The 7 Best Art Journals — & They Start At Just $10

Express yourself with blank and guided journals for wet or dry media.

The 7 Best Art Journals — & They Start At Just $10
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Art journaling is a wonderful way to express your feelings, ideas, and emotions on paper using any creative medium that you choose. To get started, you’ll need one of the best art journals — top picks will feature paper that’s thick enough to prevent your work from bleeding through and binding that matches how you’ll use it. Journal sizes and the number of sheets included vary widely, offering lots of choices for different needs.

What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Art Journals

When creating a visual diary, think about the following criteria to choose the best journal:

  • Paper weight: Paper weight is typically measured in grams per square meter (GSM) — the higher the GSM, the heavier and thicker the paper will be. As a general guide, lightweight paper is usually less than 160 GSM, medium options are around 160 GSM to 215 GSM, and heavyweight picks are anything higher than that. Some art materials (particularly wet media like watercolors) will require a thicker paper to not bleed through. However, if you’re sketching, doodling, using stickers/gluing on images, etc. you may not need quite as thick paper.
  • Binding: Journals typically feature either spiral binding or stitched binding. Spiral binding has coils that allow the pages to lay flat, making them easier to work with and the pages are often perforated in case you want to tear them out. A downside? Some find that the coils get in the way of making art (particularly those that are left-handed), though top-bound picks solve this issue. Alternatively, stitched binding is a sturdy choice that allows you to use both pages together to create a larger piece of art. However, stitched binding likely won’t lay as flat, which some artists may find annoying, and you can’t easily rip pages out.
  • Number of pages & page size: A smaller journal is easier to take with you on the go, though the tradeoff is that there’s less space for creative expression. Also, consider how many pages you’d like your journal to have — the more pages, the longer you’ll be able to use it with the tradeoff being how heavy it is.
  • Plain versus prompted: If you’re a bit stumped on what you’d like to put in your art journal, you might enjoy a pick that features prompts to guide your creative process. Otherwise, go with a journal with plain pages to allow room for full creative expression.

Shop The Best Art Journals

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for the best art journals.

  1. A Fan-Favorite Spiral-Bound Journal For Just $10: Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad
  2. A Hardcover Journal From A Well-Loved Brand: Moleskine Art Sketchbook
  3. A Journal With Heavyweight Paper For Wet Media: Stillman & Birn Zeta Series Softcover Sketchbook
  4. A Journal With A Prompt For Every Day Of The Year: 365 Days of Art: A Creative Exercise for Every Day of the Year
  5. A Beautiful Leather Journal That Features Recycled Cotton Pages: Moonster Leather Journal
  6. A Journal For Dry Media With Spiral Binding At The Top: Fuxi Sketchpad
  7. A Wildly Popular Journal With Prompts That Allow You To Get Creative: Wreck This Journal: Now In Color

Express yourself with these seven art journals — they’re all loved on Amazon so you can’t go wrong with any of them!

1. A Fan-Favorite Spiral-Bound Journal For Just $10


  • Fan-favorite on Amazon; 46,000-plus reviews, 4.8-star rating overall
  • Perforated pages are easy to pull out
  • Works for wet and dry media
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes


  • Some reviewers reported bleeding using markers and curling with watery paints

Beginners and experienced artists alike are big-time fans of this mixed media journal from Canson — in fact, it boasts a near-perfect 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon after 46,000-plus reviews as a testament to its greatness. The journal has a side spiral binding to lay totally flat during use, and it features 60 sheets of slightly textured white paper. At 160 GSM, the paper is medium weight, allowing you to use both wet and dry art mediums on it (think: markers, pastels, pencils, watercolors, acrylics, charcoal, and more). The pages are perforated should you want to pull them out to display your artistry.

