How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

I make stuff. I put it here.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

When I made my first attempt at drawing a comic with the intent of publishing, I had a hard time finding the right paper. This was about fifteen years ago and I knew that most comics were drawn larger than print size (11×17 for the standard American comic) but I couldn’t find that size anywhere.

I drove to every art store in town and a few out of town. Nothing. Finally, I ran across what was then probably the only online place that sold that size paper and as a bonus had the template printed right on the page.

Fortunately, the market is a lot different today and companies are catering to the comic book artist with products that were considered specialty items back when I started. If you’re new to making comics, finding the right paper you need is the easiest part of the process. If I were teaching How to Draw Comics 101 here’s what I’d say about choosing paper.

PAPER SIZES

For a book published at the standard size for American comics, the artwork is drawn larger than the finished product. 11×17 is pretty much standard, but you can draw smaller (or bigger) as long as the image you draw fits the roughly 6×10″ area that the book will be printed at when reduced. Pads of 9×12 Bristol Board (a very common type of paper used for illustration) are easy to find if you want to draw smaller.

You could even use 8.5×11 copy paper with the right template for your drawing area.

WEIGHT & THICKNESS

The brand of Bristol Board that I typically use (Strathmore) comes in different series of papers that are progressively thicker. I’ve used the 200 series, but in my opinion that series doesn’t hold up very well (the layers of the board seemed to come apart at the corners.) I’ve been using the 300 series for years and it works just fine for me. The 500 series is really nice, but a tad more expensive. If you’re just starting out I’d try the 300 series and go from there.

Without going into paper weights and all that, just remember the thicker paper, the better it will hold up. Bristol Board is a good type of paper to use and holds up well (except for the 200 series mentioned above.) I’ve never used what’s marketed as Illustration Board, but my understanding is that it’s good, but not intended to hold up as well over time. If you’re wanting a piece of art that’s on a durable surface that’s both meant to be held onto, framed, or sold to fans and collectors, then I’d say stick with Bristol Board.

BRANDS

Strathmore

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

The Strathmore pads of Bristol Board are pretty much everywhere. Go to any art store or online retailer and you can find 11×17 Bristol in 200 or 300 series. As more companies have realized the market among comic artists they’ve packaged them with comic panels on the front so they’re easy to find.

TIP: Buying in a chain art store like Micheal’s can be twice as expensive as ordering somewhere online like dickblick.com. If you’re just going to buy one thing, though, go to the store’s website and get their weekly coupon. They always offer 40% one item–which brings the price of that one item down to what you’d pay online.

Canson

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics
Canson was probably the first company I noticed that started to put their comics and manga papers in stores. I used their pads of 11×17 paper for a while when they first came out and found them a pretty good drawing surface. They also have smaller sized 8.5×11 pads. And the good thing is they already have the drawing areas pre-ruled.

Blueline Pro

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comicsHow to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

This was the first company I found way back when I first started. Our studio used to get paper from them with our logo and drawing template printed on and the quality was fine. They offer different paper sizes and weights as well.

I’ve never used Eon boards, but I know a few people who have. They’ve been around for a while but I can’t speak to their quality. Give them a try and let me know what you find!

It’s definitely a lot easier to find the materials you need to get started making comics than it used to be, especially when choosing paper. If there’s something I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below. And if you have a brand to try, let me know that too.

Next time: How to Draw Comicss 101: templates!

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Mar 23, 2018 · 5 min read

So, you can’t draw and you’re not funny, but you want to draw comics.

Well, great news: You don’t have to be able to draw, nor be particularly funny in order to draw comics.

First of all you’re going to need a pen. You know what? You don’ t need a pen. Just as long as you’ve got something that makes a mark. A pencil, a crayon, a marker, some charcoal, a Biro, a fountain pen, a paint covered brush, a paint covered finger (preferably your own) or a highlighter, or an airbrush, or some blood (okay maybe not blood), whatever you’ve got lying around really, it doesn’t matter, just pick something you like using.

(For me, it’s an 0.4mm felt-tip pen, but Y ou do You)

Or not paper. Yeah, you can draw this on anything. Walls, whiteboards, the dusty rear windscreen of your friend’s car, whatever is available to you. That said, I can highly recommend paper, historically it’s proven to be pretty reliable.

