Choosing the right drawing paper can make all the difference in your artwork. When working with graphite and charcoal, you need a paper that can handle the dark, rich pigments without buckling or bleeding. As an artist, the texture and tooth of the paper will impact how your materials interact with the surface. This article will guide you through the key factors to consider when selecting the best drawing paper for graphite and charcoal.
What are the characteristics of high-quality drawing paper for these medium? You'll want a paper that is acid-free and archival quality for longevity. The paper should have some texture or "tooth" to grab the graphite and charcoal. Smooth paper allows for fine details, while more textured paper is great for achieving rich darks and blending. The paper weight impacts durability and portability. Thicker paper holds up to erasing and layering without damage. But you may want a lighter paper for sketchbooks.
There are so many options when it comes to drawing paper – how do you choose? Ask yourself these questions: Will your artwork be framed and displayed, or mainly used for practice sketches? Do you prefer working on a smooth or toothy surface? Does the paper need to be portable for plein air drawing? What paper weight will suit your needs? Determining how you will use the paper and your artistic preferences will help narrow your choices.
Read on to explore our top picks for the best papers for graphite and charcoal drawing. Let us guide you to a surface that brings out the best in your artwork.
8 Best Drawing Paper For Graphite And Charcoal
|#||Product Image||Product Name||Product Notes||Check Price|
The product is ideal for drawing, sketching, and creating art using graphite, charcoal, and other mediums.
The product is ideal for sketching and drawing with graphite colored pencils or charcoal, suitable for adults and students.
The product is ideal for professional artists and students who want a complete set of drawing and sketching materials.
The product is ideal for sketching, drawing, and creating artwork with colored pencils, oil pastels, charcoal, graphite, gel pens, ink, and chalk.
The product is ideal for practicing sketching with charcoal, graphite, and pencil. Perfect for adults and students in need of art paper.
The product is ideal for artists who use graphite pencil, charcoal, pastel, calligraphy, and more on quality drawing paper.
The product is ideal for artists who work with graphite pencil, charcoal, pastel, felt pen, and more.
The product is ideal for artists and aspiring artists to create detailed drawings and sketches.
1. Bellofy Large Sketchbook: Ultimate Drawing Pad For All!
I asked my mom, who is a professional artist, to try out this sketchbook and she was highly impressed. She mentioned that the sketchbook has very little tooth, which means that it has a smooth surface that allows for easy blending and erasing. This is a crucial feature for artists as it provides them with more control over their artwork.
The picture she drew using this sketchbook showcased the excellent quality of the paper. The page sizes are great and sturdy, making it suitable for various mediums. My mom used gel pens, color pencils, markers, and acrylic markers, and the paper handled all of them exceptionally well. The thickness of the pages added to the overall durability and allowed for a more enjoyable art experience.
I also purchased this sketchbook as a gift for my artistic granddaughter, and she absolutely loves it. She finds it perfect for sketching and has been using it regularly.
As a parent of two children who love drawing and coloring, I am always on the lookout for new art supplies. While my children are still in the early stages of their artistic journey and mainly use basic pens, pencils, crayons, and markers, I like to provide them with different materials to experiment with. This sketchbook has been a great addition to their collection.
The spiral binding is a convenient feature as it allows for easy flipping of pages and provides full access to the entire surface. The perforations are also a nice touch, providing the option to remove a page if desired. The size of the sketchbook is larger than their usual paper, which gives them the opportunity to work on larger-scale projects.
The paper quality of this sketchbook is commendable. It is thick and of decent quality, ensuring that the artwork looks vibrant and professional. Additionally, the fact that it comes with two pads is a great value for the price.
2. Sketch 9×12 Pad Bundle: 2 Packs, 100 Sheets Each
The travel-sized binder wire of these art sketchbooks is a great feature as it allows for safe storage of multiple pens or mechanical pencils. The small grain and rough texture of the paper prevent accidental smearing and make erasing easy. Additionally, the off-white/warm tan tint of the paper is easy on the eyes, enhancing the overall experience. This product is highly recommended for small-scale sketching and drawing.
