Anyone who has been to art college or university to do any art-based course will most likely have had the importance of keeping a sketchbook drummed into them. It took me quite a while to get into the habit of keeping a sketchbook in art college (way back in 1999) but as soon as I realised I didn't need to make every page a masterpiece, I was hooked. I've got a huge stack of sketchbooks that I've kept over the years, alternating from hardback A5 150gsm paper books to normal lined paper note books. My parent's loft contains a couple of boxes of my university sketchbooks that while I'm too embarrassed to look back over, can't quite bring myself to throw away.
One of the reasons I love keeping sketchbooks so much, is the fact that I can take them anywhere with me, even if I don't end up drawing anything. It's like a comfort thing! My sketchbook is always in my bag; I daydream quite a lot when I'm walking about and if I happen to happen to have an idea, I can quickly scrawl it down while I walk. It's also a perfect place to mindlessly doodle, something I'm particularly good at. A lot of the personal work I do starts off as some weird doodle in my sketchbooks that I've decided to work up.
I've been trying to get into a more regimented sketchbook routine as of late; I started a shiny new one a couple of weeks ago and decided I wanted to try and draw in it every day (not something I always do.) I leave for my part-time job at 10:20am on weekdays so I make sure I'm sat in the living room at 10am with my SB and try to doodle something. It's been pretty fun so far as I can just draw nonsense and have a bit of fun with it!
I rarely draw any roughs or ideas for work for publishers in my sketchbooks though as I try and keep them just for me. Roughs for work usually end up on normal photocopy paper so I can keep everything together. This does mean my desk becomes an endless mess with piles of paper everywhere while I'm working on books but it's a system that works for me! XD
Materials-wise for sketchbooks, I particularly fond of A5 Daler-Rowney hardbacks because the paper is nice to work on (not to thin) and they're easy to carry around. They also all look nice together on the shelf when they're full! XD I use Uni-Ball Vision Elite black pens to draw with, as they're pretty nice rollerballs and can be found in most supermarkets if I lose one. I have about a billion of them lying about, all in varying degrees of used-up-ness.
I also love looking at other people's sketchbooks; there's something very satisfying about looking at how people work and the doodles they come up with. Sketchbooks are essentially brain-dumps and I like looking at the insides of other artists heads this way! XD My insanely talented friend Mark Pearce keeps the most awesome sketchbooks and he must get fed up with me constantly asking to look at them whenever he's over our house. I don't think mine are quite so interesting to look at but I enjoy drawing in them anyway!