• *Same Day Dispatch* - For orders received before 12:30 PM Monday to Thursday Weekdays



Although sketch pads are perfect for art classes, many people like to use visual diaries, as keeping a log of ideas is a big part of the creative process. They are invaluable to sketch down ideas and concepts for future reference. In some ways a visual diary holds a little piece of the owners’ creative soul within its pages. No wonder people get so particular about the look and feel of the visual diaries they use.  

Derivan art pads 

derivan wooden painting panels

derivan concertina sketchbook

derivan sketch books

Derivan Kraft Cover Sketchbooks 

derivan watercolour landscape sketchbook


Although the media have told us many times that a paperless society is inevitable, it seems that paper is not only alive and kicking, but also adapting to environmental concerns with the advent of sustainable sources and environmentally friendly production processes. When you buy a piece of paper, it is often graded by GSM, which refers to the grams per square metre. The higher this number, the thicker the paper. Generally, once a paper gets above about 180gsm, it starts to become light cardboard. If you are doing a range of sketches that you want to keep you need to make sure that you drop acid – from your paper of course! Using acid-free paper stock will ensure that your creations do not yellow or crumble over time. You will see an extreme example of the effect of acid on paper can when a newspaper is left in the sun. It quickly yellows and warps because of the acid content in both the ink and the paper itself.

Visual diaries can be used for sketching, there is no need to be limited by pens and pencils. You could also use glue and tape to include found objects such as leaves, pieces of paper or pictures from newspapers and magazines. The golden rule for keeping a visual diary is not to be too concerned about keeping it all neat and tidy. The more messy and dishevelled they become, the more interesting they are. Most visual diaries contain cartridge papers of various thicknesses. The best visual diaries are those made with paper that comes from sustainable sources. Derivan has always been an avid supporter of green issues and has a demonstrated track record for using a process that have minimal effect on the environment.


Derivan Soft Cover Sketchbook that comes in both an A4 and an A5 size. While the words soft cover is associated with lightweight cardboard, the cover of this sketchbook is a thick, black, soft rubber-like material. This matte surface looks particularly sleek and ensures that these diaries can easily be handheld with slipping. TAll practical considerations aside, these diaries have a bit of “wow factor” and look rather stylish in a post-modern industrial way. Although these are the standard options for drawing and developing visual ideas, your local art store will have a wealth of specialty papers for you to experiment with. Don’t be hesitant just because a piece of paper does not have the words “for drawing” printed on it. If it’s paper, it’s an option. Keep your eye out for patternmaking cardboard, which is often sold off the roll. It’s a lightweight card with a smooth surface, and its brown, patchy colour perfectly complements black charcoal or dry white pastels. Litho paper is another interesting choice. One side is a smooth surface that is suitable for printing, and the other side is textured and excellent for sketching. If you like a rough-toothed paper that is traditionally associated with dry pastels, you can create your own using the Derivan Matisse Background Colours of your choice applied to a heavy paper or card. Leave it to dry, and a rough-toothed surface is yours!


Good quality and economical price make these glue bound drawing pads perfect for students and beginning artists. Suitable for pencil, charcoal, pen and ink and any other dry media. These pads contain 20 sheets of 140gsm heavy weight acid-free drawing paper. Available in A2, A3, A4 and A5 sizes with a heavyweight cardboard backing to provide a stable sketching support.


These medium texture watercolour paper pads are ideal for the student or professional artist alike. The cold pressed finish is suitable for watercolours, acrylics, gouache or any other mixed media application. Each pad contains 15 sheets of glue bound 300gsm acid-free watercolour paper.

Available in A3, A4 and A5 sizes and feature a heavyweight cardboard backing.


Derivan black pads are designed to allow the artist or student to create in a different way by providing a black surface which will bring brilliance and glow to light coloured drawings in pencil or other dry media techniques. Watch fluoresent and metallic colours stand out on its dark coloured surface. The pads contain 30 sheets of 150gsm card which is also suitable for scrapbooking and collage.

Available in A3, A4 and A5 sizes.


Derivan Wood Painting panels are excellent for the beginner, hobbyist or the experienced artist looking for an affordable and stable substrate for studies, experiments or final artworks requiring a professional finish.

Classic wood panels are ideal for delicate media like egg tempera, encaustic, frescoes or traditional acrylic, oils, collage, pastels, charcoal, graphite or a combination of these. Their stability and smoothness is perfect for mounting art paper for watercolour painting or for finished watercolour artworks, prints and drawings.

While a primer is not necessary for certain media applications, the panels can be sealed and primed with any suitable ground like acrylic gesso, traditional gesso and rabbit skin glue or any other primer and texture paste. The smoothness and depth of the wood frame allows the finished artwork to be hung directly on a wall without the need for framing.