As any artist knows, the right paper can make all the difference in a drawing.
Different papers have different textures, weights, and absorbencies, affecting the final result.
It is especially important to choose the right paper when working with charcoal. A heavyweight paper will be less likely to buckle under the artist’s hand, while a smoother surface will allow more detailed work.
The absorbency of the paper is also essential, as too much absorbency can cause the charcoal to smudge and blur. As a result, choosing the right paper for a charcoal drawing can be challenging.
However, with some experimentation and understanding of the difference between papers, any artist can find the perfect match for their own unique style.
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What Is Charcoal
Charcoal is a drawing medium used by many artists to create a greyscale drawings. Each charcoal pencil has a dark, rich tone.
It is a medium that induces spontaneous and gestural marks and soft edges and streaks.
Charcoal is a dry, dusty material that is very easily maneuvered and can be easily moved, blended and smudged.
What Is The Difference Between Graphite pencils And Charcoal
For the uninitiated, charcoal and graphite pencils may seem like they would produce very similar results. However, these two drawing tools have quite different effects.
Charcoal pencils create darker and more intense lines, while graphite pencils produce lighter and more subtle lines. As a result, charcoal pencils are well suited for detailed work, while graphite pencils are more appropriate for sketching out rough ideas.
Of course, both types of pencils can be used for various purposes, and the best way to find out which one is right for you is to experiment with both. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find the tool that allows you to express your vision in the most effective way possible.
How To Choose The Right Paper For A Charcoal Drawing
As any artist knows, the paper you use can greatly impact the final product. When it comes to charcoal drawings, the right paper can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the piece.
So, what should you look for when choosing paper for a charcoal drawing?
The first thing to consider is the weight of the paper. Heavier papers are less likely to buckle or warp under the weight of the charcoal, making them ideal for larger pieces. However, lighter papers are often easier to work with and can provide a softer overall look.
Another important consideration is the texture of the paper. Smooth papers are best for achieving fine details like graphite or ink drawings. In contrast, rougher papers can add an interesting textural element to your drawing and allows soft mediums like charcoal and pastels to adhere.
Ultimately, the best paper for a charcoal drawing suits your style and preferences but make sure that the surface texture is rough enough to allow the charcoal to cling to.
Difference Between Smooth Paper For Charcoal And Textured Surface
Smooth paper is typically used for pencil or dry media that needs a smooth surface to produce fine lines with little friction.
A rough paper is necessary when using charcoal, pastel, or other wet media as the tooth (roughness) of the paper helps hold the pigment in place.
A sanded ground can also be used with oil paint to produce an even surface before starting to add color.
The main difference between smooth and textured surfaces is the amount of tooth or texture on the paper, which affects how the medium interacts with it.
Smooth surfaces are ideal for detailed work, while textured surfaces provide more coverage and can be used to build up layers of pigment.
Best Paper For Charcoal FAQ
Why use textured paper?
The main reason artists choose to use textured paper for charcoal drawing is that it can add an extra dimension to the drawing. Adding texture to the paper can also help hold the charcoal in place, making it less likely to smudge.
How does it work?
The texture of the paper provides a rough surface for the charcoal to grip onto. This allows you to create fine lines and detailed drawings. The downside is that it can be difficult to erase mistakes.
What are the different types of textures?
There are several different types of textures that you can choose from, depending on the effect you want to achieve. Coarse papers have a rough surface, while fine papers have a smoother finish. You can also get papers with special finishes, such as vellum or parchment.
What should you look for when buying paper?
When buying textured paper for charcoal drawing, it’s important to consider the weight and texture of the paper. Heavier papers are more durable and easier to work with.
What is acid-free paper?
Acid-free paper is paper that has a neutral or basic pH. Making acid-free paper also removes the lignin, a component of wood that causes papers to yellow and degrade over time.
Papers with a higher lignin content are also more likely to become brittle and break. Acid-free paper is important for documents that must be stored for long periods, such as archival records or fine art prints.
It is also often used for scrapbooking because it will not damage photos or other papers glued to it.
What does “ply” mean for drawing paper?
Ply paper comprises multiple layers of paper that are glued together. This gives the paper a sturdy feel and helps to prevent it from wrinkling or tearing.
The extra layers also make ply paper ideal for charcoal drawings that require a lot of pressure and erasing.
Lighter-weight paper is better for fine detailed work.
However, the extra layers can make ply paper more difficult to work with, so choosing the right type for your project is important.
What is hot-pressed paper?
