Are you new to graphite art? Do you want to know what is the best paper to use for realistic graphite drawings? I use Strathmore Bristol Vellum Paper for my drawings.
By Dave Nevue
Strathmore Bristol Vellum Paper
Over the years, I have tried different papers for my drawings. For my commissioned and original drawings, I use Strathmore Bristol Vellum Paper.
The Strathmore Bristol Vellum that I use is 9 x 12-inch heavyweight sheets. The paper weight is 100 pound and is acid-free paper made in the USA.
I purchase my paper online. By purchasing my paper online I do not have to worry about customers touching the drawing surface in the local art stores. The paper will be unusable if oils from their hands get on the drawing surface. The oils will make the graphite dark and create smooth value changes are near to impossible to accomplish.
Strathmore Bristol Board (paper) is 2-ply and has a postcard feel. It is thick and will not bend or fold easily like regular paper does. This makes it perfect for matting and or framing for my commissioned work.
Strathmore Bristol Board comes in a smooth or a vellum surface.
Smooth Bristol board contains less tooth giving the paper a smooth surface. The tooth of the paper adheres the graphite to the paper. It is difficult to get darker values using smooth bristol board.
Vellum bristol board has more tooth making it easier to control the soft value changes for my drawings. I am also able to get darker values without pressing down too hard on the surface.
Vellum is suitable for a wide variety of mediums including graphite, charcoal, and crayon.
What side of the paper should I use?
You might have heard artists say that they will use the backside of the Bristol board for their drawings. I suggest learning what both sides have to offer by practicing similar techniques on both sides. You will then know what will work best depending on your style and the subject you are drawing.
Depending on what I am drawing will determine what side I am using.
Here are a couple of graphite pencil articles that you might be interested in:
Was this article helpful to you? What paper do you use for your drawings? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Graphite Drawing by Dave Nevue
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