Do You Sketch Small?

I’ve always carried a small sketchbook with me for doing quick-sketches of things.  But more and more I’ve been sketching in 5×8 or 10×7 sketchbooks. Working larger is fun and lets me ‘stretch’ my gaze a bit more.  The result is that my small sketchbook became a cheap dollar store sketchbook that wouldn’t tolerate watercolors while my larger sketchbooks are all Stillman & Birn, first-class sketchbooks. The ‘gap’ between small and large had become greater in my sketching.

So I tried one of Stillman & Birn’s 4×6 sketchbooks.  In fact, I’ve nearly filled two of them.  The paper is fantastic, as always, but a 4×6, thick sketchbook is too ‘big’ to be called a ‘small’ sketchbook, at least for this street sketcher.  I need something I can stuff in a pocket.

And so I bought a Moleskine watercolor book.  I don’t much like its landscape layout but it’s tolerable in this small size.  The larger one is almost painful to manage if you try to balance it on your knee while sitting on a stool, which is my typical approach.  I do wish they’d produce a portrait format sketchbook with their watercolor paper.  Heck, what I really wish is that Stillman & Birn would produce a thin (30pages?) 3×5 sketchbook with their Epsilon paper.  Then I’d be a very happy sketcher.

This is a Celtic Cross in Artillery Park. 3x5 and done with a Pilot Prera.

This is a Celtic Cross in Artillery Park. Done with a Pilot Prera.

Anyways, I’ve started doing small pen & ink watercolors again and I’m really enjoying it.  I thought I’d share some with you.  All of these were done in the tiny Moleskine.  I’ll mention the pen used in captions.


Factory building along the Riviere St. Charles. Sakura Micron 01.

Lamp on Plains of Abraham. Uniball Signo UM-151 "brown-black" .28

Lamp on Plains of Abraham. Uniball Signo UM-151 “brown-black” .28


Cast metal fountain on Plains of Abraham.  Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon Black.

Cast metal fountain on Plains of Abraham. Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon Black.

Large light inside the Kent Gate. Pilot Prera.

Large light inside the Kent Gate. Pilot Prera.

Cartier-Brebeuf Park. Pilot Prera

Cartier-Brebeuf Park. Pilot Prera


Pilot Prera w/Platinum Carbon Black

6 thoughts on “Do You Sketch Small?

  1. These are great small sketches, Larry. Watching what you are doing with the 3×5 Moleskine WC is encouraging me to dig out my neglected and abandoned 3×5 Moleskine WC that I only got 1/3 the way through, and try that size again. Another one who’s done some great work in this little sketchbook is Don Gore:

  2. There is a portrait moleskine called “sketchbook” with paper, not exactly watercolor, but thicker than the “notebook”. I just bought one, but I still have not drawn on it. I expect results…

  3. Hi Stacy,
    Thanks for stopping by. I think part of the ‘small’ for me is being able to scale my subjects down as well as the sketch. Lots of fun. I’ve seen some of Don’s work but thanks for the URL as there’s certainly a lot more there.

    Cheers — Larry

  4. While it’s true that Moleskine has a ‘sketchbook’ series, the paper doesn’t take watercolors well at all and the paper quality has become quite variable. Thus, they’re not an option for me.

    Cheers — Larry

  5. Larry just was checking out the sketches, I can see why you enjoy a small sketch book. It’s nice seeing them with color. I am surprised I didnt notice you were an Author until now. I am going to get the book ASAP (like now) for my Kindle. I love this type of story and should be fun to read. You are on Talented guy.

  6. Hi Lynne,
    Glad you like the sketches in color. My ‘color’ isn’t as well-done as yours but I’m more a pen guy than a watercolor guy 🙂 Hope you like the book. It’s my idea of a mystery novel – a detective with a family and a good sense of humor.

    Cheers — Larry

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