One Reviewer Wrote: “I use these wonderful books for my art journaling and have found that they hold up well to almost anything I throw at them, from acrylic paints, to watercolors, to sprays and mists and everything in between! The paper is a terrific weight, with just enough tooth to hold your paint without being rough or bumpy. They are very reasonable priced and a good size for working at home or on the go. I cannot recommend this journal highly enough!”

Paper GSM: 160 GSM | Binding: Spiral | Number Of Sheets: 60 | Available Sizes: 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 7 x 10 inches, 9 x 12 inches, 11 x 14 inches, 14 x 17 inches

2. A Hardcover Journal From A Well-Loved Brand


  • Hardcover for added durability
  • Elastic closure band secures pages when not in use
  • Matching bookmark ribbon included
  • Expandable inner pocket for small items
  • Comes in 3 cover colors


  • Some reviewers don’t like that the pages are ivory in color
  • Limited to dry media

Moleskine is well-known for making high-quality journals, sketchbooks, and notebooks, and this particular sketchbook from the brand is *perfect* for art journaling. It features 104 sheets of 165 GSM ivory paper that’s ideal for dry media like pens, markers, and more. The elastic closure band and hard, leather-like cover combine to keep the pages protected — yes, even when you toss the journal in a bag or backpack for use on the go. The inner storage pocket is expandable, should you want to stash a few small items inside.

Choose from black, scarlet red, and sapphire blue cover options. Interested in using wet media? Try the brand’s watercolor journal.

One Reviewer Wrote: “I love my Moleskine art books. We use them for art journaling. The hard cover protects the inner pages and the elastic keeps the book closed when [...] I carry it in my purse or backpack. The pages are nice and heavy.”

Paper GSM: 165 GSM | Binding: Stitched | Number Of sheets: 104 | Available Sizes: A3 (11.8 x 16.5 inches), A4 (8.3 x 11.8 inches), Medium (4.5 x 7 inches), Large (5 x 8.3 inches), Pocket (3.5 x 5.5 inches)

3. A Journal With Heavyweight Paper For Wet Media


  • Extra-thick paper prevents bleeding
  • Can use a wide variety of art materials in the book
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes


  • Softcover not as protective for travel as hardcover options
  • Doesn’t lie flat

At 270 GSM, the pages in this sketchbook from Stillman & Birn are exceptionally thick to hold up to nearly any art form imaginable — dry, wet, a combination of both … this pick can handle it all! The white pages are completely smooth, and the stitched binding is durable to last the long haul. Keep in mind this pick has just 28 pages.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Great art paper [...] The quality of the paper in this sketchbook is amazing. It's thick and holds up well to water based media.”

Paper GSM: 270 GSM | Binding: Stitched | Number Of Sheets: 28 | Available Sizes: 3.5 x 5.5 inches, 5.5 x 3.5 inches, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 7.5 x 7.5 inches, 8 x 10 inches, 8.5 x 5.5 inches

4. A Journal With A Prompt For Every Day Of The Year


  • Prompts help to spark creativity
  • 365 activities to last the whole year


  • Limited to the activities in the book

Want to do an art journal but not exactly sure where to begin? This guided journal is the perfect solution because it features 365 activities to foster your creativity every day of the year — prompts range from simple tasks like drawing shapes and lines to more in-depth exercises like painting with primary colors or drawing what you see. There are even inspiring quotes and gorgeous watercolor illustrations to keep you engaged. Amazon reviewers give this journal a 4.7-star rating overall on the site after 4,000-plus reviews. Many note they use pencils, pens, or markers in this pick, as the pages are moderately thick.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Arrived quickly, in mint condition. Exactly what I needed to break myself out of art block and learn to experiment and change up my artistic formula. I like opening to a random page and completing whatever prompt I open to. Lots of fun to test out new art supplies in.”

