A Hahnemühle ZigZag book expanded to show a series of sketches.

Telling a Story with ZigZag Sketchbooks

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Art Toolkit Team

Inspiration | November 21, 2022

We love what an accordion book can bring to art adventures! The expandable format is perfect for telling a story, batching thematic observations of the world around you, or capturing a whole experience in one sketchbook.

A grid of Hahnemühle ZigZag books.
Large ZigZag books knolled

We are happy to now offer our favorite Hahnemühle ZigZag book in a large size, 14cm x 14cm (5.5" x 5.5"). This time last year, the ZigZag book was only available as a part of one of our holiday offerings and in a mini size. Now, we have two sizes of ZigZag books available year-round!

A Hahnemühle ZigZag book shown partially open from above and to an angle.
Large ZigZag book open

The large ZigZag book slips easily into an A5 Art Toolkit and features 18 pages of 140lb fine-grained watercolor paper. It is smooth enough for pen, handles watercolor washes beautifully, and can be painted on both sides.

Hahnemühle ZigZag books also include an elegant red elastic closure for the fabric hardbound covers. We love working in a ZigZag book, as their format allows some sketches to expand onto multi-page spreads, and you can work on multiple pieces at once!

Maria Coryell-Martin’s Hahnemühle ZigZag book open, showing sketches of ferries and fall leaves.
Maria’s Hike and Draw ZigZag Sketchbook
An artist sketches with a fountain pen in a field of dry grass.
Maria paints on her lap

Above is an in-progress photo of a large ZigZag book Maria is working on using the new Explore Palette Plus! She loved filling these first pages with scenes and treasures from a recent Hike and Draw event in Seattle.

Maria Coryell-Martin’s Hahnemühle ZigZag book open, showing sketches of ferries.
Up-close shot of Maria’s sketchbook

When you want to go smaller, we still have the fantastic mini ZigZag as well (5cm x 5cm or ~2” x 2”). Here are two examples of how you can capture a journey or a feature of your surroundings with a mini ZigZag book: one by Maria of a mini-adventure across the ferry to Seattle, and one by Nakaia of local berries and flowers!

Maria Coryell-Martin’s mini Hahnemühle ZigZag book open, showing color studies from an adventure in Seattle.
Mini Adventure in a Mini Hahnemühle ZigZag Sketchbook
A Hahnemühle ZigZag book expanded to show a series of sketches.
Mini Adventure and Local Flora in Mini Hahnemühle Sketchbooks

Maria says: “I am thankful that there are always new ways to explore a sketchbook. Last year, I started playing with accordion formats using the tiny ZigZag books and loved how they could capture stories and experiences. From illustrating a “Book of Delights” (inspired by Ross Gay’s Book of Delights) to filling an entire sketchbook from a day at the zoo, each one I created became a little story of its own. I loved how my sketches could expand into narratives and multi-page spreads (especially during long ferry waits!).”

What comes to mind when you imagine filling one of your very own?