If you're looking for a generous amount of art paper at a great value, this product won't disappoint. It offers plenty of paper for your money, although it should be noted that it is on the heavier side. However, if you prefer a different size, it is easily customizable by cutting it down to your desired dimensions. Overall, this is an excellent product that I have purchased before and will continue to purchase in the future due to its quality and the great service provided.
I bought these sketchbooks for my artist granddaughter, and she absolutely loves them. She has created numerous pictures for me and our family using these sketchbooks. Whether it's for drawing, sketching, or any type of artistic expression, these sketchbooks are perfect. The product matches the photo accurately, and I am highly satisfied with my purchase.
3. Complete Artist Kit With Sketch Pads – Portable & Professional
I purchased this drawing set for my 15-year-old granddaughter who has a passion for art, and I am thrilled to say that she absolutely loves it. The variety of items included in the set has sparked her interest in drawing even more.
What stood out to me about this set is the inclusion of 4 sketch pads. I had looked at several other options, but this one met all our needs. The sketch pads have proven to be a hit with my granddaughter, allowing her to explore different styles and techniques.
Not only did my 8-year-old grandson enjoy this drawing set, but he also appreciated the variety of drawing paper included. He specifically mentioned how amazing the set is, and I trust his judgment since I can barely draw stick figures myself.
As the saying goes, you have to start somewhere if you want to be an artist, and this drawing set provides the perfect starting point. It includes everything you need to begin your artistic journey. Personally, I have been using the tools in the set to practice drawing faces and shapes, and I am impressed with the quality and value it offers.
4. Versasketch: Dual-Side Spiral Drawing Pad, 60 Sheets, 5.5×8.5
I am really impressed with the smoothness of the paper in this sketchbook. It has a thickness similar to craft paper, which makes it great for certain mediums like pen and marker. However, I wouldn't recommend using watercolors on this paper as it tends to buckle and warp. On the other hand, gouache and metallic watercolors work quite well with minimal warping. To make the colors pop even more, adding white to each color is a great technique.
The paper itself is very smooth and sturdy, thicker than regular copy paper but not as thick as cardstock. It would be ideal for projects with a Silhouette cutting machine if you prefer a thinner option. The perforated pages are a nice touch and they come out cleanly without falling out unexpectedly. The covers of the sketchbook are also very sturdy, making it suitable for taking along to the park or for kids to use during summer road trips.
The black paper in this sketchbook is particularly great for using sparkle gel pens or metallic markers. It adds an extra level of awesomeness to your artwork. I believe it's important to take a break from electronic devices and indulge in the world of nature through art. This sketchbook provides a wonderful opportunity to enrich your brain with creativity.
I purchased this sketchbook specifically for practicing hand lettering with metallics and neons. The thick paper quality is similar to good cardstock, and it doesn't tear up my markers. It's a simple black notepad that serves its intended purpose perfectly. In fact, I bought multiple black pads and this one has the best paper.
I bought this sketchbook for my son so he could have a fun and boyish journal. He loves it, especially when using the metallic markers we bought to go along with it. I would highly recommend it to any child who enjoys art, drawing, and wants a unique and creative outlet.
I am very happy with this sketchbook as a travel journal, especially due to its convenient size. It's easy to pack and carry around. The paper has a thickness similar to construction paper, which allows you to use almost any medium without it bleeding through. It would be particularly great for white charcoal to make the art really stand out. The micro-perforations are a bonus, as I can easily remove pages to make to-see-and-do lists and have a clean edge all around. Another great feature is that the pad can lay flat, and I can even swing the pages around to have only the page I'm working on in front of me.
One challenge I faced was finding writing instruments that look the way I wanted on black paper since I mostly wanted to write rather than draw. I tried various pens, colored pencils, and gel pens, and attached is a photo showing the results. The pens on the left side of the photo are the clear winners, especially the Artistro Metallic Paint Pens (Acrylic) that I ordered from Amazon. They provide a smooth writing experience and the colors pop beautifully on the black paper. The pack includes 12 pens for under $16, making it a great value.