Paper GSM: Not listed | Binding: Book | Number Of Sheets: 176 | Available Sizes: 6.8 x 8.5 inches

5. A Beautiful Leather Journal That Features Recycled Cotton Pages


  • Made from gorgeous genuine water buffalo leather
  • More than 100 recycled cotton pages; plenty of room for art
  • Wrap closure keeps pages safe during travel


  • Only available in two sizes
  • Thinner paper is best for dry media

This journal from Moonster is an absolute stunner with its genuine leather cover (the distressed finish just gets better with age), hand-stitched binding, and a rustic leather closure strap. But don’t just take my word for it — Amazon reviewers also have major heart eyes for this pick, giving it a near-perfect 4.8-star overall rating after more than 11,000 reviews on the site.

Stylishness aside, this journal is also a high-quality choice for art journaling. The white pages are made from recycled cotton, and the journal lays nearly flat when open to allow you to get artsy without disruption. Keep in mind this paper is thinner and would be best used for dry media. Choose from lined or unlined page options based on what works best for your creative process.

One Reviewer Wrote: “Great book for art, small scrapbook and painting. The paper is thick enough for light to medium watercolor without going through the pages. I've also used watered down acrylic paint with success. The pages don't eat up the color. It will pill if you erase too much or get it too wet. The pages take embellishments well. I used a simple glue stick to apply. Colored pencils did great as did Crayola markers. Paint pens bled, but gel pens performed well. Oil paint is a no go as is chalk.I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well made and a great gift for you or loved ones who enjoy journaling. Recommended.”

Paper GSM: 125 GSM | Binding: Stitched | Number Of Sheets: 120 | Available Sizes: 7 x 5 inches (lined or unlined), 8 x 6 inches (lined or unlined)

6. A Journal For Dry Media With Spiral Binding At The Top


  • Top bound spiraling won’t get in the way as you work
  • Perforated pages are easy to pull out
  • Highly rated: 88% of reviewers gave it 5 stars


  • Only available in one size
  • Thinner paper is best for dry media

With a solid 4.8-star rating overall on Amazon after 6,000-plus reviews, it’s clear that reviewers on the site adore this Fuxi sketchpad. And for good reason — it has a sturdy spiral binding that’s located at the top to not get in your way as you work, as well as 100 GSM pages that are ideal for dry materials like pencils, charcoal, sketching sticks, and more. The white, acid-free paper is slightly textured, and it’s a generously-sized journal at 9 by 12 inches with micro-perforation at the top for easy removal.

One Reviewer Wrote: “I wanted a sketchbook that could handle a multitude of mediums, and give me plenty of space to use them. This accomplished both of those things. While it gets a little iffy for watercolor, using any materials such as: pencils, pens, markers, pastels, or even chalk, this will work wonders for you.”

Paper GSM: 100 GSM | Binding: Spiral | Number of sheets: 100 | Available sizes: 9 x 12 inches

7. A Wildly Popular Journal With Prompts


  • Has guided prompts, but still allows for creativity
  • 22,000-plus reviews, 4.7-star rating overall


  • Limited to the activities in the book

Spark your creativity with the help of this super unique journal entitled Wreck This Journal. It contains a wide variety of prompts that’ll encourage you to paint, shred, color, chew (nope, that’s not a typo!) the pages, and so much more — there’s no right or wrong way to use it. Many Amazon reviewers claim it’s a great stress reliever and tons of fun, allowing you to really lean into the artistic process — this is likely why it’s so incredibly popular on the site, boasting a 4.7-star rating overall, after 22,000-plus reviews. Choose from either the paperback version (for just $10) or the pictured spiral-bound options based on your preference.

One Reviewer Wrote: “I absolutely love this book! I am using it as intended, as an art journal with prompts to draw, paint, glue things into, etc. It is so fun for an art journal or junk journal to get ideas. Even if you are not new to doing this type of project, the prompts and the color pages and even the font of the words on the pages is so fun and colorful and creative.”

Paper GSM: Not listed | Binding: Spiral or paperback book | Number of sheets: 112 | Available sizes: 5.6 x 8.3 inches