Drawing paper is any thin sheet of wood pulp or other fibrous material that has been treated to accept pencil, pen, pastel, charcoal and some other materials. A vast majority of drawing papers have a smooth surface and have had bleaches added to increase the whiteness. However, some papers are textured to provide a good ‘tooth’ for loose material such as soft pencils and charcoal and others are coloured to provide an interesting mid-tone ground that shows pastel or chalk highlights beautifully.
What is cartridge paper? Cartridge Paper is a smooth or medium surface paper that will take dry media such as pencil, pastel, pen, charcoal and graphite and, with heavier weight papers, a small amount of wet media such as ink, gouache and acrylic. Being suitable for such a wide media range, makes it the most common paper type in sketchbooks and sketchpads. The name comes from its origins as a paper used for ammunition cartridges as a wrapping for gunpowder.
What type of paper is suitable for Soft Pastels? Because Soft Pastel tends to be a crumbly loose material, a surface that has a texture provides the ‘tooth’ to hold the material in place. The texture also creates interesting ‘broken’ marks as the pastel is applied. Most pastel papers will be coloured so that the Artist can use the mid-tone of the paper as a decorative element.
What paper is used for illustration? Of course this will depend on the style as ‘Illustration’ refers to a discipline rather than a specific style, method or type of material used. However, a lot of illustration, which is destined to be reproduced in print or in a digital format, is executed in pencil, gouache, ink or pen. To suit these materials and to ensure that good scans can be achieved for good reproduction, papers such as Illustration Board and Bristol Board tend to be a heavier weight, very smooth and particularly white.
Are there any artists papers that can not be used for drawing? In a word, no. Although the definition of drawing is usually restricted to the use of pencil and pen and, therefore, drawing paper is made to suit these, a sketch or linear work can be executed in all kinds of media and the papers that suit the media used become drawing surfaces. This section, however, offers papers that are suited to the materials that are suitable for traditionally defined drawing media.