The Best Drawing Papers and Surfaces

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Sennelier makes a wonderful pastel card in some lovely colors—a range of warm browns and ivory. I use vine charcoal initially and add contè—both white and red—to capture the illusion of the subject. The surface is relatively delicate and cannot have any liquid applied to the surface. But you can use an eraser to take off some of the color of the paper to create a highlight, without actually using white contè. It takes the charcoal gently and therefore is easier to control value and build to darker passages (www.in2art.com).

UART PASTEL PAPER
This is another pastel card that gives a range of possibilities. I am still experimenting with it, but I know that it can take washes of color—so far I have only tried water mediums, but it takes oil as well—without the surface deteriorating. I am anxious to see what can be done with it. It takes the charcoal or contè aggressively, so it seems to require a delicate touch. (www.uartpastelpaper.com).
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STONEHENGE KRAFT PAPER
The president of Legion Paper, Michael Ginsburg, is the self-appointed liaison between artists and the finest paper makers worldwide. Michael listens to what artists want and then asks his paper mills to make it. One of his newest papers, Stonehenge Kraft, is the perfect paper for charcoal and white conté drawings. The surface is smooth but with enough texture to grab the charcoal. The color is the perfect contrast to white conté, which gives a feeling of light in drawing. Stonehenge Kraft is the paper I have been waiting for! (www.legionpaper.com)

SPECKLETONE
This paper is of good quality, yet it is much less expensive than any of the above papers. It comes in many colors and is acid-free. Some colors I like are Cream, Natural, Kraft, Madero Beach and Oatmeal (www.frenchpaper.com).

OIL-PRIMED BOARD
Sometimes I like to use a primed piece of linen toned with oil and Maroger first. I then do a drawing of the subject adding pastel over that. The result has the feel of oil and yet is executed more like a drawing (www.newtraditionsartpanels.com).

SKETCH PADS
Kunst and Papier has the best sketchpads that I have used. The paper is acid-free, a soft off-white, has a smooth texture, and comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. I particularly like the Wire-O sketchbooks because they open flat. The binderboard sketchbooks are also great. I couldn’t do without these for gesture drawing. (www.kunst-papier.com).

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