Quality paper is the foundation for beautiful works of art that you’ll be eager to show off. The right paper can make a big difference in the way that details are rendered and the overall effect of a piece. Are you looking for paper to draw and scan for your budding print business? Or do you want a sketchbook that is weatherproof but still made to create gorgeous drawings?
Think about the size, color, and material of the paper that you want to draw on. Then, read this list for more ideas on the right paper to buy. We put together a combination of papers, new and old, that will surely meet your needs. Whether you want a 100% recycled vegan eco-friendly paper pad, your dollar to give back to charity, or to buy paper from a papermaking tradition more than 500 years old, you will find something on this list to inspire your next art project.
Best Paper for Colored Pencils
Canson XL Series Bristol Pad
- Heavyweight, bright white, Bristol paper for high contrast with excellent erasability
- The smooth surface finish is good for scanning
- Works well with pen & ink, marker, pencil, and colored pencil
- 9 x 12 inch 25 sheets
- 100 pound/260 gram acid free paper
The Canson Bristol Pad is a smooth paper that is popular with many artists. It has a clean, bright white color that markers, ink, and pencil stand out against.
This paper is ideal for drawing portraits or with graphite. Drawings will be clear on the smooth finish. Good paper for using the burnishing method. An inexpensive paper that’s good for beginners.
Canson XL Series paper is great for multimedia artists because of its weight and versatility. Artists can draw or paint in the same space to create visual interest, texture, and depth. It is a 100-pound acid-free paper. It is also good to scan to render accurate and smooth images digitally. The absorbent paper is also good for gel pens and markers.
The pages are easy to remove and share to organize different drawings. Canson XL paper is slightly larger than A4 paper and is good for beginners as well as experienced artists.
- Colored pencil paper for multi-talented artists
- Best drawing paper for many kinds of materials.
- Bright white color for true to tone drawings and paintings
- Not recommended with charcoal
- Not good for use with solvents
The Canson Bristol Pad is good paper to have in any serious artist toolbox for good drawing and light watercolors of any size.
Bee Paper Black Bristol Pad
- 12 sheets per pad
- Acid free and lignin free paper
- Heavy weight paper
This Bee Paper is heavyweight (130 lb) paper is acid-free and lignin-free and is available in packs of 10 and 12. The sizes available are 9″X12″, 11″X14″ 18″ X 25″ and 20″ x 26″. Bee Paper can be used on its own for drawings or as part of a photo album.
Unique dimensions let artists have more room to express themselves and make art that fits their big imaginations. It is a heavy paper that many artists like for line drawing, outlining, calligraphy, sketching, and framing photos.
Other mediums it accepts are charcoal, gouache, poster paint, paint markers, gel pens, and metallic mediums. You can use this to make bright and bold reverse highlights.
The paper has a texture that is made to hold chalk so mixed-medium drawings come out beautifully. Bee Paper is organized in a pad with sheets that rip out clean. The thick and sturdy pages hold color, pencil, and ink to create vivid drawings.
- Bristol paper
- Bigger size
- 4 sizes, all the way up to 20”24”
- Only one color
- Not that many sheets of paper
Bee Paper is for the colored pencil artists who also dabbles in other forms of creation.
Global Art Materials Kona Grey Toned Artist Paper Pad
- Wire bound paper pad in 5 sizes
- 9-Inch-By-12-Inch with 36 micro-perforated sheets
- 130 gsm/88 lb. 100-percent recycled paper acid free
- Suitable for a variety of media
- Made in the USA
The Kona Grey Toned artist’s sketchbook has two colors, tan and gray and five different sizes. Choose from pocket-sized 6″ x 8″, 8″x10″, 9″x12″, 11″x14″ and 14″x17″.
The wire-bound notepad is made from 100% recycled paper that is acid-free. Feel free to create beautiful drawings with colored pencils with this environmentally friendly sketch pad.
Create realistic landscapes or deep portraits with the toned background made to make shading smooth. This is the best-colored pencil paper for eco-friendly colored pencil artists.
The Global Art Materials Kona Grey notebook is 88lb paper made in the USA. The paper itself is made out of recycled coffee bean bags. It is a blend of post-consumer fibers and repurposed coffee bean bag fibers.
