✒️ Which Drawing Paper is Best For Pen and Ink?
Which drawing paper is best for pen and ink? Adding ink to your drawing ritual can be fun and enriching. Sometimes it can be scary to go out on a limb as it’s a material that’s not very forgiving if you make a mistake, but don’t let that stop you from trying!
Now me, I always combined them together. Sometimes I would use my pencils first and then go over it with ink. It helped me get over that fear knowing I could start out by tracing my pencil drawing first to make it easier, then going over it with ink.
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Now for the fundamentals of choosing paper. It’s going to depend a little on what type of ink you are looking to use, how well the paper type will tolerate it. There are a few rules of thumb you want to go by. Mainly, is to be mindful of paper thickness and surface texture.
There’s a relationship between gsm and weight .Gsm stands for “grams per square meter” a metric used to measure paper weight. Lower gsm paper is usually lighter weight. If you plan to use inks and water washes together you want to be sure your drawing paper can stand up to it. Paper pads also have a “pounds” metric in addition, based on “pounds per 500 sheets”
It can be summed up in this infographic right here!
Now let’s take a look at the best picks!
Bristol Board (with a Smooth Surface)
Bristol board works amazingly well in the pen and ink medium. I believe it got it’s name from the town in England that it was first developed btw. Bristol board also comes in a sheet paper form as well and in two different types, smooth and vellum.
The smooth surface is your best bet for ink; as the rougher textured vellum variety is better suited to tools like charcoal, colored pencil, pastels, and graphite pencils.
Bristol board is excellent in the use of illustrations, technical drawing and comic book art. Its composition is that of multi-ply sheets. The general thickness is in the neighborhood of 0.15 mm. You can find bristol board in the size ranges of A1 through A4 – the ones above I chose are in conventional sizes like 11 by 14, 9 by 12, etc, etc. which are easy to transport and carry with you.
Hot Press Illustration Board
Illustration board is pretty similar to Bristol board. It’s biggest difference is that it’s got a smooth front working surface, but not the back.
The term “hot press” – it is called this due to the heated cylinder press used in the manufacturing process that leaves the resulting paper with a smooth texture.
This one I chose would work great for all your ink endeavors! In addition to a good surface, it is pretty sturdy too.
Watercolor Paper (Hot Press)
If you are looking to add washes to your pen and ink work, watercolor paper can be your best friend. Hot press watercolor paper pads have less of a “tooth” than cold pressed, and the natural thickness of the paper means it will support moisture well without leaving ridges or swells.
These below I found are pads that will fit the bill for your needs; Arches is a very good brand and popular with many artists.
You can absolutely find a sketchbook that will support ink – one type that comes to mind is the art journals, as some of them are designed to accommodate multiple mediums. I would definitely recommend my Strathmore drawing pad in this case.
Mixed Media Sketchpad
This is a unique type of paper that combines the smooth finish of drawing paper with the thickness of watercolor. It maintains a weight of 98 to 184 pounds, and a gsm of 160 to 300. They come in different sizes too, like 9 by 12 or 11 by 14, or you could also opt for the journal – style which you could use for scrapbooking, traveling and on the go living.
This one I found by Canson to the left is a good example that will meet your needs. It has 98 lbs (the right weight criteria).and is compatible with most water-related mediums.
If you plan to incorporate a little pen and ink into your repertoire, the best kind of drawing paper would be bristol board and hot press watercolor paper, which will give you the right surface, limit pen tip drags, and not bleed on the other side.
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