioned I haven’t used this art journal before and having only done a dozen or so sketches in it so far I have found only one very minor point that I’m not so keen on.

    Woodland sketch in Strathmore 500 series art journal
    The slightly different height of the two pages made painting this sketch a little tricky.

    On the Strathmore website it says a durable Smyth-sewn binding has been used so it allows pages to lay flatter. However because I’m at the beginning of my at journal I have found the slight height difference between the right and left pages when opened fully makes it a little tricky to paint a spread. I do however feel once I get a little further into the book this will not be an issue.

    My overall thoughts on my Strathmore 500 Series Art Journal Review.

    Woodland sketch in Strathmore 500 series art journal

    So in conclusion I’m finding the mixed media paper in the Strathmore Art Journal 500 Series wonderful to use for the expressive studies I’m exploring at the moment. The paper seem strong enough to stand up to lots of fluid washes, collage and mixed media. I can see this will become one of my “go to” sketchbooks when using a small sketchbook.

    It would be great to hear if you have used this sketchbook or have any thoughts about it.

    If you would like to see more of my sketchbook studies please click here.

    The last sketchbook in my current series of sketchbook reviews will be next Monday when I’ll be discussing a Watercolour Journal by the Handbook Journal Company.

    Happy painting,


    You can see more of my daily art activities on my Facebook and Instagram pages.



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