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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

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July 2017 Sketchbox Grab Box

So, here is a special treat for you. I received the Grab Box. Now because I am new to Sketchbox, I am not sure how often they release Grab Boxes, but according to the website, it sold out in a matter of days last time, so I pre-ordered mine. Boy was I surprised when it showed up. It was heavy and you could tell it was packed with a lot of great products!

Usually, I do my unboxing straight on the camera, but because this was a special box, I wanted to make sure I did my research on the products. I’m happy that I did open it because there was no product description card. So, let’s go through everything that came inside. The box cost $49.00 and I didn’t pay to ship.

Cretacolor Oil Pencil Pocket Set-6pk – $16.55

Zig lean Color Real Brush Pens, Deep Color Set, 4pk – $11.22

KUM Wedge Sharpener – $4.13

Spectra AD Twin Marker – Tan (087) – $9.67

Generals Charcoal – 2pk – $4.83

Derwent Blender & Burnisher – $9.73

2 Zig Art & Graphic Twin Markers – $13.26 ea

Ironlak – Permanent Marker 0.4mm – $4.00

Fabriano Ecoqua Notebook – $7.76

Tombow Color Pencil Set Recycle Tin – 12pc – $14.99

Prismacolor Scholar Kneaded Eraser – $5.12

Faber-Castell Eraser Pencils 2pk – $6.00 (Blick)

TOTAL = $120.52

Now, something I should mention is that I priced all of these items according to Amazon.  The only thing I couldn’t find on the Amazon Website was the Faber-Castell Eraser Pencil pack at the bottom of the list. With these prices, I saved $71.52 on art supply products of high quality. This is a great deal for anyone who wants to try something new and challenge themselves to use new products. You never know if you are good at the different mediums if you never try them. Ok, let’s go through each product now.

Cretacolor Oil Pencil Pocket Set – 6pk – $11.55

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I have never used Oil Pencils so I will have to research how they work before I can give you a review. But according to the information, they will not smear and are effective on multiple surfaces. The six colors that came in this pack are classic white, sanguine, sepia light, sepia dark, nero-soft, nero-extra soft.

Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens, Deep Color Set, 4pk – $11.22

The colors that came with this set are Dark Pink, Deep Blue, Olive Green and LIght Brown. I have tried these only to show the colors. I did notice that they did not bleed through the Fabriano Sketchbook that also came with this box. These brush pens claim to be blendable, but I have yet to blend them.

KUM Wedge Sharpener – $4.13

This sharpener is not like the average sharpener you get for everyday pencils. The feel of this is so nice, as well as the fact that it comes with an additional blade screwed into the side for when the initial one gets dull. This sharpener is made of magnesium alloy and made in Germany.

Spectra AD Twin Marker – Tan (087) – $9.67

This product looks like a Copic marker in that the barrel is shaped with flat edges to prevent it from rolling off the table. It claims that the cap matches the ink closely. When I tested this ink out on the Fabriano Sketchbook included in this box, the ink bled horribly onto the back side, I am not sure if this pen requires a different type of paper or if it just drops a lot of ink. Until I have a full set and can experiment with different types of paper, I can’t be for certain.

Generals Charcoal – 2pk – $4.83

Let me put out a disclaimer to let you know that I have never used charcoal before, however, when I used them to test them in the sketchbook, I found that they act just like I would think charcoal would. It smeared and smudged and ended up all over the side of my hand, but the color was smooth, rich and intense. The two I got were 2B and 6B, but it comes in HB, 2B, 4B and 6B.

Derwent Blender & Burnisher – $9.73

I tested the blender out with the color pencils that we will mention below and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how rich the color pencil was after using it. I haven’t used the Burnisher and if you know exactly how I would love to know in the comments below.

2 Zig Art & Graphic Twin Markers – $13.26 ea

I got two beautiful colors. Sky Blue and  English Lavender. These look like they are going to be fun to use. I thought about using them in my bullet journal because I thought that maybe with the muted colors, it would be pretty, but when I tried them out, they showed a little darker than I thought they would. These will require more testing before I can really let you know what I think.

Ironlak – Permanent Marker 0.4mm – $4.00

I used this in the sketchbook and it bled through. This reminded me a lot of a Sharpie, the way it bled through the paper, and yet it was very rich in color. I did not really see anything that sets this permanent marker from any of the others on the market.

Fabriano Ecoqua Notebook – $7.76

Let me tell you, I was so skeptical of this sketchbook. I thought for sure that everything would bleed through the pages because they seemed thin and very smooth. I received the Rasberry Color, 40 pages, 5.8″x8.25″, 85gsm/60lb plain sketchbook. It was made in Italy. After using all the different products, which I will show you in my art supply review, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the pages stood up against the testing. The pages are extremely smooth and I used mixed media to create a full art piece.

Tombow Color Pencil Set Recycle Tin – 12pc – $14.99

Beautifully crafted with recycled cedar wood and finger joint technology which reduces waste and conserves our environment and forests. Lead is hard and dense for precise details and sharp lines, strong pigment for deep color saturation, blending and layers. Set is packaged in a reusable metal tin. Even though Tombow is a Japan-based company, these were made in Vietnam.

Prismacolor Scholar Kneaded Eraser – $5.12

I have seen a lot of artists using kneaded erasers, so I was excited when I saw this in the box. Kneaded erasers can be molded and shaped in any way so that you can erase fine lines or wider lines. It can be used with chalk, charcoal, pastels and color pencils. Once you have used the eraser, all you have to do is knead it like clay for it to clean itself. Therefore, these erasers tend to last a while. Eventually, you will have to replace it, but really the price is so low, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a few.

Faber-Castell Eraser Pencils 2pk – $6.00 (Blick)

So I get the concept of this and I have always wondered why there wasn’t an eraser that was just as fine as the line you were drawing. Well, now there is. I watched a video where the artist claimed that these erasers were amazing for him because he worked with very fine details. He claimed that although he had several kneaded erasers, they just didn’t get as fine as these did. These erasers are ideal for erasing graphite, ink, India ink and ballpoint pen. It is soft for smear-free erasing. I could not find these on the Amazon website, but Blick does have them for the price mentioned above.

So, there you have it! A detailed description of all the items that came in July 2017 Grab Box. Be on the lookout for the next one as they sell out quickly. I know I will be purchasing the next one when it comes available.  All in all, I feel like this box was very much so worth the price. Everything in this box is something that I will use in the future.  If you would like to get your hands on this sketchbox, or any in the future, please use this link so that I can get a credit to use towards next month’s box.