I spotted this Tumuarta sketchbook on Amazon and noticed that it was 25% cotton and just had to give it a try! Here’s my review now that I’ve finished filling it up.

Sketching some fruit during my lunch break at Baker Sanctuary.

The Pros:

  • That 25% cotton really does make a difference! I got great granulation in my washes, brighter colors, and no warping even with multiple layers and lots of water and paint!
  • The price is right — it’s currently $11!
  • It has a ribbon to mark the page! So many smaller sketchbooks don’t have a ribbon and I always miss them. It also has a pocket.
  • It has perforated pages, so you can tear one out if you don’t like a page or you want to give someone a sketch. I haven’t tried tearing one out yet, but I think it will work fine. It also makes it easy to paint across pages if you’re doing a two page spread.
  • The paper has a bit of texture to it, but pens still worked fine.
  • Masking tape peels off without ripping.
Super quick gesture sketches at a bird show! (Oscar the great horned owl stole the show!)

The Cons:

  • The biggest con for me is that it’s a super tight fit for my Pocket Art Toolkit — it’s just a little too thick darn. I ended up just tossing it in my pack instead of trying to jam it in there.
  • It has a bit of an odd smell. I think it’s the sizing? It didn’t really bother me, it was just noticeable.

The verdict: I would definitely try this sketchbook brand again!


Here’s a flip-thru of the sketchbook that I posted on Instagram:

And here are some photos –click on a photo to see it larger:

Monarch in the wind. This had so many layers of color — but no warping.
“Paint the dog and not the fleas”, from a tree class that my friend Sandy taught. Masking tape peeled off without ripping. Snail sketched from a reference photo by Rosalie Haizlett in her book Watercolor in Nature .
I sketched a LOT of birbs in this book — and I’m not a birder lol! I saw the rare Golden Cheeked warbler several times this year — so cool!
Tree time! I scratched the paper with an X-Acto knife and it handled just fine.


Let me know if you have any questions! — Lisa


Bob Cochran · June 8, 2022 at 5:08 pm

Hi Lisa, this is a wonderful review. I’ll have to try out this sketchbook. I am wondering…have you tried painting on any of the Field Notes notebooks? My guess is the paper is just too thin on a lot of their stuff, but they have a new FNC-17 “Expedition” notebook that might interest you. I’m very tempted to give them a try. With all that said…I am no expert, I have a lot to learn about papers and how paper is made for specific purposes. I don’t know anything about truly high quality papers. With that said…I’m completely fascinated by papers of different types, sizes, and textures.

    Lisa Spangler · June 8, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Bob! Thanks on the review! I have tried doing some quick doodles on Field Note sketchbooks and they do warp, but it’s all just for fun! I haven’t heard of the Expedition series — off to check them out! :)

    Mary · June 12, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Bob, I have a lot of Field Notes, but don’t use them. I thought I’d journal “small”, but end up journaling as many words as I speak! And, at least in the past, FNs aren’t great for Fountain Pens, with which I journal. So I’m guessing the same would go with watercolor. There’s ghosting/bleed-thru issues with the ink.

    Lisa, I’ve found that I often struggle to fit a sketchbook into the ATK because I don’t minimalize well or I’m using a larger sketchbook. Try the Rubber Bands on the ATK site, and snug the sketchbook to the kit.

      Bob Cochran · June 12, 2022 at 10:40 am

      Hi Mary! I too have some Field Notes notebooks, but most of mine are the black 64 page notebooks that are roughly A5 in size. I’m agreeing that the paper on those do not take fountain pens well. I tend to use pencil on them.

      I guess if I rubber band a sketchbook to an Art Toolkit I would probably want to pop the sketchbook into something like a big ziploc baggie to keep the paper clean, and then rubber-band it to the Toolkit. I’d have to build in waiting time for a painting to dry before putting it in such a baggy, too. Maybe I could buy a small USB-powered fan to blow air on my paintings and thereby improve the drying time. That is extra weight though!

      It is great to hear from you Mary.

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