So many different drawing papers are available, making it challenging to choose the right one for artists just starting.
All drawing papers are different, and you should understand the difference to invest in the best paper for your art projects. The tooth, weight, finish, and materials used to create the paper will significantly affect your finished drawing.
After reading this post, you will better understand what the best paper will be for your drawing style.
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Best Paper For Graphite Drawings
Drawing has been around for hundreds of years and is one of the most fundamental mediums used for art projects.
Art is a way for artists to express themselves visually. For an artist to communicate their message correctly, they will want to use a surface that will work best for their drawing.
That brings us to the question, “What is the best paper for graphite drawings?“
How often have you been in the middle of a project and realized that the paper’s texture makes it difficult for you to achieve your vision?
Often, artists will not consider the subject they are going to draw when they reach for drawing paper.
The artist’s drawing style and the subject will determine the drawing paper best for each project.
Knowing some information about the different types of paper available will allow you to choose which one will work best for your art projects.
Paper is made by creating a pulp out of different fibers.
The most common fibers in paper are wood and cotton.
The fibers are made into a pulp, molded, pressed, and dried.
Every step determines the texture of the paper.
The paper’s texture will affect how the graphite marks the surface.
Quality Of Paper
Low-quality papers are mainly made of wood fibers.
These fibers are very acidic and will degrade over time.
Newspapers are made out of lower-quality paper and will discolor in time.
If you use this type of paper, your finished project will be affected in time.
“Rag” paper is a higher quality paper, usually handmade from cotton and linen fibers.
The fibers used for higher quality papers are more resistant to breaking down from chemicals and acid.
“Rag” paper is more expensive but is best for graphite drawing projects.
Mid-range papers are made with wood, cotton, and linen fibers.
A chemical is added to the paper to slow down the deterioration caused by pH.
Mid-ranged papers are less expensive than “rag” paper and might work well for your projects.
What Is The Difference Between Archival And Acid-Free?
You will notice on the paper package a label stating if the paper is “acid-free” and/or archival.
Archival is naturally non-acidic and will be less likely to break down, allowing collectors to enjoy your art for many years.
Most papers marked “acid-free” have been treated with a chemical.
The chemical added will help preserve the paper but is not as good as archival papers.
What Does Archival Paper Mean?
Archival paper is an acid-free paper that contains no unbleached pulp, or groundwood and is free from optical brighteners. Archival paper with archival pigment inks can last for over 75 years before fading.
Selling reproductions on archival paper will increase the value, allowing you to increase the price.
You will notice the weight of the drawing paper printed on a label of the different drawing papers.
The weight will determine the thickness of the paper.
The weight is determined by weighing 500 sheets of the same size paper.
The thicker the paper, the heavier the weight will be.
Your drawing style and how hard you press on the paper will determine what will work best for you.
The thicker the paper is, the harder you will press on the surface without damaging it.
Regular printing paper weights 20lbs.
The best paper for graphite drawings should weigh 80 lbs or more significant.
Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum was used for this graphite drawing.
All papers will have a different texture, referred to as “tooth.”
The tooth allows the media to adhere to the surface.
Smoother surfaces or “less tooth” work well for graphite, pen, and ink.
Charcoal and crayon will work better with more “tooth.”
For graphite artists, it is more of a personal preference.
For projects that have lighter values, I will use smooth paper.
I will use more textured paper if the values need to be darker.
Related Post – Strathmore Bristol Smooth Paper Review
What Type Of Paper Is Best For Pencil Drawings?
A rough paper is best for pencil drawings and sketches. A rough paper is a paper with more “tooth”. The tooth of the paper makes the graphite adhere to the paper creating a mark. The more tooth a paper has, the more graphite layers can be applied, making it easier to create soft value changes.
Cheap paper like printer paper or notepad paper has a smoother surface, making it impossible to add multiple layers but is good enough for doodling or sketching.
What Is The Best Drawing Paper For You
The best drawing paper for your drawings is a personal choice. You want to ensure that the paper’s weight matches what you’re using it for and that quality meets your needs. For example, sketchbooks are more appropriate for practicing penciling skills, whereas high-quality drawing papers will work better if you need them framed or sold in galleries.
Can You Use Graphite On Watercolor Paper?
Graphite is one of artists’ most popular drawing mediums because it can create various effects. Graphite pencils are also highly versatile and can be used on just about any surface – even watercolor paper.
The first step to successfully using graphite on watercolor paper is getting the correct type of pencil. The softer your lead, the easier it will be to blend with to create soft shades. A 2B or 4B pencil would work well for this purpose.
The second step involves the paper and ensuring it’s well-suited for graphite. Some watercolor papers are too porous to accept graphite easily, while others can quickly scratch or dent when used with a sharp pencil point. Watercolor paper-like Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper is a good choice if you decide to use watercolor paper for your drawing surface.
What Is The Smoothest Drawing Paper
The smooth paper will be suitable for rough sketches but not good for final drawings with even shades.
What Is Bristol Paper?
