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 favorite papers are Stonehenge, Canson Mi-Teintes, and Strathmore Artagain Drawing Paper.

Stonehenge

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.

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.

See the selection of Stonehenge papers at Dick Blick.

Canson Mi-Teintes

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.

Favorite Drawing Papers - Drawing on Gray Canson Mi-Tientes

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.

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

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.

Favorite Drawing Papers - Drawing on Beachsand Ivory Artagain

This paper is available in more colors than Stonehenge. It’s also more widely available than Stonehenge.

See the selection of Strathmore Artagain at Dick Blick.

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.

Conclusion

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?

6 Replies to “My Favorite Drawing Papers”

  1. 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.

  2. Carrie,
    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

    1. 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. 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 !

    1. 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.

      Carrie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *