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 papers are Stonehenge, Canson Mi-Teintes, and Strathmore Artagain Drawing Paper.
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.
I’ve also occasionally used black, and although black papers aren’t usually my first choices, there is definitely a place for black Stonehenge.
Fawn is another color that works very well for my favorite subjects (horses and landscapes.) I’ve also used Pearl Gray and Natural.
Stonehenge is a 90lb paper designed for printmaking. It’s soft to the touch, but also tough enough to take multiple layers, and some solvent blending.
One neat thing about Stonehenge: If you get it damp, it will wrinkle or buckle, but if you let it dry lying flat, it dries out and the buckling disappears.
TIP: I’m able to get Stonehenge paper manufactured under the Rising brand from a local store. There is a difference between Rising Stonehenge paper and current Stonehenge paper. I don’t know what it is, but if you can find Rising Stonehenge anywhere, buy it and give it a try.
There is a difference between the surface quality of Stonehenge in the sheets and Stonehenge in the pad. The padded variety feels more like Bristol than a printmaking paper. If you’re new to Stonehenge, get it in the sheet first. That will give you the best sense of what the paper is like.
The pads are also quality paper, but it won’t take as many layers.
Canson Mi Teintes is a pastel paper, so the front of it is quite rough. It can be used for colored pencil. Matter-of-fact, I accidentally used the front for the tutorial showing how to draw a foggy morning. I almost started over when I discovered my error, then changed my mind. I’m glad I did! The pastel texture was ideal for drawing fog.
But the smoother backside is better for colored pencil overall. The difference is visible, so make sure which side you’re using when you begin drawing.
I tried Canson Mi-Teintes many years ago, but didn’t know about the two sides, and apparently used the pastel side. Result? I didn’t like it. The paper was also a bit flimsy, and didn’t stand up under my method of drawing.
The light-weight version I first tried has been replaced by a 98lb paper that stands up to multiple layers, heavy pressure, burnishing, and solvent blending.
Recently, I saw an excellent demonstration on using turpentine with colored pencil and the artist was using Canson Mi-Teintes. Her work turned out so well, I just had to try it again. So I pulled out a scrap of that old paper and what do you know? I liked it! Here’s the drawing.
I’ve since purchased four sheets of heavier weight Mi-Teintes in five colors and a 9×12 inch pad of assorted colors, and have used both.
There’s a wider range of colors with this paper, including quite a few light colors, dark colors, and even some bright colors! You can see Canson Mi Tientes at Dick Blick.
Strathmore Artagain Drawing Paper
A paper I use on a more limited basis is Strathmore Artagain Drawing Paper. The unique thing about this paper is that it’s made from 30% post consumer material. It’s a 60lb paper with visible fibers that make it ideal for vignette style drawings. The surface is quite a bit “harder” than either Stonehenge or Canson Mi-Teintes, so colored pencil behaves a little differently on it. It can handle a lot of layers, but doesn’t stand up to moisture as well.
It’s ideal for quick sketching, though. I used it almost exclusively one year when I was doing and selling on-site quick draws at local horse shows.
Flannel White is the lightest color available. I’ve used it and Beachsand Ivory most often, but have also used Moonstone upon occasion. This drawing is on Beachsand Ivory.
This paper is available in more colors than Stonehenge. It’s also more widely available than Stonehenge.
Papers I Want to Try
Stonehenge Aqua comes in sheets or blocks and is designed specifically for use with watercolors. It comes in three variations: 140lb cold press, 300lb cold press, and 140lb hot press.
I have a sample of each and look forward to giving them a try as soon as other obligations are out of the way. One thing I can tell you without putting pencil to paper is that they’re beautiful papers.
Fisher 400 ArtPaper is another paper on my to-be-tried list. I’ve used UArt Sanded Pastel Paper a couple of times and like that quite a bit, though it can be difficult to render detail on it. While I like UArt, I’ve heard such good things about Fisher 400 that I want to compare the two.
And those are my favorite current papers and possible future favorites. If you’re looking for paper, these are good papers to try.
Several of them are also available as panels, so if you prefer to frame your drawings without glass, you can still use these papers. How neat is that?