Hot pressed paper is a type of fine art paper that has been pressed between heated rollers to create a smooth, glossy finish. It is typically used for watercolor paintings or other artwork that requires a smooth surface.
It is made by heating the pulp to form a sheet of paper. The sheet is then passed through two sets of heated rollers, pressing the sheet and giving it its smooth surface.
After passing through the rollers, the sheet is cooled and rolled up for storage. Depending on the artist’s needs, it can be found in various sizes and weights. It is available in various colors, though white is the most common.
Can you use charcoal on watercolor paper?
While many artists prefer to use charcoal on paper specifically designed for charcoal drawings, such as Bristol board, it is possible to use charcoal on watercolor paper. Watercolor paper is typically more absorbent than other paper types, so it can be difficult to achieve the desired level of darkness when using charcoal.
However, using a light touch and gradually building up the layers makes it possible to create successful charcoal drawings on watercolor paper.
In addition, watercolor paper often has a rough surface that can add interesting texture to a drawing.
Can you use charcoal on pastel paper?
Pastel paper is available in various surface textures, and many artists use it successfully with charcoal and colored pencil. When working with charcoal on pastel paper, the main thing to consider is the paper’s amount of tooth or surface texture.
If the paper has a lot of tooth, the charcoal will grip it well, and you’ll be able to create broad strokes. However, the charcoal may slip and produce a smudged effect if the paper is too smooth.
In general, it’s best to start with a medium-grade pastel paper and experiment until you find a surface that works well with your charcoal and produces the results you’re looking for.
Can you use toned papers with charcoal?
You can use toned papers with charcoal, but it will require special considerations.
First, it’s important to choose a heavyweight paper with enough tooth for the charcoal to adhere. This will provide a good foundation for your drawing and help prevent the charcoal from smudging.
Different colored paper can add depth to your artwork. However, remember that the darker the paper, the more difficult it will be to create dark contrasts. On the other hand, if you want to use white charcoal, a suitable paper for your project will be a darker-toned paper.
Best Paper For Charcoal Drawings
Strathmore Charcoal Drawing Paper
Strathmore is a company that produces high-quality drawing paper.
Strathmore charcoal drawing paper is one of their most popular types. This paper is white with a fine-tooth surface.
It’s made of 100% cotton rag and has a smooth texture that’s easy to work with. The paper is acid-free, so it won’t yellow or deteriorate over time.
Strathmore offers this paper in two sizes: 9″ x 12″ and 18″ x 24″. You can purchase it in packs of five or ten sheets.
The charcoal drawing paper is ideal for graphite pencils, soft charcoal, colored pencil, and pastels. It’s also perfect for erasing and reworking your drawings.
Strathmore’s charcoal paper is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a high-quality paper that will hold up well over time.
Canson Mi-Tientes Drawing Sheets
Canson Mi-Tientes Drawing Sheets are a type of heavyweight paper available in various colors. The sheets are made from a blend of cellulose and cotton fibers, giving them a smooth surface ideal for drawing and other art projects.
Mi-Tientes sheets are also acid-free, making them ideal for use with markers and other media that would otherwise damage traditional paper.
Mi-Tientes sheets are also relatively inexpensive, making them a great option for artists on a budget.
Overall, Canson Mi-Tientes Drawing Sheets are versatile and affordable for any artist looking for high-quality paper suitable for charcoal pastels and graphite.
Sax Sulphite Drawing Paper
Sax Sulphite Drawing Paper is a type of paper that is specifically designed for use with dry media, such as pencils, charcoal, and pastels.
The paper is made with a high percentage of sulfite, which gives it a smooth surface that is ideal for drawing.
The paper is also acid-free, meaning it will not yellow or discolor over time. Sax Sulphite Drawing Paper is available in various sizes and weights, making it perfect for any project.
Whether sketching a quick idea or working on a detailed drawing, this paper will provide you with the quality results you need.
Using the best paper for finished drawings is important for all professional artists. The paper for your finished work will depend on your artistic style.
A heavier paper is a good choice for artists that apply a lot of pressure, while a highly textured paper will work well for adding multiple layers and using a kneaded eraser to add highlights.
Have you been thinking about selling your charcoal drawings? The first step is to research how much pencil drawings sell for.
Important factors to consider are:
- Does your artistic style require a paper with more tooth?
- Will you be working with a workable fixative?
- Does your mark-making require heavy-weight paper?
- Are you going to frame the finished art?
Now that you understand the different types of paper available, you can feel confident choosing the correct supplies for charcoal drawing.