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Monday, February 8, 2016

Choosing Paper for Colored Pencils

I love paper. My collection includes a wide variety of sizes and types of paper for drawing & painting.
* If you have a coloring book, you can copy a design onto artist grade paper by going to a copier. Ask for assistance and do a test run to save your good paper.

With so many kinds of paper available it can be confusing to choose. Understanding what the paper will be used for will narrow the choices.
Over time and constant experimenting, preferences for brands and types will emerge. And those will probably change as new products become available every year - new stuff to test drive - yay!

A brand that is good to start with. The heavy weight paper takes the pencil well. Vellum surfaces have more tooth.

When choosing paper for colored pencil work, here are some elements I look for:

Texture of the paper.  A medium tooth works best for me. Very smooth surfaces don't have much tooth for the pencil color to grab onto, which only allows for a few layers of color. Smooth works best for ink and very detailed art that will have a few or one layer.

Weight of paper. 98 - 140 lb is my favorite. The heavier acid free paper will not wave or buckle when using light watercolor washes under the pencil work (more on that later in a mixed media post!). Heavy paper stands up to more aggressive techniques like wet under paintings and stays flat.

Paper that is archival. Acid free, PH Neutral paper means that with proper care, your beautiful artwork will last forever.

Color of paper. Depending on the type of artwork, the color can be a bright white, cream, shades of tan or brown, or grey. I like neutral backgrounds. Bright white is great for illustrative work - it makes the artwork really stand out. (I even paint all my glass mosaics bases with white to make colors pop).

Choice of sizes. My preference is for the larger, artist grade sheets which I then cut down to the sizes I need. The pads of paper such as the Strathmore Bristol vellum and Mixed Media are nice, heavy acid free papers that are great to start out or travel with. Currently I am working smaller, 9"x12" - " - 2.5' x 3". Love doing the miniatures!

Price of paper. The pads of artist grade paper can be good deals when on sale or cutting the sheets to smaller sizes. Purchasing my favorite papers by the sheet and  cutting them down can be only pennies per drawing. A great way to enjoy quality materials on a budget :)

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