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Drawing Paper for Beginners

Updated on December 7, 2011

My Original Art

What paper to use...

As an artist I prefer drawing in black and white with graphite pencils. This being said there are several types of paper you can buy to use with your pencils. Some will make lasting pieces while others will be thrown away or cast aside as soon as a few years pass. Regardless of what this article says it is always important to read the labels on any product you buy. Sometimes what is typical of a certain type of paper is not typical for that brand.

Never ever use the same thing that you let your kids draw on or for arts and crafts unless you are using high quality products for those. Which typically quality products are more expensive and not used for children's works. Take construction paper for instance, it fades, after a few years it yellows, It becomes dry and stiff. Have you seen things made 10 or 15 years ago with construction paper? They are practically disintegrated. Truthfully, some companies have chosen to make advances with their construction paper but it is still probably the worst medium to use.

Computer paper is thin and flimsy. Easily wrinkled and easily messed up. Depending on the brand it also yellows like the construction paper. Really you should not be saving money by using this paper. It just is not worth drawing one of your best pieces on it only to see it destroyed by time or just be on a canvas where it does not live up to its glory.

Going up the ladder, the next thing that comes to mind is newspaper paper. I have taken classes where blank newspaper paper is required to draw on. I absolutely hate it. I don't know that it is necessarily a bad choice but I have yet to draw anything that looks good on it. I am guessing it was to save us money which makes sense when you consider what a college student is usually living off of. It really is okay for doodling but to draw seriously on it is in my opinion a bad move. Any time I try to erase anything on it the paper gets crinkled and ruined. Sometimes the pencil just ends up smearing. I just don't like it and was never happy with teachers asking me to use it.

Drawing paper is obviously your first descent choice. It is even called drawing paper! I use this for paper to doodle on and carry everywhere with me even if it is just a small pad in my purse. This way if it turns out being good it isn't on totally worthless paper. I would invest the money in descent paper and be able to have nice stuff to show potential clients original works.

Bristol paper is by far in my opinion the most economical for the quality. I can find it on sale for 50% off at art supply stores with additional 40% off coupons I receive. Yes, it is still more expensive than all of the above but it is vastly better in my opinion to lose a lower quality bristol than a high quality sketch pad for professional grade work or even good practice pieces. It is thick and stable cardstock type paper that comes in a variety of sizes. It is heavy and only has about 15 to 25 pieces in a pad. I appreciate that as I am outside it does not curl up on me and I can draw natural things even when it is windy. Buildings come out beautifully on this.

There are certainly other types of paper and tons of brands but again this is for beginners. What you need to know is that picking paper as far as brands go is up to you in a lot of ways. It is what you prefer when it all boils down to it. Make sure you don't have any acids in your paper or those weird wax coatings on some of them and you should be good to go. If you can't afford good paper then draw on whatever you have. It is more important to exercise and cultivate your talent than anything else but if you are selling your art put a few more dollars in to it and get some bristol paper. It is worth it. You don't have to buy those crazily expensive papers but do buy quality if you want it to last.


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    • Artsygal profile image

      Artsygal 6 years ago from United States, Virginia

      @Vladi- Yes, fixative is extremely important!

      @Susan- If your son is getting in to his teenage years especially I endorse getting him some Bristol Paper. If he chooses to sit down and really gets in to his art it will make a lasting piece of art. Thanks for the welcome! I appreciate it a bunch!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      One of my sons loves to draw and for Christmas and birthdays every year I try to buy him a few sketch pads. Found your hub interesting. Thanks for sharing and Welcome to HubPages.

    • profile image

      Vladi Dorfman 6 years ago

      Amen Sister! Don't forget to use your fixative too! :)

    • Artsygal profile image

      Artsygal 6 years ago from United States, Virginia

      Thanks! If you don't have anything else I vote it is better to draw than not to draw!

    • profile image

      no mac salad 6 years ago

      Nice hub Artsygal, I learned something from this today, I like to draw but I just use what ever is at hand, mostly 20lb typing paper. Thanks...