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View Full Version : Whats a good quality drawing paper


Dave Owen
04-17-2019, 05:11 AM
After having not painted for nearly 3 years I have decided to try and get back into painting again, BUT, I want to get away from the types of paintings I used to do and also get away from my sadly unused studio as well.

So, in a bid to do both I have decided to do Urban Sketching using P&I with the occasional one having a wash of colour (acrylic ink or watercolour).

So, I am looking for a good quality drawing book (A4 sized) that will cope with both the ink and the wash which I might put on it.

So, looking for advice/recommendation for such a book,

OR

Would it be better to use loose sheet quality paper instead of the book, if so what would other drawers/sketchers/artists recommend.

Any advice is appreciated,

Dave Owen

P.S. please remember that some of your suggestions may not be available in the UK, so if you could possibly put down 2-3 possible papers it would give me a better chance of obtaining it.

pedlars pen
04-17-2019, 06:59 AM
Well for pen & ink line work THE best "paper" is Bristol board.
It is sturdy & tough,it will not crease or dog ear ,it can take endless erasing .All kinds of pen whether a sharp dip pen or a micro felt tip fineliner will give a tight line true to it's size without feathering or spreading. You can also put a light wash on it fine but it has no texture so no relying on that for water colour effects & no wet on wet either.
You can not get bristol board in bound or spiral books & it is expensive but if you have a look on e-bay or amazon you can get "Excompta"bristol board in A4 ,punched for putting in a ring binder or not.This paper is made by "Clairefountaine" & is very high quality & a little lighter in weight (but no less sturdy) than the expensive art supplies bristol board. It is the cheapest way of doing it without compromising working qualities at all.
So the bristol board option favours the pen but should you want to be able to use quite wet washes & whilst still having a good pen surface I would recommend "Daler Rowney Aquafine watercolour Aquarelle" paper in smooth OR cold press for a little texture.Unlike most W/C papers it is internally sized & quite hard surfaced ,this again the pen likes but if you are a out & out watercolourist really you will find you can not manipulate the colour as adeptly as on "Arches" & the like (but then you can't use a pen on them very well at all !) Again this paper is in a unbound pad but is very suitable for the technique of pen & watercolour.
So these 2 papers are ideally suited to your purposes however "Canson " makes a number of spiral bound books which are pretty good if you really want a bound pad set up to use light washes on & other manufacturers too - www.curtisward.com/surfaces/sketchbooks/spiral-bound-sketch-books .At the end of the day I always use separate sheets in a clip folder because they are my ideal choice rather than what a manufacturer has thought would cover most people.
Mike

tiago.dagostini
04-17-2019, 08:21 AM
If you intend to do watercolor washes.. then you will want something a bit sturdier AND absorbent. Hahnemulle has a nice watercolor sketchbook that is basically made for that..

pedlars pen
04-17-2019, 11:09 AM
If you intend to do watercolor washes.. then you will want something a bit sturdier AND absorbent. Hahnemulle has a nice watercolor sketchbook that is basically made for that..

The problem is what is good for a pen paper is non-absorbent & hard is the exact opposite for for watercolour washes ! :eek: So a compromise has to be arrived at.
Where you end up at is a matter of which medium you favour.
When using a pen it is very likely that the very specific needs of a pen are favoured & the watercolour washes take on a slightly lesser role in the choosing of paper because the areas of W/C wash do not need to be handled with the infinite subtlety possible with expensive W/C paper.
After all , in a urban sketch many edges of a wash colour are outlined in pen line anyway ! & the very finest W/C papers full of cotton & soft make very poor pen papers ,to say nothing of the money :lol:
Mike

Payne's Grey
04-17-2019, 12:36 PM
I have had good success with Fabriano Aquarello Artistico extra white hot press 140 pound paper. It takes pens without feathering badly and has texture enough for watercolor tinting. I use a kneadable eraser to remove any pencil work. I buy it in large pads and cut it to the sizes I want and clip several sheets together for a "book." I agree with Pedlars Pen that if the pen work is most important, you can't beat Bristol board.