- 2 color and 5 size options
- Recycled materials
- Not weatherproof
Ideal for the eco-conscious artist who wants their materials to be good quality as well as good for the environment. The paper itself has long, strong jute fibers which are an ideal artist’s surface. It’s great for both light and dark materials. The Global Materials Kona Grey pad works with wet and dry media as well as pens or markers.
Strathmore Toned Tan Mixed Media Pad
- Heavyweight tan toned paper perfect for light and dark media
- Combined characteristics of watercolor and drawing sheet paper for wet and dry media
- 184 lb./ 300 gsm and made in the USA
- 9"x12" Glue Bound
- 15 Sheets per Pad and 100 % recycled with 30% PCW
Toned paper is good for balancing shading and values in quick sketches or more detailed drawings. It’d good for adding highlights, shading and color. White really stand out on tan tone paper. The surface of Strathmore Paper is medium so it is neither super smooth nor really “toothy” but in between.
The landscape shape of it makes it different from other papers. It can be good for drawing nature scenes, still life, patterns, or abstract art. Another great thing is that the paper is 100% recycled. Other materials that show up well are pastels, chalk, and many other wet or dry mediums.
Draw big and bold images with a larger than average size. Line drawings are clear, and you can layer colors to blend. Other artists can use their calligraphy ink to make big signs or practice their letters and shapes.
The surface stands to light watercolor washing and erasing so artists have more creative freedom.
- Tan color good for cartooning
- Thick and sturdy Bristol board paper for detailed drawings or academic projects
- Only 15 sheets
- Not recommended for use with a solvent
Strathmore Paper is recommended as it is a large paper suitable for detailed pencil drawings and to make a big impression artistically.
Stonehenge Paper 22 X 30 White
- Wonderful All Purpose Fine Art Paper
- Versatile for various art techniques
- Great for intaglio and screenprinting
- 100% Cotton Made in USA
- 250gsm (90 lb) Weight
Stonehenge paper is available for purchase in 10 sheets and 25 sheets. The texture is good for calligraphy, nature sketches, and creating one of a kind drawings. Stonehenge paper is available in white, polar white, and black. Create soft drawings, brilliant portraits, or awesome highlights with the options in this paper set.
The 22” x 30” size makes it large and ideal for involved or detailed works or you can also trim it to suit the work that you are practicing. This paper is also good for screen printing and intaglio.
Made in the USA this paper is a sound investment in an artist’s toolbox and it is made to be versatile and well suited for a variety of mediums.
Included are 10 sheets of cotton paper that feature a 2 deckled edge. The paper weighs 200 gsm, is acid-free and pH neutral. It’s also useful for charcoal, colored pencil, pastels, and watercolors.
- High quality, thick paper useful for many different kinds of art
- Big size and three color choices
- Only 10 sheets
Stonehenge paper is for artists wanting a reliable, USA made paper that is created with artist’s preferences in mind.
Arches Watercolor Paper Pad
$21.61 in stock
- Prized Paper - The long fibers in Arches natural white 100% cotton watercolor paper provide timeless beauty and an inimitable touch; this rich paper is available in multiple sizes and 3 revered textures: cold press, hot press and rough
- Superior Strength - A cylinder mold process distributes cotton fibers evenly providing exceptional resistance to scratching and erasing without tearing or linting; it allows our hot pressed watercolor papers to slacken uniformly when wet for outstanding control
- Exquisite Quality and Functionality - All Arches watercolor pads for painting are pH-neutral with a harmonious natural grain and no optical brightening agents; each sheet is easily removed from the edge-glued pad
- Exclusive Gelatin Sizing "to the Core" - Arches water color paper is the only paper in the world to be gelatin sized "to the core”; it increases the luster and transparency of colors while preventing paints from penetrating into the paper and makes blending, overlay or paint removal easy, wet or dry
- Premium Art Papers Since 1492 - After five centuries, the Arches philosophy remains the same: to make the best papers and enable you to produce your finest works while guaranteeing they will last as long as our papermaking heritage
Arches is quite smooth, and it is ideal for blending watercolor pencils in with the paper. Made out of 100% cotton and used primarily for portraits.
Each sheet is specially treated in a bath of pure natural gelatin and then air-dried for more durability and strength. It is made using a cylinder mold, which results in long fibers for a sheet of paper that is resilient and beautiful. This paper comes from a papermaking tradition since the 1400s and all Arches paper has been made this way for a century.
