Carrie L. Lewis, Artist & Teacher

Helping You Create Art You Can be Proud Of

My Favorite Drawing Papers

What are your favorite drawing papers?

An excellent question! I’ve talked a lot about the pencils I use and how I use them, but haven’t spent much time talking about my favorite drawing papers. I’ve been remiss, so thank you for asking!

My Favorite Drawing Papers

My Favorite Drawing Papers

My two favorite papers are Stonehenge and Strathmore Artagain.

With Stonehenge, I usually use white. It does come in light colors (tan, light blue, etc.) and I do sometimes use those for special projects. This portrait was one of the first I drew on Stonehenge paper.

Favorite Drawing Papers - Portrait on White Stonehenge Paper

I’ve also occasionally used black, and although black papers aren’t usually my first choices, there is definitely a place for black Stonehenge. See the selection of Stonehenge papers at Dick Blick.

Artagain papers do not come in white, but I still use the lightest colors available. Flannel White (which is the lightest color, but not true white) and Beachsand Ivory. This drawing is on Beachsand Ivory.

Favorite Drawing Papers - Drawing on Beachsand Ivory Artagain

This paper is available in more colors than Stonehenge, so if I’m looking for something Stonehenge doesn’t offer, I can always get Artagain. It’s also more widely available than Stonehenge. See the selection of Strathmore Artagain at Dick Blick.

Papers I Want to Try

I’m going to be trying Canson Mi Tientes. Mi Tientes is a pastel paper, so the front of it is quite rough. It can be used for colored pencil.

I tried Cansion Mi-Tientes many years ago, but didn’t know about the two sides, and apparently used the pastel side. Result? I didn’t like it. I also used a lightweight version of the paper back then, so it didn’t stand up well under my method of drawing.

Recently, I saw an excellent demonstration on using turpentine with colored pencil and the art was using Canson Mi-Tientes. Her work turned out so well, I just had to try it. So I pulled out a scrap of that old paper and what do you know? I liked it! Here’s the drawing.

Favorite Drawing Papers - Drawing on Gray Canson Mi-Tientes

I’ve since purchased four sheets of heavier weight Mi-Tientes in four colors and look forward to giving it a try.

There’s a wider range of colors with this paper, including quite a few light colors. You can see Canson Mi Tientes at Dick Blick.

I described my work on the drawing above and you can read all about that here.

A Recommendation

All three types of paper are available in flat sheets and in pads. If you’re thinking about trying any of them (or any other paper, for that matter), I recommend buying drawing pads first. Pads of assorted colors are available, so you get a variety of colors at a good value.

Additional Reading

3 Basics of Drawing Paper

5 Differences Between Sanded Art Paper and Traditional Drawing Paper

Using Colored Pencil Paper to Reduce Drawing Time


On EmptyEasel: Interview with Colored Pencil Artist John Ursillo


Advantages and Disadvantages of Drawing: A Question


  1. Richard Steffens

    I really need to find time to check out your tutorials a bit more. I’m an ALMOST 63 year old man who’s been disabled in my legs & feet almost 10 years now. I get hired out once in awhile to draw what I call ”portraitures” [half portrait/half caricature] for others.

    • Richard,

      Let me know if you have any questions after checking out the tutorials.

      Your line of work (portraitures) sounds interesting. What methods and paper are you using?


  2. Barbara S

    I’ve used the Canson Mi Tientes and found it to be thin without much tooth and I could not build layers with it. I hope you post how the thicker paper works for you, maybe things have changed since I used it. I have had a lot of success with different brands of watercolor paper and Bristol Board in addition to the Stonehenge. I love your work!

    • Barbara,

      The first time I used Canson Mi Tientes, I didn’t like it for the same reasons you cite. After buying new colors, I found small pieces of those original sheets and I can tell you the old paper is thinner than the new. I don’t know if that’s because the paper has been changed, or if I just bought a heavier weight paper.

      I’m planning a demo of some sort on Canson, so stay tuned.

  3. Cathi Koenig

    I have used Arches HOT pressed paper with charcoal and it give a wonderful
    range of effects from really soft black to soft grays. I love, love love it !

    • Cathi,

      Hot press watercolor paper can be used with colored pencils, too, and produce beautiful results. It’s ideal for using colored pencils with solvent blending or in combination with water soluble colored pencils.

      Thank you for reading and for leaving a leave.


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