Bristol Paper is a type of drawing paper that comes in many different weights, types, and sizes – so you can choose which one works best with your art needs! The most common weight of Bristol paper measures between 300gsm and 500gsm (grams per square meter), but it also comes as 100gsm or 150gsm. It’s available in white or cream sheets- each being the same size.
The different weights of paper are good for many mediums such as pencil, colored pencil, pen & ink, charcoal, pastel, or watercolor paint. Strathmore Bristol paper also comes in a smooth and vellum surface texture which is suitable for different art styles.
What Is Bristol Paper Best For?
Bristol paper is one of the most popular types of art paper. It is often used by comic book artists and for drawing and sketching. This type of paper has a watercolor-like texture, allowing it to absorb ink from pens, markers, and paintbrushes without showing any bleed-through or trace lines.
Bristol Paper works well as a preliminary sketching medium or for finished artwork.
Is Bristol Paper Archival
Bristol paper is a popular choice for artists, but does it have archival quality?
The Bristol drawing paper is made of cotton and linen fibers, both archival materials.
The 500 Strathmore Bristol paper is acid-free and made from 100% cotton, which is archival quality.
However, environmental factors will make it more susceptible to degradation over time if it’s not stored correctly. We recommend mounting your graphite drawing on a museum-quality mat board and acid-free backing material. Store unframed drawings in a container that protects the bristol paper from light, moisture, dust, and dirt in storage containers like Hann Mobile Paper Storage Cart. Lay the drawings flat and separate each drawing with glassine paper.
Below is a list of high-quality papers used for graphite drawings.
Below is a variety of Bristol smooth surface paper and Bristol Vellum paper.
Bristol paper is a high-quality paper used for pencil drawings, fine art, colored pencils, and mixed media.
Strathmore 300 Series Drawing Pads
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Smooth
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum
- Drawing Pad, Glue Bound, 50 Sheets, 9″ × 12″
- Drawing Pad, Glue Bound, 50 Sheets 11″ × 14″
- Drawing Pad, Glue Bound, 50 Sheets 14″ × 17″
- Drawing Pad, Wire Bound, 50 Sheets, 9″ × 12″
- Drawing Pad, Wire Bound, 50 Sheets, 11″ × 14″
- Drawing Pad, Wire Bound, 50 Sheets, 14″ × 17″
- Drawing Pad, Wire Bound, 25 Sheets, 18″ × 24″
Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper Pads
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 4″ × 6″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 6″ x 8″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 8″ x 10″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 9″ x 12″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 11″ x 14″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 12″ x 18″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 14″ x 17″
- Drawing Paper Pad, 24 Sheets, 18″ x 24″
What Is The Best Paper For Sketching
So what paper is best for sketching? There are several different papers to choose from, so you should take the time to determine which one works best for your needs. Some sketches are for rough ideas, some are for finished products. Make sure you get a thin and strong paper to push through your ideas without tearing or ripping it.
A common misconception about sketching is that the best papers are expensive, but this isn’t necessarily true since there’s no need to use an expensive paper if rough sketches only serve as brainstorming aids while other more detailed work can be done on any one of some different types of paper depending on what type of product you’re working on. The key thing with sketchbooks is that they should have plenty of empty pages, so once you’ve filled up half the book with drawings, it’s time to buy another book.
Here are some suggestions that will work well:
Bristol Paper – The paper is lightweight and strong, which makes it ideal for both pencils and pens.
Canson Sketch Book – This paper has a texture similar to watercolor paper, but it’s much cheaper. It comes in three sizes: A5, A4, and A3.
Stonehenge Paper – This paper will hold up to ink and graphite, but it’s slightly pricey.
Printer paper – This paper is good for rough sketches and working out your ideas.
Daler-Rowney Artists’ Sketch Pads – These are heavy-weight papers that work well with both pens and pencils.
How To Sell Pencil Drawings Online
Are you interested in selling your drawings online?
To learn how to sell your drawings, visit How to Sell Drawings Online and Make Money.
After learning how to sell your drawings online, consider selling prints of your art so you can generate an income while you are waiting for your originals to sell.
Enhance Your Drawing Skills
- Art Challenge Ideas Spark Creativity
- Sketching Tips To Make You A Better Artist
- 5 Awesome Art Techniques Using Various Mediums
- Realistic Drawing Tips You Must Know
- How To Shade Drawings With Graphite
- Drawing With An Eraser
For more drawing tutorials, visit Free Drawing Tutorials
Final Thoughts On The Best Paper For Graphite Drawings
The best drawing paper for your artistic style is a personal choice. The purpose of your art will determine the type and weight of the paper you use, whether it be sketchbooks or high-quality drawing papers.
Sketchbooks are suitable to practice on as well as selling drawings at galleries using if they’re not framed yet; however, when doing commissioned work in which creativity is rewarded with money, then top quality materials should be used, such as those that have been reinforced by either linen or cotton rag media sheets and acid-free matboards so all can see these beautiful creations without them degrading over time due to improper handling techniques.