So, once you’ve got a pen and paper, (or whatever you’ve gone with), I guess you better learn how to draw, right?

. because you already can.

Here’s the thing about art: Provided your drawings are all consistently the same level of coherency, then whatever you’re creating will become your style, which means all your drawings are amazing, provided they’re viewed within the context of your style.

Look at David Shrigley’s drawings for example; on face value they’re not particularly well-drawn, but he’s drawn all his stuff like that, and now it’s not only his thing, but it’s a thing, it’s a whole style and type of humour produced by him, and when viewed within that context they’re amazing drawings.

So, if all you can draw is say, a blob, then that’s fine! Just draw a blob.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Now, you just need to give your blob some eyes and a mouth and you’ve got yourself your first character. It’s absurdly easy.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Next step is to give your blob a name. Let’s call this one Jeff. Jeff the Blob. Actually, that can double as the name of your comic.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Now we’re cooking! Okay, next Jeff needs to say something. That’s pretty easy too…

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

You can do a speech bubble like that one, or you could even just do a little line like this if you want to make it a little more relaxed and informal…

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

…or, you could add an exclamation mark and make it all exciting, like Jeff is yelling and really asserting himself…

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

…or, you could do a cloudy ‘thought bubble’, which makes it look like Jeff is just having a little think about things and giving himself a little bit of positive reinforcement before a job interview or something.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Or you could even go New Yorker style, which makes everything look much more clever.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Okay, so you’ve got a comic, and a character and that character can say things. You are well on the way.

Next up you need a narrative. Again, this can really be anything. Also, it doesn’t have to be funny, it doesn’t have to be anything. The exciting thing at this point is that you’ve got a character that can do or say anything you decide. Look at you, you’re practically a god. How thrilling.

Next up I’d think about panels. So far we’ve been drawing single panels here, but you could start doing multiple panels. That’s easy too, just draw a box around your comic…

Comics & Illustration

Another post for comics class (see tab at right for the series)! I’ve linked a couple of products to one of our local art supply stores, Opus, because they have a good online catalogue with pictures. Any art supply store will have most of these kinds of paper.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Some in-progress shots from Spam and the Sasquatch.

Once you’ve decided what kind of drawing implement you are planning to use for your finished comic, it’s time to choose your paper. This is dictated by what kind of surface you want to work on: a very smooth surface for intricate pen or very sharp brush work, or a surface that will allow watercolour to slide nicely for a bit on top of the surface before the paper fibres suck it all in, or something with a bit of tooth or texture to give a rough look or hold coloured pencils.

  • Bristol board is the perennial favourite of comics artists for doing finished work. Its smoothness and durability allow smooth ink coverage, and if you make a mistake, it can often be corrected with a bit of fine-grit sandpaper (though the surface is affected for further applications). It comes in two surfaces, vellum, which is fairly smooth but with a bit of tooth, and smooth or plate, which is very smooth and good for fine pen and ink work, though not as good as the vellum for watercolour. Strathmore and Canson are both good brands. I noticed that the Canson recycled pads have a choice of surfaces on each sheet, one smooth and one textured.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

As the Muse Turns — pen and ink with watercolour on Strathmore smooth bristol. I was experimenting with this smoother paper, since I have a pad of it lying around; it’s beautiful to draw on but the watercolour handles rather strangely. Not bad if you’re just doing small areas, but the larger ones are hard to get a smooth wash on. Very sturdy for multiple layers of paint, more than the vellum surface.

I’m currently working on vellum bristol on Mermaid Music, and feeling a bit sorry that I chose it. The watercolour handling qualities are not nearly as good as the paper I chose for Spam and the Sasquatch. If only I had known then — I pencilled 36 pages on the bristol and wish I were using the watermedia paper I talk about below. I’ll be able to switch after this chapter.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

This is the vellum bristol. I found that the paper got saturated quickly when trying to do dark tones, and it looked smeary. So I added some coloured pencil to smooth it out.

  • If you are only going to work in pen and ink, and a lighter paper is acceptable, Pentalic’s “Paper for Pens” is a joy to work on. it’s lovely to colour with markers, too, though it doesn’t have enough tooth for coloured pencils, and is too thin for watermedia. I’m not sure where to get this locally, but I know you can order it online.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

I used Paper for Pens with Pigma Micron pens and brush Marker for Renfrew the Raccoon’s illustration from Father Christmas.

