All About Paper!

There are so many different types of paper out there. How are we to know what is the best type of paper to buy for the project we want to do. Well, I am here to give a little insight into the different types of paper. Although there is not enough time in the day to go through every type of paper, I will go through some features of paper that you should be looking for, according to which project you want to complete.

FIBERS

What you may not realize is that paper is not just made from trees. A sheet of paper is basically mingled fibers from various resources to include, but not limited to cotton, linen, jute, hemp, rice straw, cellulose, and bamboo. Of all the things paper can be made from, cotton and cellulose are the main types that are available. Cotton paper is considered high quality and can withstand multiple erasings.  If the paper is made of 100% cotton, it can last 100 years or more. There are papers of less cotton percentage that will not last as long and can become fuzzy if manipulated heavily. Cellulose paper is paper made from wood pulp. This type of paper has an acidic compound that destroys or breaks down the paper over time. This type of paper does not usually last long and is biodegradable. There are additives that can extend the life, but these types of paper are usually the least quality.

WEIGHT

One thing to remember is that usually thicker paper can handle the wetter medium. Traditional papers are measured by weight using pounds or grams per square meter (GSM). Inconsistencies of the measurements using pounds have led to using the GSM more often.  When the paper is measured using gsm, the weight of the paper will not change when the size of the paper.  changes.

SIZE

Sizing makes the paper more water-resistant and keeps inks and watercolors bright. Sizing also affects the paper’s archival quality.  There are two ways to size paper, Internal and External. Internal sizing is done while the paper is still in liquid pulp form, while external sizing is applied to the surface after the sheet has dried. These sizing methods can be combined or done independently depending on the needs of the paper being made.

FINISHES

Rough paper is designed by not pressing the paper as it is drying. This paper is good for transparent watercolors or pastels.

Cold Press paper, which is the most popular, is a handmade paper created by repressing a wet sheet.  Machines can also make cold press paper by passing it between rollers. Cold press papers soak up the water quickly and have some texture to it which means it dries pretty quickly.

Hot Press paper is created by running a freshly formed sheet through heated rollers. This creates a very smooth surface that gives you more time to play and manipulate the color on the paper.

Drawing paper has different characteristics that depend solely on the type of media being used. This can include ink, pencils, crayon, charcoal, and markers.

FORMAT

Single sheets may require tape or weights to keep the edges down depending on which media is being used.

Sketchbooks are a great way to take your art on the go. Although this format is typically used for dry medias, there has been a rise in mixed medias being used as well. It all depends on what you want to keep in your travel case.

Blocks are stacks of paper that are glued together on two or more sides are adhered to a backing board. While only one sheet can be used at a time, this format keeps the paper stretched out.

Rolls are usually in economical sizes and can take a more rectangle shape depending on the needs of the piece.

COMMON TYPES

Copy Paper is best used for handwriting and printing. It has a medium weight and has a very smooth texture. I use copy paper for my sketching. It is thin enough that when I’m ready for a final draft or inking, the light from my light box will shine through perfectly.

Cardstock is a mixture between paper and cardboard. It is best used for card-making, paper crafts or other free standing projects. I have noticed that with cardstock, wet medium tends to bleed or feather out further from the original line drawn.

Construction paper is best used for kids crafts. It is lightweight and has a rough texture. It is perfect for a quick project like a paper chain or bulletin board, where the individual creations are not saved long term.

Tissue Paper is very thin, almost translucent and can be used to make a stained glass effect. Tissue paper is used is so many crafts as well as gift bags. The possibilities are pretty ingenious if you take the time to research projects it involves.

Art Papers are usually very high quality with special attention to archival techniques.  These papers are usually more expensive than any other type of paper and are for final drafts, photographs, and cover a wide variety of mediums.


Final Note: As I said in the beginning, creating a post that went over every type of paper would be too exhaustive. There are literally hundreds of paper types I didn’t mention but I hope to add different types of paper to my art review supplies in the future.  If you have a specific request for a type of paper, let me know in the comments below. I look forward to creating with you!

Using the right tools

I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the common tools I use for my drawings. These tools include a pencil, ruler, eraser, compass, protractor and some pens and markers of your choice.

First and foremost, I choose the right paper for what I’m trying to create. The different paper is a variety from regular printer paper to heavy quality sketch paper. Then I choose the size of the art piece. These usually range from 3.5″×3.5″ zentangle art to as large as 11×17 at the moment. Eventually, I would like to create wall art and even move to a canvas. But for now, I’m going to stuck with the basics.

Secondly, I decide the structure. Should I cover the entire page, run with a theme or just create a mandala in the center? The possibilities are endless. Use your strengths and creativity to go wild.

Choose whether you will leave your art freestyle or structure it with rulers and projectors. I typically use a compass and a 360 projector to create the circles I need for the piece. The projector is very useful when doing mandalas. It allows me to create the exact grid lines I need for every different piece. I then use the ruler to keep my lines tight. You have your own story and direction for your art, so don’t let me define it. These are just the tools I suggest if you would like structure in your art and don’t have a good freehand.

Next, I decide on a writing tool. Either I do the whole thing in pencil or I just do a grid in pencil and define that grid creatively with pen or marker. And lastly, don’t be afraid to add color. I am terrified to add color, I’ll admit it. The problem is that I know that it holds me back sometimes. But after a few adult coloring books and mixing color pallets and I have decided I want to add MORE color. BEWARE!

I would love to know what tools and tricks you use to define your art. Please share in the comments. If you would like me to review a specific thing, please give me as many details about where I can get it and I will do my best. Thank you for reading my very first blog post. Here’s to much more! ❤