5. Sketching Essentials: Strathmore Newsprint Paper Pad – 12×18
I recently purchased this art paper for my art course and I must say, it is truly amazing. I highly recommend it to any artists out there looking for high-quality paper.
My daughter needed a good drawing paper and this brand was recommended to her by one of her college teachers. She loves it and has been recommending it to others as well. The durability of this paper is impressive, making it a great choice for various art projects.
I was initially hesitant to buy this product due to some negative reviews. However, considering the affordable price and my intention to use it for mixed media art projects, I decided to give it a try. To my pleasant surprise, the paper is not too thin and it arrived without any folds. I couldn't be more excited about it!
In the past, I have worked with larger sizes of paper like 18×24 in art school. Now, I usually use 8×10 or 9×12 sizes. However, this 14×17 mid-size paper is perfect for quick sketching and provides more space to experiment without worrying too much about the outcome.
I also found this paper to be perfect for printing family newspapers. The quality is excellent, and the paper is well-made and thicker than I expected based on other reviews. It is thicker than computer paper and prints beautifully with bright and clear colors, as well as photo images. My sister, who is studying art in college, also used the excess paper and agrees that it is of superb quality.
The only drawback I found with this paper is that it is very difficult to tear and often rips if not handled carefully. However, this can be managed by taking your time when tearing it.
6. Arches 9×12 Extra White Cotton Drawing Paper Pad
Arches Paper: A Versatile Medium for Artists
As a professional artist, I am always on the lookout for high-quality paper that can handle a variety of mediums. That's why I am thrilled with the Arches paper. It is perfect for graphite, charcoal, and colored pencils, making it a versatile choice for artists.
One of the standout features of this paper is its thickness. It is much thicker than any drawing paper I have worked with before, giving it a sturdy feel. While it may not be as thick as watercolor paper, it still provides a good heft that adds to the overall quality of the artwork. The surface has a mild texture that is smooth to the touch but has enough grip to hold onto whatever medium you lay down on it.
I have primarily used this paper with colored pencils, and it has exceeded my expectations. The paper grabs the pigment beautifully, allowing for vibrant and detailed artwork. I have yet to experiment with other mediums extensively, but I am confident that this paper will perform well with various combinations.
When it comes to shipping, I was pleased with the quick delivery of the product. While shipping times may vary, it is worth noting that Arches strives to provide efficient service.
However, it is important to mention that this paper may not be suitable for wet media. It is relatively thin and soft, more akin to a velvet-like texture found in printmaking paper or textured newsprint. Therefore, I would not recommend using it with watercolors or other wet mediums.
Compared to other papers from the Arches brand, this particular one lacks the gelatine sizing that gives their watercolor paper its stiffness. Instead, it offers a softer texture that is ideal for soft mediums like pastels and 8B pencils. While it can handle color pencils, it may require a bit more pressure, which could potentially damage the paper. Erasing on this paper is also not recommended.
In terms of similar papers, BFK Rives and Arches Text Paper come to mind. BFK Rives has less sizing and a similar texture, available in different weights and colors. On the other hand, Arches Text Paper has more sizing. Additionally, some Stonehenge papers offer similar textures, but they are thicker and have more sizing.
7. Arches 9×12 Drawing Pad: Natural White Cotton Paper
I have been using this excellent paper for ink, brush, and pen work, as well as for framing purposes. The thickness of the paper is perfectly suitable for these techniques, although for watercolor, it is better to opt for a higher or equal weight of 180. When using ink, this paper does not lose its texture, shape, or fluff. If it warps a little, it can be ironed on the reverse side with a low heat setting, while protecting it with a towel. The texture allows for a very artisanal rendering of fine pen strokes on dry paper, enhancing the desired idea of fragility. The size of this sketchbook makes it easy to carry around, but personally, I prefer to separate the sheets and stretch them on a cardboard or board. Its exceptional chemical properties allow for long-term preservation of the artwork (provided the conservation criteria for each medium are respected, of course). This block lives up to the recognized quality of Arches and is intended for fine arts, with a price that is justified by the composition, paper quality, and the brand's incomparable and historic expertise.