  • If you plan to use watercolour, you can use the bristol paper, or try out some of the smoother watercolour papers. I did a series of tests of my own to find the right balance between smooth-enough-to-ink and good-for-watercolour. I found a happy medium in Opus’s Watermedia paper.

When I decided to do a graphic novel, I knew I was going to be working for a long time on the same paper (if I switched types in mid-stream the look of the work would change). So I did a series of experiments that helped me choose what I would use. I ultimately ended up with Opus Watermedia paper, which performed well throughout the project for the watercolour, and was smooth enough that I didn’t get wobbly ink lines as regular watercolour paper might have done.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Part of the paper test I did when researching papers to use on Spam and the Sasquatch. This is the one I chose.

  • Comic Art Boards — this is vellum bristol with pale blue lines pre-ruled for borders, bleeds, and with markings for standard panel measurements. Convenient and decent paper to work on, especially if you are processing digitally and can easily get rid of the blue lines. The ones available locally are by Fanboy, and come in standard and manga sizes.

However! While there is a “standard size” for comic books (like the kind you see in the racks at the comic store), people these days are making books in all kinds of different sizes. If you plan to print yours, just make sure they’re all the same size, and talk to a printer beforehand about safe margins and bleeds and such. Here’s an article by someone who is exasperated by the lack of standardization in comic art boards; I say don’t worry about it overly much! And here’s some diagrams and an article from Blambot, a great source of comics fonts, explaining a bit more about layout of a comic page, explaining some of those arcane terms!

Getting Started

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

The bag and board are the primary way that comic book collectors protect and store their treasured possessions. Without these simple devices, a comic book will simply be destroyed by the elements, as comic books are usually made of fairly flimsy paper.

Use this guide to learn how to bag and board your comics properly, allowing you to read them for decades.

Items You Need – Comic Book Bag and Board

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

There are actually three kinds of comic book bags — Polypropylene, Polyethylene, and Mylar. It is important to know about the different grades of comic book bags and what they offer the collector.

Polypropylene is the cheapest kind of bag out there and is considered by some to be of low quality. Some suppliers won’t even sell bags made of this material, as it will deteriorate and turn yellow much more quickly than the other two. On the plus side, the bag is very clear and makes your comic look nice in the glossy plastic.

Polyethylene is another kind of comic book bag. Comic bags made of this material last much longer than their polypropylene counterparts and only need to be changed after seven or eight years. They are slightly milky in color and let in less light, and are much stronger than the lower grade of comic bags for a slightly higher cost.

Mylar is considered to be the most archival in nature and will basically last a lifetime. These are much thicker and made of a different material than the poly bags. They are usually in sleeves, and one must be careful, as the thicker Mylar ends can actually tear a comic book. Mylar is considered the top of the line but can cost as much as four times as much as the poly bags.

Comic Book Board

There should be only one question when it comes to a comic book board. Is it acid-free? If it is not, move on and purchase the acid-free ones. The acid in the board will eventually leach into the comic and damage the paper.

Current, Gold, Or Silver?

One other thing to consider is that you need to have the right size of bag and board for your comic book. Comics in the past were made in different sizes than current comic books. The three typical sizes are Golden Age (late 1930s to 1950s) comic books, Silver Age. (1950s to 1970) comic books, and current (present day) comic books. If you get a bag that is too big or too small, you risk damaging your comic. The size is almost always on the packaging. When in doubt, ask a comic book store worker for help.

Chromebook (New!) / Windows / macOS
iPad / iPhone / Galaxy / Android

  • Sketch & Ink
  • Artist Testimonials
  • Comic Tools
  • Explore Features
  • 1.
    Drawing: Advanced
  • 2.
    Comic Creation
  • 3.
    Even More Convenient
  • 4.
    Workflow and Team Management
  • 5.
    Publish your work

CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO

for character art, concept art, illustration

Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Galaxy/Android/Chromebook
Windows/macOS only
Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Galaxy/Android/Chromebook

CLIP STUDIO PAINT EX

for manga & comics, animations

Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Galaxy/Android/Chromebook
Windows/macOS only
Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Galaxy/Android/Chromebook

The standard for comics and manga

With specialized comic features and a natural drawing feel, Clip Studio Paint is used by professionals and studios worldwide. Sketch, ink, color, and publish your next story, all in the industry-standard tool for comics and manga.

