2019 Perfect Sketchbooks By Erwin Lian & Etchr Lab

The Perfect Sketchbook is back.

This time, the Perfect Sketchbook is made and released by Etchr Lab, the company based in Australia that has been making premium artists bags for the last few years.


The first Perfect Sketchbook (left) was released in 2014/2015 from the successful Kickstarter campaign by Erwin Lian. Since then, there has been several limited batch releases over the years. The design has also changed, from the palm sized sketchbook, to A5 portrait, then to B5 with the tanned cover, and this year we have the gray A5 and A4 landscapes and the B5 re-released known as the Signature edition (already sold out).

In addition to the Perfect Sketchbook, Etchr Lab has also released their own line of white-covered sketchbooks called the Etchr Sketchbook.

Here's the difference between the sketchbooks.

Etchr Sketchbook Perfect Sketchbook Perfect Sketchbook, Signature series
Etchr Sketchbook Perfect Sketchbook Perfect Sketchbook, Signature series
Paper weight 200+ gsm 300 gsm 300 gsm
Cover Cotton canvas Gray PU Brown PU
Size, format A6, A5, A4 (landscape) A5/A4 (landscape) B5 (portrait)
Paper 100% cotton, no brand mentioned 100% cotton, no brand mentioned 100% cotton Fabriano Artistico
Texture Hotpress, coldpress Coldpress Coldpress
Pages 54 44 44
Edges Machine cut Machine cut Hand torn, deckle edges
Grain flow Proper direction Proper direction Proper direction
Price (Global shipping included) Bundle of 3, US $54 - $104 Bundle of 3, US $94 - $134 Sold out

Here are some important things to note.

All sketchbooks are made with 100% cotton watercolour paper. There's no mention of the brand of paper used for the Etchr Sketchbook and the gray Perfect Sketchbook.

All sketchbooks are vegan friendly. The covers for the Perfect Sketchbook are now PU cover instead of leather.

The sketchbooks are sold in bundles and prices on Etchr Lab's website includes global shipping. It probably makes more sense economically to buy more sketchbooks so that the per-sketchbook shipping cost is lower.

Etchr Lab has sent me a few sketchbooks so here are my thoughts.


This is the gray Perfect Sketchbook that comes in A5 and A4 landscape sizes. It still comes with an elastic band (which will deteriorate in years to come), a back pocket and a ribbon bookmark.


Binding looks good.


The sketchbook can be opened completely flat easily.


Quality of the PU cover is good, almost indistinguishable compared to the leather cover Perfect Sketchbook I have. Surface is smooth to the touch. Corners and pages are rounded off nicely.


The paper is off-white just like earlier Perfect Sketchbooks.


The large back pocket allows you to put lots of stuff.


That's my old A6 sized original Perfect Sketchbook. A5 is definitely a more comfortable size to work with. For those who like to draw big, there's A4.


That's the Signature Series Perfect Sketchbook on the left compared to the original B5 Perfect Sketchbook.

At the time of this writing, the Signature Series is already sold out. If you want to get alerted when there's a new batch, you would have to sign up for the newsletter on Etchr Lab's website.


One's PU and the other's leather. Unless you tell me which is which, I probably won't be able to tell which is the real leather. Nowadays PU leather manufacturing is so advanced that they are almost indistinguishable from real leather. The only satisfaction you may get from buying real leather is probably the fact that you know that you have real leather. In terms of durability, PU is quite durable too.


Binding on the Signature Series is also good.


Opening flat is no problem.


The paper used is Fabriano Artistico 300gsm 100% coldpress watercolour paper. I actually prefer this paper over Arches as I find the texture a bit smoother which is better for drawing with pen vs Arches which is more grainy.


There's a back pocket as well.


All the sketchbooks are wrapped with plastic, placed inside a paper packaging that's placed inside a black paper envelope. There are also some moisture absorbent bags thrown in.

So are the Perfect Sketchbooks worth the money?

That's a tough question to answer because it really depends on your expectations.

Let's take the A5 Perfect Sketchbook as an example. I've got some of my customised sketchbooks made by the SPD and they come up to around the same price as those that Etchr are selling. The only difference is I know the brand of watercolour paper I'm using, eg Fabriano Artistico, but the paper brand for the gray Perfect Sketchbook is unknown. Anyway, as long as the watercolour behaves like good quality watercolour paper, that's all that matters.

Do you use the Perfect Sketchbook or the Etchr Sketchbook? Let me know in the comments section what you think about them.

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3 Comments

Hope you'll make a review

Hope you'll make a review comparing the three! Just to see if the non-fabriano artistico etchr sketchbooks are worth it or comparable to other 100% cotton papers at least. Would really love to know your full opinion.

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