Dave Owen
04-17-2019, 03:14 PM
Thank you to all who have responded,

Some good suggestions and information coming my way. It is appreciated.

Taken note of those papers already mentioned and will try to get a few sheets of each one + some pads and practice on them to find which one(s) I like the most.

If anyone else has other paper suggestions, please feel free to jot them down here.

With regards to a good waterproof ink are there any which stand out from the overwhelming crowd of inks on the market,

I searched my pen box today and found I had some UNI PiN (0.1,0.3,0.4) pens and a Pilot V5 Hi tecpoint (0.1) and have had a doodle with them and to be honest I am not overly impressed with either as they just don't seem to have the smooth action that is normally associated with a nib based pen. But it has been nearly three years since I last did any serious drawing/painting so pen performance has more than likely improved since then.

SO, while here I might as well ask for information concerning good quality pens for drawing work.

Thanks everyone,

Dave Owen.

pedlars pen
04-17-2019, 03:53 PM
SO, while here I might as well ask for information concerning good quality pens for drawing work.

I assume you are talking about for the same urban sketching work mentioned above.
Get a couple of "Platinum preppy" fountain pens in the Extra-fine & fine , Maybe a medium too if that is your thing ? - https://www.cultpens.com/i/q/PT10726/platinum-preppy-fountain-pen-03-fine BUT even more important is the ink you will use in it (the free ink carts that come with it are not waterproof). That should be "Platinum carbon black" as it can withstand the water colour on top of it - no problem & it is a very deep black colour. - www.cultpens.com/i/q/PT16685/platinum-carbon-ink-cartridges (http://www.cultpens.com/i/q/PT16685/platinum-carbon-ink-cartridges)
Buy it in the cartridges to keep the money down to start with.
Have fun !
Mike

pedlars pen
04-17-2019, 06:16 PM
I should have added a post note there - Carbon ink clogs up a fountain pen if it is not used every few days because it has tiny (& I mean nano size!) particles in it.
So it might be wise to try out the line size with the cartridges (unsuitable for water colour additions) that come with the pen at first- & then only load one carbon ink cart to start with.
Then when a carbon cart ink is loaded it is best to use it every few days even if that is only a scribble on scrap paper to keep it flowing nicely.
The pens I recommended do have the best sealing mechanism to negate this clogging problem but it is only so good .
So why go to this hassle if you can get waterproof pens that don't require this care ? - Because as I suspect you have already been finding out for yourself ,the line & ink is of a weak & insipid quality whereas the delicious wet & extremely dark line of a carbon ink both is more fun to draw with for those with a honed aesthetic & it contrasts well with any W/C washes.
THIS ink is widely acknowledged as the best way ahead using this ink + W/C technique.
Mike

tiago.dagostini
04-18-2019, 01:51 PM
The problem is what is good for a pen paper is non-absorbent & hard is the exact opposite for for watercolour washes ! :eek: So a compromise has to be arrived at.
Where you end up at is a matter of which medium you favour.
When using a pen it is very likely that the very specific needs of a pen are favoured & the watercolour washes take on a slightly lesser role in the choosing of paper because the areas of W/C wash do not need to be handled with the infinite subtlety possible with expensive W/C paper.
After all , in a urban sketch many edges of a wash colour are outlined in pen line anyway ! & the very finest W/C papers full of cotton & soft make very poor pen papers ,to say nothing of the money :lol:
Mike



That is what arches Hot pressed is for.. its cotton.. but it is sturdier and more rigid than most bristol you find around. That said.. you would need to weave your own sketchbook to have it with Arches HP.

