Type of drawing papers and size

If you’re a beginner and you’re wondering about getting the right type of papers and size, then you need to check this out.

Apart from getting the right skills and practice, one major  thing you need to consider  is getting the right materials.

I once had a commissioned work years ago (then I was less experienced) and i decided to pick a random cardboard to make a charcoal portrait.

I realized I was really struggling with my charcoal pencil. I couldn’t make reasonable strokes on the paper; the only strokes made was a scar; ended messing everything up.

Finally it turned out that i was using a smooth paper for charcoal pencil. What’s the moral lesson?

There are different paper surface for different medium.

You don’t have to make the same mistake I made. That’s what this post is all about.

Here we are going to highlight the different type of drawing papers, size and purpose.

This post will detail the diverse properties and highlights of art illustration papers, and which type are best for various art illustrations.

Types of papers according to Surface

This is where the fun begins. There’re endless types of paper surfaces.

Sketching, drawing and painting paper comes with a wide variety of surface textures.

Paper texture is commonly referred to as tooth. so anywhere you hear “tooth” , know they’re referring to the smoothness or the roughness of the paper.

The tooth is determined by the manufacturing method.

Surfaces can be categorised into hot-press, cold-press and rough surface (Type of drawing papers and size according to their manufacturing process).

The above stated types are known as water-color surfaces; although they can be used for drawing as well.


Hot press papers that are created by heated cylinders which are used to press the paper. The heat of the cylinders makes the surface smooth. This surface is suitable for pen art and graphite.


These are types of paper that are pressed with a cylinder without heating. It’s like the opposite of hot-pressed papers.

Rough Papers

Just as the name implies, these types have rough surfaces. The reason there are rough is because of the making process of the paper. These types of paper are flat-pressed  mechanically or not pressed at all; unlike hot-press and cold press papers that are cylindrically pressed. Rough papers are suitable for pastel and charcoal art.

The rough ones can have different patterns. Some can be horizontal, needle-point, hatching, cross-hatching e.t.c

Types of paper according to Thickness

This comes into play especially with painting media and pencil work.

Thin papers are more fragile than thick papers and have problem absorbing moisture like the thick papers.

Thin papers

There are suitable for pencil and pen art. These are sometimes seen as cheap papers. They are suitable for sketches.

Thick Papers

Thick paper go well with wet media, such as watercolor and also for acrylic. This is because they have the ability to absorb water well without warping the paper.

Types  by  scales/ size

Drawing paper is estimated with a metric scale. The scale is basic – A5, A4, A3, A3+, A2, A1, and A0 – where A5 is the littlest size and A0 the biggest. A4 is a usually utilized size for an illustration: it’s almost proportional to a standard 8.5 x 11″ printer paper. Here is a size of each size in examination with each other:

Size Width x Height (mm) Width x Height ( inches)
A0 841 x 1189 mm 33.1 x 46.8 in
A1 594 x 841 mm 23.4 x 33.1 in
A2 420 x 594 mm 16.5 x 23.4 in
A3 297 x 420 mm 11.7 x 16.5 in
A4 210 x 297 mm 8.3 x 11.7 in
A5 148 x 210 mm 5.8 x 8.3 in
A6 105 x 148 mm 4.1 5.8 in
A7 74 x 105 mm 2.9 x 4.1 in
A8 52 x 74 mm 2.0 x 2.9 in
A9 37 x 52 mm 1.5 x 2.0 in
A10 26 x 37 mm 1.0 x 1.5 in

Weight measurement

measurement Remark
35-55 gsm Most newspapers
90 gsm Mid-market magazine inner pages
130-250 gsm A good quality promotional poster
180-250 gsm Mid-market magazine cover
350 gsm Most reasonable quality business cards

The quality of the paper is determined by how high the gsm is. Standard paper weight is between  75gsm and 100gsm, while photo paper weight goes higher as  280gsm in weight.

Types according to usage

1. Papers for Outlining/ sketching

When you’re sketching out the beginnings of your next art work, you’ll likely need to make loads of erasing. Of course erasing is normal.

Papers with vellum complete have quite recently the appropriate measure of tooth and thickness to deal with unpleasant eraser treatment.

To  have a wonderful experience with sketching, make sure to purchase paper or pads that are without corrosive.

2. Pen, ink and colored pencil illustration

For mechanical illustration, pen and ink and hued pencil painting, Strathmore Bristol pads are an ideal fit. This paper does not disintegrate. They’re without corrosive and heavyweight (100 lbs.).

The smooth surface has no surface, which takes into consideration simple lay of colored pencil and graphite. The color appear to mix without anyone else.

Be that as it may, this ideal smoothness can be a hindrance for pastel and charcoal on the grounds that the paper doesn’t acknowledge the same number of layers of color as a gently finished paper.

3. Paper for Outlining/ sketching

When you’re outlining out the beginnings of your next art work, you’ll likely need to make loads of erasing.

To  have a wonderful experienced with sketching, make sure to purchase paper or pads that are without corrosive.

Strathmore Sketch is an extraordinary, lightweight pick. The principle contrast between the illustration paper and a portray one is weight. These pages are thin (50 lbs.) and can’t withstand a similar measure of layering and eradicating as the illustration paper.

The paper is delicately finished and corrosive free. It’s a great surface for preliminary work in shaded pencil to exchange the frameworks onto a superior quality illustration paper.

4. Paper for colored pencil

The most critical factors in picking paper for shaded pencil drawing are its smoothness and weight. The Stonehenge paper by Legion Papers is without a doubt the most loved among various hued pencil art pad. It comes in sheets and pads, in white and a few medium to light hues.

A smooth vellum, the 90 lb. surface acknowledges heaps of shade and is reasonable for other dry media, including pastels and printmaking. Layering and mixing of shaded pencils is relatively easy in contrast with chipping away at different surfaces.

Strathmore’s conditioned dark draw paper cushion is an astounding decision for brisk outlines and concentrates finished in highly contrasting hued pencils or charcoal.

5. Tracing and Transferring

This is a vital tool to artists. Artists can’t survive without it. To exchange your specialty effectively from unpleasant cushion to a smooth hot press sheet, those thin, straightforward sheets can be your redeeming quality.

Most tracing papers are produced using cotton fiber. For the best perceivability and detail, purchase a following paper with a low GSM (Grams per Square Meter) somewhere in the range of 25 and 200. The more slender the paper, the more detail will get through your exchange.


They are various papers for various purpose. The trick is to get the right paper that suit you. Don’t be too stiff to experiment and try out new things. Understand that most times the final look of your art is determined by the type of drawing paper and size you adopt. Have fun!

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