From the moment you open it, you can immediately see the high quality of this cotton paper. I was not familiar with this brand, and I am discovering it with delight. I do a lot of drawing, and this is by far one of the best papers I have come across. However, the paper is too thin for watercolor. It is best suited for drawing with markers, pencils, pastels, charcoal, or for beautiful calligraphy with a pen.
This brand is the luxury reference when it comes to paper, often used in fine arts. The Arches Sketch paper accepts charcoal, pastels, ink, pen, markers, pencils, and sanguine (red earth-colored pigments). The paper's texture can be felt when touched, and it is quite thick (105g/m²). The format is 23cmx31cm, and the block contains 20 sheets. I am impressed by such quality.
8. Sketchpro Art Tool Kit – Ultimate Creative Essentials
This art kit is a fantastic choice for anyone in need of a comprehensive set. The sleek black case is not only visually appealing, but it also comes with a convenient pouch that has 12 extra slots for various types of pencils. This feature allowed me to easily store my colored pencils in the extra slots, making it incredibly convenient.
I found this kit to be perfect for my son to use at school or at home. However, I did notice that there were duplicate pencils included in the set. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to thoroughly go through the kit before we had to leave the next morning. So, I would recommend removing the pencil sharpener if you intend to take it to school, as it is actually a utility knife with a razor on one side, which may not be appropriate for a school setting.
As for the pencils themselves, they worked great and the erasers provided were cool. However, I couldn't figure out the purpose of the pencil lengthening tool. None of the pencils I had, whether from the kit or from my own collection, fit into the hole. I even tried using pliers to adjust it, but it rendered the ring useless and the pencils still didn't fit. Perhaps someone could provide more information on how to use it effectively.
Furthermore, the paper "erasers" included in the kit were not very effective at erasing. I tested them on some scrap paper and they didn't quite do the job. Additionally, all three charcoal pencils in the set appeared to be the same size and hardness. There were four 4B, two 2B, and two HB, while the rest seemed to be unique in their characteristics.
Regarding the strap, I couldn't determine its purpose. When rolling up the kit, there were a few inches of extra strap, which left me a bit puzzled.
On the positive side, the pencils in this kit are of good quality and the price is quite reasonable. As a beginner, I thoroughly enjoyed using this set. However, I would suggest investing in a separate sharpener as the provided razor blade, while functional, is not ideal in my opinion. The blenders, case, and charcoal sticks included are all great additions to the kit and enhance the overall experience.
Are there any specific techniques or tips for using drawing paper for graphite and charcoal that artists should be aware of?
Yes, there are specific techniques and tips for using drawing paper with graphite and charcoal. Here are a few important ones:
1. Choose the right paper: Select a paper specifically designed for drawing with graphite and charcoal. Look for a heavier weight paper that has a rough texture to hold the medium effectively.
2. Prepare the paper: Before starting your artwork, it is advisable to prepare the paper by lightly rubbing it with a kneaded eraser. This helps to remove any loose fibers or debris that could interfere with your drawing.
3. Layering and blending: Graphite and charcoal are both versatile mediums that allow for layering and blending. Experiment with different pressure levels and strokes to achieve different effects. Use a blending stump, tortillon, or your fingertips to smudge and blend the medium on the paper.
4. Fixatives: To prevent smudging or smearing, consider using a fixative spray after completing your artwork. This will help to preserve your drawing and keep it intact.
5. Test your materials: It's always a good idea to test your materials on a small piece of paper before starting your main drawing. This will help you understand how the paper reacts to the medium and allow you to make adjustments if needed.
Remember, practice is key. Experiment with different papers, techniques, and tools to find what works best for you and your artistic style.
Are there any specific types of drawing paper that work particularly well with erasing techniques in graphite and charcoal?
Yes, there are specific types of drawing paper that work particularly well with erasing techniques in graphite and charcoal. One common choice is a heavyweight paper with a smooth surface, such as bristol board or hot press watercolor paper.