tiago.dagostini
04-18-2019, 01:53 PM
I should have added a post note there - Carbon ink clogs up a fountain pen if it is not used every few days because it has tiny (& I mean nano size!) particles in it.
So it might be wise to try out the line size with the cartridges (unsuitable for water colour additions) that come with the pen at first- & then only load one carbon ink cart to start with.
Then when a carbon cart ink is loaded it is best to use it every few days even if that is only a scribble on scrap paper to keep it flowing nicely.
The pens I recommended do have the best sealing mechanism to negate this clogging problem but it is only so good .
So why go to this hassle if you can get waterproof pens that don't require this care ? - Because as I suspect you have already been finding out for yourself ,the line & ink is of a weak & insipid quality whereas the delicious wet & extremely dark line of a carbon ink both is more fun to draw with for those with a honed aesthetic & it contrasts well with any W/C washes.
THIS ink is widely acknowledged as the best way ahead using this ink + W/C technique.
Mike



I used to use very very cheap fountain pens with that type of ink.. those chinese ones that you can get for 5 USD. It is not a serious loss if it eventually clogs.

Scene Chaser
04-19-2019, 06:05 PM
I always use a Lamy pen for sketching. And for paper, a good 90 lb. watercolor bound book is great. Adding light washes will wrinkle very little.
Bill

pedlars pen
04-20-2019, 04:38 AM
I always use a Lamy pen for sketching.
Yes Lamy pens are reliable & robust fountain pens ,they last forever ! before the ready availability of far east imported pens they were the pen to get .Nowadays the market has changed dramatically & we now all have a much wider choice of line widths & rate of flow,at a fraction of the cost.
Mind you if you are happy with the wider western extra fine nib, then still get one because it'll last you a lifetime.
However if pen & ink is your thing........... Well let's just say it doesn't usually stop at one pen does it :o :lol:
Mike

Dave Owen
04-22-2019, 03:49 AM
thanks everyone for your input.

Been thinking about a Lamy and one shop in my next town apparently sells them so will be going take a look at one or maybe two.

Never really thought about using 90lb paper as I always used 200lb and higher when I was painting for a living (never did like seeing wc paper cockling up. So was not thinking about it. This is probably because I was painting to sell and so didn't want to mess about trying to flatten paper. Need to get out of this frame of mind and tell myself off as these will be just sketches and they for my own pleasure....

Dave Owen

tiago.dagostini
04-22-2019, 05:19 AM
Aren't you mixing gsm with lbs? 200 lbs is an absurdly thick paper (540 gsm)

Dave Owen
04-22-2019, 10:52 AM
tiago.dagostini

NO, not getting mixed up with lb and gsm.
The wc paper I have used for many a year is Bockingford 200lb Not. I do have some lighter 140lb papers including Sanders and Arches. and even some rough and hp ones.
I also have a supply of 300 and 350lb papers sitting in a drawer (been there at least 5 years now.) and they really are thick papers.
But I have never really considered using a paper that was less than 140lb much less 90lb.

I must point out that a lot of my watercolours were at least half imperial (15"x 22", or, 11" x 30") in size and a fair number were full imperial (30" x 22"). When I first started I used 140lb but the cockling at the above sizes was a problem so I moved up to the heavier papers and the cockling problem became significantly less.

Now that I am wanting to start painting again but only in a hobby way after a break of almost 3 years I want to start small and in a new media to that which I used to use, this is why I am looking at pen and ink with the possibility of adding a wc wash to some of the drawings now and again.

Dave Owen.

tiago.dagostini
04-24-2019, 08:31 AM
I do watercolors, But never ever used something over 160 Lbs.. feels too strange like drawing on a sponge that can never be satisfied with enough water.

VanAndrew
04-24-2019, 11:44 AM
A quick note about pigmented inks clogging the feed on a fountain pen: some pens can be found that happily deal with inks like Platinum Carbon or De Atramentis Document Black. Platinum has an inexpensive one (10 dollars or so) they call a desk pen which I have never cleaned in two years, always loaded with pigmented ink, which has never clogged. I have a couple other fountain pens with similar performance but that is the cheapest one.