Capture every detail

You can create every stroke exactly as you imagine with our powerful brush engine. Clip Studio Paint works with your device to reflect every nuance of your pen, even up to the 8192 levels of pen pressure detected by Wacom tablets.

Packed with features for comic creation

All you need to create your comic or manga, right at your fingertips. Explore dedicated features including panel tools, speech balloons, effect lines, special rulers, and more, with explanations in our extensive 1000‑page manual. All this, packed in one intuitive and customizable interface.

Perspective rulers for perfect backgrounds

A user favorite, make adding perspective and realistic depth to your backgrounds easy with our specialized ruler tools. Adjust the eye level and perspective as much as you need, and draw directly along the guidelines.

Customizable 3D figures with new AI posing

Place and pose 3D drawing figures directly on your canvas as a reference for your art. With customizable body shapes and camera angles, they’re perfect for those hard-to-find pose references. Don’t forget to test out our brand-new beta feature of mimicking poses from photos!

Support you can trust

Whether you’re stuck on a new feature or need technical help, you can rely on our free customer support. We’re proud of our excellent customer satisfaction rate, and happy to be there when you need us.

Trusted by the World’s Leading Brands

As well as being bundled with the world’s bestselling pen tablets from Wacom, Clip Studio Paint comes pre-loaded on the latest Galaxy Android tablets, the Tab S7 and Tab S7+, available worldwide, making it the first choice for getting started with digital art.

Single payment for Windows & macOS

Clip Studio Paint for Windows & macOS is available for just a one-time payment of US$219. You’ll also get access to regular free updates, customer support, tutorials, a community forum, and more.

Artist Testimonials

Jake Parker Comic Artist

I’ll never draw another comic without using Clip Studio Paint. It makes drawing comics soooo much easier than before. I use it to layout my comics, and then take them to final pencils. After that I print out the pages and ink over them traditionally. I’ve also started using it to lay out and pencil my children’s books. There’s also a mobile app for iPad that works great too.

Charlie Adlard Comic Artist

I’ve been using CSP for the last few years, and I love how intuitive it is. I can literally do everything I want to do on this single app. The brushes are a special standout – even without downloading extra ones, the existing ones really do feel like the real thing. As a self confessed old technophobe, it’s incredibly easy to learn. something I really need with my busy schedule.

© ÉDITIONS SOLEIL / ANGE / RENAULT / ADLARD / HARMON

Dylan Teague Comic Artist

I’m a big fan of Clip Studio Paint. I’ve been using it since Manga Studio 4 and now use it for pretty much 100% of my professional work. There are so many features that really help my work flow in comics. The story feature is a great way to keep organized on longer projects. The brushes are just amazing too and feel extremely life‑like. I also really like how you can customize everything to suit your own needs perfectly. The iPad version is brilliant too, making Clip Studio Paint totally portable so I can easily work on print-ready files anywhere.

Kenny Ruiz Comic Artist

I have been using Clip Studio Paint since 2015. After ten years of using a pen and marker for inking, I was convinced that I would keep using them. However, when I tried the brushes, the pressure sensitivity, and the process of tracing in Clip Studio Paint, I understood that it was the right moment to switch tools. Now I work much faster and try new things. The pressure and sensitivity of the preset brushes are perfect, and I can draw natural lines accurately which makes the drawing more organic and alive. I hate the precise and clean finished works of other software because I cannot see the artist behind it. I can express myself freely in Clip Studio Paint without any restrictions.

Page belonging to Infinity: Outrage. Edited by Corvus Belli, written by Victor Santos, illustrated by kenny Ruiz

After last week’s post on How to Make Digital Comics I quickly realized there is an awful lot of you out there looking for this kind of information. So thank you for dropping by and checking it out. Feel free to leave comments or questions as well!

This week I want to talk about page sizes and resolution my cloud ganzen ordner herunterladen.

When it comes to drawing your artwork for digital comics you should really keep your page size in mind. There are already a number of different types of digital comics out there today. Off the top of my head we’ve got the landscape oriented comic like Michael Jasper and Niki Smith’s “In Maps and Legends,“ Alex de Campi’s panel specific “Valentine“ or your normal, everyday comic that’s simply being ported over to digital as is. These would be the comics from the Big Two, Image, Dark Horse, etc that are identical to their print counterparts.

