My favorite papers

Welcome to the very first blog on this website! Exciting! In this blog I will explain about my favorite paper types for realistic drawing. When you first get started with pencil, paper might not seem like a big deal. But actually the paper you choose makes a huge difference on the outcome! Keep reading to find out what my 3 absolute faves are.

Paper types

First of all it’s good to understand that there are many paper types for different materials. For instance there is watercolor paper, pastel paper, paper suitable for markers and acrylics, rough, smooth, light, heavy….. you name it! That why it’s often a little difficult to find the right paper for your goals when you are new to the world of art. I myself work with pastel pencils, colored pencils and graphite pencils, so I chose paper types that suit these materials very well.


Canson 1557, 180grams

Canson 1557 is a paper I’ve been using for the past 6 years. I started using it just for my graphite and charcoal work, but eventually discovered that it also works great for colored pencils.

This is a light grain 110,5lb, white paper. The light grain means that it’s not completely smooth, but not very rough either. It can take a good amount of layers, without feeling too rough to the touch. Though paper choice is very personal, and some people might find it too smooth or even too rough! Canson has lots of different papers to offer. Canson Bristol for instance is an extremely smooth paper. Some people might love it for cartoons, markers or human portraits, but for me it was too smooth. I like my paper to have a bit of grip. Canson 1557 is very affordable and does the job well.

Canson 1557 is acid free and archival paper.

If you are outside of Europe, Canson 1557 might be hard to come by. A smooth watercolor paper like hot-pressed watercolor paper would be a good alternative.


Clairefontaine Pastelmat

Pastelmat, the word says it all. It’s great for…pastels! Pastel pencils, soft pastels, pan pastels, they all work like a charm on this paper. I also love using my colored pencils on it.

Pastelmat is very heavy 170lb paper. It’s more like cardboard when it comes to the thickness. The backside is completely smooth and unsuitable for drawing. The frontside is used for drawing.

Pastelmat is unique in the paper world. There are no other papers with this exact same texture. The surface consists of tiny fibers, which gives it a velvety feel. You could compare it to sanded paper, but it’s actually not considered to be one. Pastelmat can take an unlimited amount of layers and it’s very suitable for working from dark to light. Adding tiny details in your drawing is quite easy on this paper compared to others. For me it’s the only Pastel paper I would recommend and continue using! It comes in 8 different colors. I prefer the neutral tones like grey, sand and brown.

Pastelmat is acid free, lightfast, water resistant and archival.


Strathmore toned grey/tan

An artist has to have a sketchbook, right?? Of course you don’t have to, but a good quality sketchbook is handy to have around. When it comes to sketchbooks I like to work on a toned paper, instead of a white paper. Strathmore makes awesome sketchbooks! The toned grey version has grey paper. The toned tan as a yellow beige paper.

The paper texture is smooth, but the sheets are quite thick and pencils have a good grip on the paper. It works great for quick pen sketches, graphite or colored pencils. It’s a very versatile paper! I love sketching on toned paper as it’s a neutral undertone. Both white pencils and black pencils show up on it really well, which makes it easier to practice your contrast and tonal values. Definitely a would recommend for every artist!

What is your favorite paper to draw on? Let me know in the comments!

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