Over the years, there have been a number of products that I struggled to find locally. Before online shopping became popular, I looked everywhere for isometric graph paper, at least all the office supply and art stores I happened upon, and it took me a while to find some.
Now, digital 3D modeling software has largely replaced manual sketching and visualization processes, but I still like to draw things out by hand occasionally, and isometric paper helps with 3D visualizations.
Perhaps I still like using isometric paper in part because I worked so hard to find it years ago. It also touches upon my fondness for technical drawing, but without the hassle of having to find a suitable drawing surface for a t-square and drafting triangle.
Basically, isometric paper has vertical lines and diagonal lines drawn at 30° angles. Instead of the small square boxes that you get with traditional graph paper, isometric paper has small equilateral triangles with 60 degree angles.
Isometric drawings let you visualize the top, front, and side views of an object. Sure, you could do the same sketches free-hand or with some drafting tools, but not quite as easily. My project sketches and plans are still very informal, but isometric paper makes them much easier to visualize, and with hardly more effort than a napkin sketch. A ruler or straightedge helps, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Lee Valley has some inexpensive isometric drawing pads, with solid lines 1/2″ apart and dotted lines 1/4″ apart with 1/16″ dot spacing. You can get a 50-sheet pad of 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper for just under $4.
Pro Art (via Amazon) has a 50-sheet pad of 8-1/2″ x 11″ isometric paper for $7.
Alvin (via Amazon) has a pack of 100 sheets sized 8-1/2″ x 11″ for ~$14.50.
There are other brands on Amazon as well. I’ve used Staedtler in the past, but at the moment I can’t find it at a good price online.
P.S. The Rotring 600 mechanical pencil is still on sale, just in case you wanted to pick up some new paper and a (figuratively) shiny new pencil to use it with. If you need a straightedge, I just bought an Alumicolor 12″ 3230-series scale and it seems well-made and versatile, and at a lower price than my solid one. Or pick up an acrylic ruler for cheap – lots of stores are having school supply sales right now.