I should also point out before we get too far into this — page sizes adobe camera raw download? It’s all personal preference. Maybe you want a landscape comic. That’s your decision. There really is no right or wrong way. When I first started making digital comics I came to the realization that I’d much rather utilize the proper dimensions of the devices. So first and foremost I focused on the iPad. An iPad’s screen dimensions are 768 x 1024 pixels in portrait mode. It also has a resolution of 132 dpi (as of this writing).

Once I knew its dimensions I was able to play with some of my previous comics and port them over. The first thing I noticed and you’ll have noticed this as well if you’ve read some comics on your iPad, was that the page doesn’t fill the entire screen youtube videos über 90 minuten downloaden. There’s a very large blank area on both sides of the comic. (Left and right sides.) Here’s an example from Kurtis J. Wiebe and Riley Rossmo’s wonderful comic Green Wake.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

This is happening because the art was drawn at a size that doesn’t fit an iPad. And why would it really? Print comics are one thing and an iPad another. Maybe in the future we’ll see this change but for now it’s highly unlikely from youtube on iphone. But that doesn’t stop us from making comics the way we want to… it may mean that our print version will be a slightly different shape but that doesn’t concern me anymore.

I ended up coming to the conclusion that if I draw my pages at a magazine size I can pretty much fit the iPad perfectly. For those template geeks, here’s the template that I use: Click here.

To the side is an example from my art book that I’ve since adjusted to fit the screen properly gratis ebooks downloaden lucinda riley.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

So now you scan in your artwork, adjust your image size down to 768 x 1024, 132 dpi and presto, a page formatted specifically for the iPad that fills the screen! I’ve actually created a separate template file that’s sized specifically for each device that I just drag and drop my artwork on. That way I can adjust the page if I really need to.

[Update Mar 2012: The iPad 3 has now rolled out and it’s HD which means its stats have now updated as follows: resolution 264 dpi, pixel dimensions 1536 x 2048.]

Below is a screengrab showing how I’ve used it herunterladen. You’ll notice that I’m still keeping in mind AND USING the page guidelines on the template like the bleed, trim and live area. I wouldn’t mind printing my comics as well some day so this way they’ll be properly formatted for print as well.

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

But like I said, decide what works for you or what’s right for the project. You may want a single paneled comic similar to Comixology’s Guided View for instance. Or maybe you want your comic to be read easily on phones. Any time you choose a different device it complicates things windows 10 professional 64 bit herunterladen. You will have to do some extra work.

One thing I haven’t touched on too much is the resolution of the pages. I’ve seen a lot of talk on the net about this. The consensus seems to be to just make them 72 dpi. (Web resolution) But I’m not sure I agree. If a device supports higher dpi, I say go for it. Sure your files will be a little larger but the last thing you want to do is give your customers/fans an inferior product. Some people may simply want to view them on their computer as well photos herunterladen. They’d obviously benefit from a higher resolution in that case.

An iPad’s resolution is 132 dpi, the Kindle2 167 dpi and the Nook Colour 196 dpi. These will change in the future as the technology increases and gets better and better each year but for now that’s where they stand. [Update Mar 2012: The resolution for the iPad 3 is 264 dpi.] The great thing about digital is that nothing is ever obsolete. Say 5 years from now the iPad supports 300 dpi, you could simply re-do your dpi on all of your pages and upload a new file. You’ll have the ability to do since you kept all of your original files in a safe place right amazon prime album herunterladen? Right?! Always, always keep an untouched file somewhere. What if you need to adjust your lettering? What if you need to increase your dpi? What if you need to adjust your page size? Make sure you have that original file. It’ll come in handy, I promise you.

I did find out from one digital distributor recently that they require their files in 300 dpi. When asked they responded that it was in preparation for the devices to change and to allow the text to be read easier. I did some experimentation myself and sure enough, they were correct in regards to text musik herunterladen iphone youtube. Although I did not notice ANY difference in the artwork itself even when zoomed. It looked exactly the same. I would still focus on the device’s dpi for now until told otherwise such as in this case.

Speaking of distributors I think that’s what we’ll talk about next week.

As a sidenote since I only seem to talk about the iPad lately, Kindle 2’s dimensions are 520 x 622 pixels and the Nook Colour 600 x 952 pixels.

