logo canson
logo canson

Tutorials and artistic advices

Select your drawing paper

Twitter icon

Rate this article

White? Colored? Satin or medium grain? It's worth taking the time to think about it before selecting your paper. Before you buy, ask yourself the right questions.


Dessin - choisir son papier

1. Is your medium more liquid, dry or thick


  • Dry, like charcoal, which needs medium grain paper so it can adhere without interfering with the smoothness of your movement.

  • Thick, like color or graphite lead pencils, which requires a smooth surface, that is, a fine grain, so it can spread easily.
  • Special case: working with pen and ink requires very smooth paper, like Bristol board, so your pen doesn't catch.


2. Should it be sturdy?


  • You will be doing a lot of erasing: make sure your paper is not too thin, to keep it from tearing at the slightest erasure.
  • You will be working by overlaying various layers: remember that your paper must be heavy enough to support your drawing material.


Did you know?

The expressions "paper with a hand" [in French:  papier qui a de la main"] and "a quire of paper" [in French:  "une main de papier"].

- Paper with a hand is paper that appears heavy compared to its actual grammage.

- A quire [main de papier] is equal to 25 sheets. Why? Because papermakers count sheets of paper with 5 fingers, at a rate of 5 sheets per finger. So they count 25 sheets at the same time with one hand.


Dessin - papier blanc ou couleur

 3. White or color?


It all depends on your medium's covering capacity and the effects you are looking for.

  • White for charcoal and graphite drawings: you extend your range of tones from the whiteness of the paper to the dark gray of the drawing material. This gives you optimum contrast between shadow and light.

Color for pastels and chalks, which have a high capacity for coverage. This allows you to work the background color into the tones in your drawing.

Suggested products

Canson® Graphic Arts

See also

Drawing: Create a sketchbook
Dibujo : Fabricar un cuaderno de croquis
A clever way to recycle your paper scraps and create a personalized book, suited to your needs and desires.