You can purchase them in a three-pack or on their own. This paper is guaranteed for quality. Each sheet is individually inspected and tested in a sophisticated quality control. This pack of paper is made to be luxurious and gives outstanding results. Erase, paint, sketch and blend with these pencils. Also good for use with acrylic, pastels, and gouache.
- Guaranteed and screened for quality
- Good for solvents
- Three different sizes to choose from
- Expensive paper
- Only comes in packs of 12
This is a colored pencil paper for serious artists to use with lots of strength and versatility.
Leda Art Supply 160 Pages Softbound Cover Sketchbook
$19.54 in stock
- PERFECT PAPER: Dense 81 pound sketchbook paper is ideal for pencil, ink, pen, pastel, and charcoal
- LARGE: 7 x 10 inch sketch book size gives you lots of surface for art making or journaling
- PREMIUM: 160 pages of smooth, cream-colored paper accents your colors
- FLEXIBLE: all weather cover protects your art and provides support in the field
- SOLID: stitched thread bound book lays flat for easy sketching. Makes an impressive gift
The Leda Art Supply is a bound sketchbook with a weatherproof cover made with the adventurous traveler in mind. Artists of all kinds love the quality make of this sketchbook in a journal style for portability. It makes a beautiful gift and there are more than 150 pages for endless creativity. The sizes are the baby Leda at 5.5 X 3.5 for anyone’s pocket, the Mother Leda at 8.25 X 5.5, the Odyssey sketchbook which measures 10 X 7 and made for traveler’s or the XL measuring in at 8.5 x 11 inches.
The paper is a beige color which is good for pencil drawings. It’s also good for calligraphers to practice line drawing and calligraphy. The Leda notebook has a smoother toothed paper perfect for catching details with mechanical pencils and other tools. Bring it with you to class or on your next hike
5% of all proceeds from sales of these notebooks go to Art with Heart, which is a community art program for kids and teens going through hardships.
- Portable journal type
- 160 pages
- Proceeds go toward charity
- Nonremovable pages
- Only one color option
The Leda Art Supply journal is for the responsible, artistic traveler who loves to create.
Key Features To Look For
The best drawing paper is the one that you feel confident using. The weight of the paper is how thick it is. Heavier paper is typically used for works with more layering or painting. The weight is how much 500 sheets of the paper would weigh, or how many grams per square meter it would weigh.
Different paper types are better for the various drawing mediums. If you’re working with a night scene, you might want to do a darker paper. Some people like using solvents or burnishing their art, so you should pick a paper that can properly absorb.
Fibre & Sizing
Think about the size of the paper you want. Paper for practicing is available in affordable, smaller sizes. Larger paper can fit a large portrait or landscape. If you’re used to smaller paper, then trying large paper sizes can be a great creative exercise where you’re filling the space with your brilliant work.
There are different types of fibers that paper can be made of. Some paper is made out of cotton. This paper is water absorbent and is good for.
Rolls of paper can be stretched, while some notebook papers are more prone to tearing. For watercolor or acrylic painting, it’s important to stretch the paper so the paint absorbs the right way. There are notebooks, single sheets, and pads, so try out the different kinds and see which one works for you. You might want to use them individually for variation.
This list of the best-colored pencil paper includes favorites from artists all over the world. It’s good to try new things, and these art supplies are a great addition to any artist’s toolbox or to give as a gift for someone who likes to draw.
When buying paper, keep in mind other uses for the paper you might want to do in addition to color pencils. Some types are good for painting or calligraphy as well as line drawing, while others are made to be used with color pencils. Getting a few kinds is a great idea especially if you’re using watercolor pencils or other materials to finish the art. We included recycled paper as well as traditional paper, so you can choose for yourself the texture and color of your art. Using new paper can be a small way to make a big change in the quality of your work. Be sure to practice with other mediums and stay inspired.
For more arts & craft supplies Ram Research have reviewed the following:
Best Paper for Colored Pencils
An option for every artist out there. Read through our reviews before choosing the right product for your artisit endeavours.
- Canson XL Series Bristol Pad
- Bee Paper Black Bristol Pad
- Global Art Materials Kona Grey Toned Artist Paper Pad
- Strathmore Toned Tan Mixed Media Pad
- Stonehenge Paper 22 X 30 White
- Arches Watercolor Paper Pad
- Leda Art Supply 160 Pages Softbound Cover Sketchbook