These types of paper have a dense and sturdy construction that can withstand erasing without easily tearing or smudging. The smooth surface allows for easy erasing and blending of graphite and charcoal, resulting in crisp and clean lines.
Another option is using a drawing paper specifically designed for charcoal or graphite work. These papers usually have a slightly textured surface that provides enough tooth to hold the medium while still allowing for erasing. Examples include charcoal paper or drawing pads labeled for graphite use.
These papers are often made with a higher percentage of cotton fiber, which enhances their durability and ability to handle erasing techniques.
Ultimately, the choice of paper will depend on personal preference and the specific effect you want to achieve. It is advisable to experiment with different types of paper to find the one that best suits your style and desired outcome.
Can regular printer paper be used for graphite and charcoal drawings, or is specialized paper necessary?
While regular printer paper can technically be used for graphite and charcoal drawings, it may not yield the best results. Specialized paper designed for drawing and sketching tends to have a higher quality and specific texture that enhances the drawing experience.
Regular printer paper is typically smooth and thin, which can lead to smudging and smearing when using graphite or charcoal. The lack of tooth (texture) on regular paper can make it challenging to achieve the desired level of detail and shading.
In contrast, drawing paper is usually heavier, has more texture, and is specifically formulated to handle the characteristics of graphite and charcoal. It provides better control, allows for layering, and minimizes smudging.
If you're just starting out or experimenting, using regular printer paper is fine. However, if you're looking for optimal results and want your drawings to shine, investing in specialized drawing paper would be a wise choice. It will enhance the overall quality and longevity of your artwork.
How does the quality of the paper affect the longevity and preservation of graphite and charcoal drawings?
The quality of paper plays a crucial role in the longevity and preservation of graphite and charcoal drawings. A high-quality paper is typically made from acid-free materials, which helps prevent yellowing and deterioration over time.
Acidic papers, on the other hand, can cause the drawings to fade, discolor, and deteriorate more quickly.
The texture of the paper also affects the preservation of the drawings. A rougher texture can cause the graphite or charcoal to smudge and become less defined, while a smoother surface allows for more precise detailing.
It is recommended to use a paper specifically designed for drawing, as these are usually more durable and have better archival qualities.
Additionally, the weight and thickness of the paper should be considered. Heavier and thicker papers tend to be more robust and less prone to damage or bending. They provide better support for the graphite or charcoal, reducing the risk of smudging or tearing.
Overall, investing in high-quality, acid-free, and specifically designed drawing paper is essential for ensuring the longevity and preservation of graphite and charcoal drawings.
How does the texture of the paper affect the outcome of graphite and charcoal drawings?
The texture of the paper plays a crucial role in the outcome of graphite and charcoal drawings. Different paper textures offer unique characteristics that can significantly impact the final result.
Smooth paper surfaces, such as hot-pressed or vellum papers, are ideal for precise and detailed drawings. These papers allow for smooth and controlled lines, making them suitable for realistic or highly detailed artwork.
The smooth surface also enables easy blending of graphite or charcoal, resulting in seamless shading and gradation.
On the other hand, textured papers, like cold-pressed or rough papers, add depth and interest to drawings. The texture of the paper interacts with the medium, creating a visually appealing effect. Charcoal in particular adheres well to rough surfaces, allowing for expressive and bold strokes.
The texture also adds character and enhances the overall visual impact of the artwork.
Ultimately, the choice of paper texture depends on the desired artistic effect. Smooth papers are best for intricate details, while textured papers bring out the expressive qualities of graphite and charcoal. Experimenting with different textures can lead to unique and captivating results.
Is it possible to use colored paper instead of white for graphite and charcoal drawings?
Yes, it is definitely possible to use colored paper instead of white for graphite and charcoal drawings. In fact, using colored paper can add a unique and interesting dimension to your artwork. The choice of paper color can greatly impact the overall mood and atmosphere of your drawing.
For example, using a darker or toned paper can create a more dramatic and intense effect, while using a lighter or pastel-colored paper can give a softer and more delicate feel to your artwork. It is important to consider the color of the paper and how it will interact with the graphite or charcoal medium you are using.
