Let’s Talk Paper

Some days I just don’t have a lot to talk about when it comes to my daily practice, but I could talk forever about materials. So let’s talk paper!

Check out the video where I talk about all the papers I use. But for the post I’m just going to summarize.

My favorite paper to use for my most important drawings, the Fandom Fitness series, is Strathmore 300 Bristol Vellum Surface. This is a thick paper that stands up to a lot of rough work with charcoal, graphite or any dry medium.

But if you want the same paper but with a super smooth surface you can get the Strathmore 300 Bristol Smooth Surface. Strathmore says that this paper is used with only Pen and Ink but I’ve bested it with charcoal and graphite and it’s great if you don’t want to deal with filling in the paper texture. It’s also the best for pen and ink.

My third choice of paper, which is a budget choice, is the Strathmore 400 Sketch. I normally go with the recycled option. This paper is great for day to day light sketching for images that you want to last a long time but your not working the paper very hard. The paper is super thin and is best left in the sketch book. I wouldn’t recommend it for your most important pieces.

Last, but not least, is the workhorse of all papers, Newsprint. I did this post all about how to get some super awesome and cheap newsprint, the smooth kind, and I love it. You can go with smooth or rough newsprint but if you’re using Conte a Paris 1710 charcoal pencils, a la Jeff Watts Atelier, I would HIGHLY recommend the smooth newsprint. It’s a dream to use the 1710’s on.

The Tenth Doctor David Tennant drawing

Dr Who is coming along really awesome for this second version. I’m able to put in a lot of focused time on the drawing.

Previous Dr Who Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


Extended Gesture Study

Back to the extended gestures study from the The Natural Way to Draw book and with this new smooth newsprint I’m loving the exercise even more. Wow this paper ROCKS! My 1710 b charcoal pencils from conte a paris glides over the surface so nicely.

extended gesture study

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

Focused work on art and and a great video about let’s talk paper.

What needs work? What did you learn?

I got a big distracted from work, but it was for a good reason.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

Tomorrow I’m going to commit to deep focus at work.

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