Unleash Your Creativity: The Different Types of Surfaces for Drawing and Painting

If you’re just starting as an artist, you probably already know that it takes courage to dig deep and explore your talents and have the daily motivation to keep practising. While it is up to you to find out why and how much you want to make use of your abilities as a drawing master or painter, my goal is to help point you in the direction of choosing the ideal paper for those expressions. 

Drawing as an Ancient Art Form

watercolour pad
Source: Pexels

When it comes to the visual arts, drawing is one of the earliest forms of human expression. The primary focus of this practice is the portrayal of the visual world on a flat surface by the drawing of lines and regions of tone. When compared to contemporary coloured-pencil drawings, traditional drawings were rather colourless, or known as black-and-white. 
Although comparable mediums are frequently used for both sketching and painting, in Western parlance they are considered separate practices. Pastels may also be created using a dry medium like chalk, which is more commonly used for drawing. Liquid mediums can be used with brushes or pens to create drawings, and so on.

The Most Popular Drawing Surfaces 

Drawing Sheet

Drawing sheets are flexible pieces of paper that can be used for different kinds of drawings, like pencil, charcoal, and ink drawings. They come in various sizes and weights, so artists can use them for projects of different types.

Watercolor Paper Pad

A watercolour paper pad is a thick paper with a certain feel that lets watercolour paints soak in and stay put. It is usually made from cotton or wood pulp, and it can be rough, cold-pressed, or hot-pressed. Watercolour paper lets artists use methods like washes, glazes, and wet-on-wet to get the results they want. A watercolour pad is convenient for taking your art supplies with you everywhere you go. Pieces of artwork may be simply removed from gummed and spiral-bound pads and framed or stored. Additionally, many pages may be edited simultaneously.

Pastel Paper

Pastel paper is made just for drawing with pastels and chalk. It has a rough surface that makes it possible for light colours to stick to it. Pastel paper comes in different colours, so artists can make works that are lively and full of life.

Mixed Media Paper

watercolour pad
Source: Pexels

Mixed-media paper is flexible and can be used with a variety of art supplies, like paints, watercolours, pencils, and collage pieces. Its surface is firm and can hold many layers of different materials without twisting or breaking.

Black Paper

Black paper is a unique choice for artists who want to make works with a lot of contrast and drama. It is often used for things like drawing with white chalk, drawing with gel pens, and other untraditional paper projects.

Crêpe Paper

Crepe paper is a thin, crumpled kind of paper that is often used for crafts and decorations. It is often used to make paper flowers, decorations for parties, and character parts. Crepe paper comes in many bright colours, giving you a lot of ways to use it creatively.

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a clear paper that is used to move sketches, patterns, or pictures from one surface to another. It lets artists write their thoughts and change them before putting them on art paper.

Butter Paper

Butter paper, which is also called parchment paper, is a type of paper that doesn’t stick and is used to keep the artwork from getting smudged or stuck together. It is often used to store and move finished artworks by putting them between the pieces.

Charcoal Paper

When it comes to charcoal paper, you want a mid-weight, somewhat textured paper that can withstand stronger drawing colours while still allowing the substance to shine. Furthermore, because of its slightly more stylised character, charcoal paper is frequently utilised for various dry mediums.

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Surface

watercolour pad
Source: Pexels

When deciding on your essential art-creating supplies such as the texture of your surface, two things should be kept in mind. How you do things and what you see as an artist. If you want to draw in great detail yet have a technique that requires several layers, you may want to steer clear of smoother sheets. For example, look for a watercolour pad paper that is toothy enough to hold many layers yet smooth enough to draw on.
However, smooth paper is ideal if you simply use a few layers of colour at a time. Rough paper (particularly that designed for pastels) is great if you want to get a lot of colours down quickly without worrying about the subtleties.
Finally, for those of us who enjoy trying new things, don’t be afraid to use various sheets for various purposes. You need not draw on the same paper or in the same way every time. So, enjoy the process and never stop experimenting with your technique!