Darker papers may require more layers or a different approach to achieve desired values and contrasts. Experimentation and practice will help you understand the effects of different paper colors and how to use them effectively in your drawings.
Should I choose a heavyweight or lightweight paper for graphite and charcoal drawings?
When choosing paper for graphite and charcoal drawings, it is important to consider the effect you want to achieve. Both heavyweight and lightweight papers have their own advantages.
Heavyweight paper, typically thicker and sturdier, is well-suited for charcoal and graphite drawings that require a lot of layering and blending. The extra weight prevents the paper from wrinkling or tearing easily, allowing you to work with more pressure and multiple erasures.
It also provides a smoother surface, which can enhance the details and textures in your artwork.
On the other hand, lightweight paper is more suitable for quick sketches or studies. It is easier to handle and transport due to its lighter weight. If you prefer a more expressive and textured look in your drawings, lightweight paper can be a good choice as it allows the graphite or charcoal to interact with the paper's texture more freely.
Ultimately, the choice between heavyweight and lightweight paper depends on your personal preferences and the specific techniques you plan to use. I would recommend experimenting with both types of paper to see which one complements your artistic style and achieves the desired effects in your graphite and charcoal drawings.
What are some recommended brands of drawing paper specifically designed for graphite and charcoal?
There are several recommended brands of drawing paper that are specifically designed for graphite and charcoal mediums. One popular option is Strathmore 400 series Drawing Paper, which is known for its durability and smooth texture that allows for precise detailing.
Another brand to consider is Canson Mi-Teintes Drawing Paper, which has a unique texture that holds graphite and charcoal well, while also providing a range of colors for added creativity. Fabriano Artistico Drawing Paper is another well-regarded choice, known for its exceptional quality and ability to handle multiple layers of graphite and charcoal.
Additionally, Bristol board, such as the one offered by Bienfang, is often recommended for its smooth surface and ability to withstand heavy shading. Ultimately, the choice of drawing paper depends on personal preference and the desired effect, but these brands generally offer high-quality options for graphite and charcoal artists.
What are the key characteristics to look for when selecting drawing paper for graphite and charcoal?
When selecting drawing paper for graphite and charcoal, there are several key characteristics to consider. First and foremost, it is important to choose a paper that is specifically designed for drawing. Look for a paper with a smooth surface that allows for easy blending and shading.
This will ensure that your graphite and charcoal marks adhere well to the paper and allow for precise detailing.
Another important characteristic is the weight or thickness of the paper. A heavier weight paper, such as 80-100lb or higher, is ideal as it can withstand the pressure and layering of graphite and charcoal without tearing or smudging easily.
The texture of the paper is also crucial. For graphite, a fine-toothed paper can create a smoother finish, while for charcoal, a medium or rough texture can enhance the depth and richness of the marks.
Lastly, consider the archival quality of the paper. Acid-free and lignin-free papers are recommended as they prevent yellowing and ensure the longevity of your artwork.
In conclusion, the key characteristics to look for in drawing paper for graphite and charcoal are: smooth surface, heavy weight, appropriate texture, and archival quality. By considering these factors, you can select a paper that will enhance your drawing techniques and preserve your artwork for years to come.
What is the best type of drawing paper for graphite and charcoal?
When it comes to choosing the best type of drawing paper for graphite and charcoal, there are a few factors to consider. The texture of the paper plays a crucial role in determining how well the medium adheres to the surface.
For graphite and charcoal, a paper with a slightly rough or medium texture is often preferred as it allows for better grip and control over the materials.
One popular choice is a heavyweight paper with a toothy surface, such as a drawing paper specifically designed for charcoal or pastel work. These papers are typically thicker and more durable, allowing for multiple layers and erasing without damaging the surface.
Another option is a textured watercolor paper, which can also work well with graphite and charcoal. The roughness of the paper can create interesting effects and enhance the overall appearance of your drawings.
Ultimately, the best type of drawing paper for graphite and charcoal will depend on your personal preference and the specific effects you want to achieve. I would recommend trying out different papers to see which one suits your style and techniques the best.