Colored Pencil Paper And Surfaces


When choosing colored pencil paper, cotton paper is the common surface for applying colored pencils, but you also can use them on cloth, canvas, hard wood and clay board. However, you should not apply colored pencils to smooth, non porous surfaces such as glass, porcelain, and metal.


Does the paper have a tooth?
Like pastel paper, colored-pencil papers are supposed to have a specific texture, called a 'tooth'.

If the surface is too smooth for a colored pencil to draw, the pencil will crumble off when applied. There are many little tiny valleys on the correct paper surface that hold the pigment from the pencil in place. The more and deeper the teeth, the better.

Is the paper acid free?
If your artwork is to be even marginally serious, always use acid free paper whenever you can afford it. Acidic paper will yellow and break down in a relatively short period of time.

Be sure to avoid some paper surfaces that claim to be acid free, such as illustration boards or mat boards. The inside core of these surfaces can be still acidic while the surfaces remain acid free. With repeated applications of colored pencils, this veneer can be lifted, which in turn will ruin the painting.

Check the paper thickness
Paper thickness is measured either by ply or weight. Ply is the thickness of a paper in layers. For example, newsprint is 1- ply, and typical drawing paper is 2-ply. 2-ply is acceptable for light drawing and sketching but 3 or 4-ply is better for hard, pressed-down application.


The paper weight


Watercolor paper is also measured by weight. It is determined by how much a ream of 500 sheets weigh. The heavier per- ream weighs, the thicker the paper.

Toned or colored paper
These colorful paper adds another dimension to colored pencils. Coloring techniques will be different based on the tone of the paper. Working on black paper, bright colored paper, and mid toned muted paper will require modifications in how you apply and what colors you use.




Which Paper?
I highly recommend Strathmore paper and Rising 4-ply museum board, as well as Strathmore 3 or 4-ply Bristol vellum; regular surface. These papers are all acid free and stand wear and tear fairly well.

They can also withstand solvents, if you choose to use any, and can take on some water without warping. All museum boards come in different shades and colors. Try different shades and see which you prefer.

Paper for Water soluble Colored Pencils
Watercolor papers can be also used for wax and oil based colored pencils. Based on the tooth difference, there are three kinds of watercolor paper: hot-press, cold- press and rough papers.

Use rough watercolor paper to create textures with colored pencils. It is also the most resilient paper for erasing, both wet and dry. One drawback is that it can easily wear down colored pencil points.

Hot-press papers are very smooth and thus less forgiving to work with. Their tooth is fine and shallow, yet harder and more water resistant than other watercolor papers. These papers don't tolerate repeated layering of colors or much correction, whether dry or wet. They are not ideal as colored pencil paper.

Like Bristol vellum and museum boards, cold-press papers have enough tooth to hold layers of colored pencil pigments but their tooth is much wider and shallower. Cold-press paper is also more porous and absorbent than hard press paper. This makes the erasing of small areas easier after water is used.

Buy the highest quality watercolor paper you can afford to ensure your success in creating colored pencil artworks. Otherwise, mold-made papers are decent enough. Keep in mind that machine made papers are student grade and are not suitable for colored pencils.

You can also choose Arches 300-pound rough and Fabriano same weight “Soft-Press” papers for colored pencils.

Explore and try any colored pencil paper I recommend here and stick to the one you like.

Take a look at the tutorial with this colored pencil paper for a light art work.


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