I encourage you to comment below with any questions and to share this post back out to everyone around you. Like you, there’s many other would-be creators dying at the chance to learn something new about creating digital comics.

About Adam

Subscribe

Subscribe to the EnemyOne newsletter to receive updates about promotions/contests and news about releases from my small press publishing company!

Artist-quality is the best

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Watercolor papers come in different forms, qualities, surfaces, and weights, all of which respond differently to the paint and to various painting techniques. To determine which paper is best for your needs, first, it is useful to understand the characteristics of paper and what makes papers different from each other. Then, it is helpful to experiment with different watercolor papers to see what works best for your painting style and subject matter. There are many excellent watercolor papers on the market, and finding the paper that you like best is as important as finding the paint that you like best.

Quality

Like many art supplies, paper comes in a variety of qualities, from student grade to artist grade, and the choice of paper for a watercolorist will greatly influence how the paint handles and what kinds of brush marks can be made.

Watercolor paper can be made by hand, by cylinder-mold machines (referred to simply as mold-made to differentiate from machine-made), or by machine. Papers made by hand have four natural, or deckle edges, and the fibers are randomly distributed, making the paper quite strong. Papers made by mold have two deckle edges. The fibers are also randomly distributed, which makes it strong but not quite as strong as handmade. Machine-made paper is made on a machine in one continuous process, with the fibers all oriented in the same direction. All the edges are cut, although some have artificial deckle edges for a more authentic appearance.

Machine-made paper is less expensive to manufacture and purchase, but most artist-quality watercolor papers on the market are mold-made rather than machine-made.

Always use the highest quality paper you can afford, the best of which is artist-quality paper. All artist-quality paper is acid-free, pH neutral, 100 percent cotton. That means that the paper will not turn yellow or deteriorate over time, unlike lower-quality paper made of wood pulp, such as newsprint or brown kraft paper.

Handmade papers are usually sold in single sheets. Mold-made and machine-made papers can be purchased in single sheets, packs, rolls, pads, or blocks. The blocks are pre-stretched watercolor paper sheets that are bound on all four sides. When you have finished a painting, you use a palette knife to remove the top sheet from the block.

Surface

Mold-made and machine-made watercolor papers come in three surfaces: rough, hot-pressed (HP), and cold-pressed (CP or NOT, as in “not hot-pressed”).

Rough watercolor paper has a prominent tooth or textured surface. This creates a grainy, speckled effect as pools of water collect in the indentations in the paper. It can be hard to control the brush marks on this paper.

Hot-pressed watercolor paper has a fine-grained, smooth surface, with almost no tooth. Paint dries very quickly on it. This makes it ideal for large, even washes of one or two colors. It is not as good for multiple layers of washes, because there is more paint on the surface and it can get overloaded quickly. It is good for drawing and for pen and ink wash.

Cold-pressed watercolor paper has a slightly textured surface, somewhere in between rough and hot-pressed paper. It is the paper used most often by watercolor artists because it is good for both not only large areas of wash but also as fine detail.

Weight

The thickness of watercolor paper is indicated by its weight, measured either in grams per square meter (gsm) or pounds per ream (lb.).

The standard machine weights are 190 gsm (90 lb.), 300 gsm (140 lb.), 356 gsm (260 lb.), and 638 gsm (300 lb). Paper less than 356 gsm (260 lb.) should be stretched before use; otherwise, it is likely to warp.

How much paint you’ll use (and how much water) influences what weight you’ll need. Paper that’s 90 lb. is likely too thin for anything but practice. If you want to experiment, look for an assortment pack.

Practice Paper

Of course, if you’re just practicing, you may want to have less-expensive student-grade cellulose-based pads on hand so you don’t have to use up your expensive paper as quickly. Cellulose-based paper will yellow over time, but practice pieces aren’t anything you’ll frame anyhow.

That said, don’t go for the cheapest paper out there, as it may be difficult to work with and not give good results—and then you don’t learn how the paint acts with the more textured paper.

You could also practice on smaller pieces of artist-quality paper (buy a roll and cut it) or attempt to wash practice paints off by the immersion of the page in a tub of water or by running it under a faucet, before laying it flat to dry. (That might not work on lower grades of paper, and it won’t work on artist-grade papers forever.) You can also use both sides. Dig out those early pieces you don’t want to look at now and paint on the back.

