One kind of sketch pad, or sketchpad, is a bound set of sketch paper for artists. Sketching is a specialized type of drawing, used for preparing preliminary drawings, for capturing fleeting subjects, and as a means of perfecting technique. Sketch paper is drawing paper specially designed for sketching. The term sketch pad is also used analogically for computer software applications that provide users with a place to sketch out ideas, use drawings to communicate, or create visuals to match concepts.
Artists’ Sketch pads. The tooth of sketch paper, along with the weight, determines whether sketch paper is multi-purpose, or designed to fit a specific group of media or a particular artistic medium. Some sketch paper is multi-media, and some is specialized for a particular medium, such as markers. A smooth surface is geared to line drawing, technical drawing, and finished art. A medium surface may be used for all dry media (including pencil, pastel, marker, Conté crayon, and charcoal) plus pen, ink, and light wash. In addition, there are specialty sketch pads: for example, 3M® makes a Post-It® sketch pad that has a self-stick backing for instant hanging.
The weight of paper used for artists’ sketches is described in several ways: by point sizes that measure the thickness of a single sheet in thousandths of an inch, and by basis weight, a measurement in pounds of the weight of 500 sheets of the standard size of the paper, whatever that may be. Because the size of different types of paper is not consistent, comparing basis weights is complicated, but this doesn’t stop stationers from using them to describe sketch paper. To be sure of what you’re getting in a sketch pad, you may find it valuable to look at a different system of measurement. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) paper industry standard is considered the most consistent way to compare paper weights. The ISO measures weight in grams per square meter (gsm).
|10–35 gsm||tissue paper|
|35–70 gsm||lighter textweight|
|70–100 gsm||medium textweight|
|100–120 gsm||heavy textweight/light cardstock|
|120-150 gsm||regular cardstock|
|150-200 gsm||heavy cardstock|
|>200 gsm||super heavy cardstock|
Sketch paper ranges from 65 gsm to 120 gsm, that is, from weights in the lighter textweight paper range all the way through heavy textweight. If you can find the gsm measurement, you may have an easier time finding the paper that will work best for you. Most sketch paper in pads is plain and white or cream-coloured, but there are those who like to sketch on graph paper, and this, too, is available. The style of sketch material that a particular artist uses may have something to do the circumstances in which the sketch pad will be used, and may help determine the size and binding desired.
|Typical Sizes of Sketchpads:|
|8.5 x 11 inches||216 × 279 mm|
|9 x 12 inches||229 × 305 mm|
|11 x 14 inches||279 × 356 mm|
|12 x 18 inches||305 × 457 mm|
|14 x 17 inches||366 × 432 mm|
|18 x 24 inches||457 × 610 mm|
Artists’ sketch pads are also available in common ISO standard paper sizes such as A1 (594 × 841 mm), A2 (420 x 594 mm), A3 (1297 x 420 mm), A4 (210 x 297 mm), and A5 (148 x 210 mm).
Computer Sketch pads. Specialized computer sketch pads are available in a variety of fields. Bio Sketch Pad, developed at University of Pennsylvania, is a modeling and design program created by biologists. A program called, simply, Sketchpad, is a graphical interface for person-computer interaction that circumvents the need for all information to be rendered verbally. Input is given through a light pen, as well as through buttons, dials, and switches, as well as through the keyboard. It has mathematical and scientific applications, as well as being capable of artistic renderings.
The Geometer’s Sketchpad® is another example of a computer sketch pad, this one geared towards education. It is designed to create mathematical sketches such as 3D plotting, dynamic polyhedra models, and knots. Musical Sketch Pad is a tool for interpreting a drawing as musical sounds. Because the drawing tool is not sophisticated, only a rough sketch is possible, so the name "sketch pad" is fitting.
Whiteboards are a particular subset of computer sketch pads with a broad range of business and educational applications. Many whiteboards have a special focus on multi-user input, whether the users are together in one room and saving a diagram or brainstorming session directly from the whiteboard to their computer, or if they’re spread around the world and interacting over the Internet.