Choosing which paper to use will come down to trial and error, honestly, for you to find your preferences. Here are a few more tips:

These 6 paper varieties have different characteristics

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Artists have many different types of art paper to choose from, ranging from super-smooth surfaces to very rough, “toothy” papers. Some papers are best with soft pencils, pastels, and charcoal, while others are better suited for watercolors. You will find no shortage of paper to work with. The hardest part is deciding which to use.

The texture of the surface is the primary concern for art papers. Several factors influence the texture of a paper:

  • The fiber is most important. Different types of wood pulp, cellulose, and cotton behave differently when made into paper.
  • The volume of pulp per sheet affects the weight and strength of the paper.
  • The production process is also important. Papers are made with mold, machine, or hand processes. The amount of heat and pressure in the drying process changes the paper as well.
  • Surface textures can be created by the mesh mold that paper sheets are made on or applied by a roller to machine-made paper.
  • The amount of “size”—the binding glue, not the dimensions—in the paper and on the surface affect how well it holds water. It also determines how “toothy” the surface is, or how much texture it has.

Here’s a look at some of the descriptions to give you a better understanding of the papers you’ll run across. Every artist is different, so it’s best to explore your options. Give some of these a try to see which you most enjoy working with.

Laid Paper

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Laid paper has a pattern of parallel lines created by the wires from the mold used in its production.

Some papers, such as Ingres, have a broad, pronounced surface texture clearly visible in the drawing. Other laid papers have a finer texture. It’s important to choose a scale of texture appropriate to your style of drawing. For instance, a finer-scale texture will often work best for smaller work.

This type of paper is suitable for sketching with pastel, charcoal, and soft pencil. Brands include Canson Ingres, Hahnemühle Ingres, Hahnemühle Bugra Pastel Paper, and Strathmore 500 Series Charcoal Paper.

Textured Pastel, Charcoal, and Craft Papers

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Textured surfaces typically have a fine, irregular texture pressed into the surface during manufacture. It often mimics the natural irregularities of mold-made paper.

The tooth and hardness of the paper vary according to the manufacturer, though most have a hard vellum surface with moderate sizing. This allows them to be used with harder media and a certain amount of layering. However, they are usually not suitable for heavy layering.

Textured paper is good for pastel and charcoal, as well as expressive larger scale pencil sketching.

Brands of textured paper include Strathmore Pure Tints and Canson Mi-Teintes, which are available in a huge selection of colors.

Wove Paper

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Rosmarie Wirz/Getty Images

Wove paper is made on a woven wire “cloth” like a fine sieve instead of the traditional parallel wires of laid paper. Most paper that we use was manufactured this way.

The tightly woven mesh creates a fine, smooth surface. Ideally, there is no texture at all, although some papers may have texture added. A heavier weave may also give some paper a slight texture.

The smooth surface of untextured wove paper is particularly well suited to ink drawing and realism pencil drawing.

One of the best known and most enjoyed by artists is Arches Text Wove, also known as Velin d’Arches.

Rough Paper

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

W. Cody/Getty Images

A rough-grained paper has a noticeably bumpy surface. In making rough paper, the pulp is pressed without additional heat, so there is a natural variation in the surface.

When shading with chalk or flat pencil, the pits in the paper create an irregular pattern of white spots throughout the area. A mold-made watercolor paper is a typical example of a rough paper surface.

The coarse surface makes it difficult to control tone and lends itself to simple, broad, expressive gestures in pastel, charcoal, or soft pencil.

Rough paper is a traditional favorite of watercolorists because the tiny pits allow paint to pool in a heavy wash. At the same time, it leaves dots of light with a dry brush, so the texture can be used to great effect.

Medium Paper

How to pick the right drawing paper for your comics

Medium papers include “Not” (meaning not hot-pressed) cold-pressed watercolor paper, as well as a variety of medium-surface drawing papers such as Lana Dessin.

Medium paper has a fine grain, which can look subtle when shading with a sharpened pencil. It may also be accentuated by shading with a blunt pencil or charcoal.

Hot-Pressed Paper

A​ hot-pressed or smooth paper has been, as the name suggests, hot rolled or “ironed” during production to create a very smooth, flat surface.

Hot-pressed paper allows you to draw very fine detail without noticeable bumps or texture. The amount of manipulation and type of medium depend on the quality of the fiber and manufacturing process used.