Art, Drawing, Make, Create, & Share!

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Paper

A look at some of my favorite mediums, brands, and supplies.

The surface on which you create your art is just as important as your mediums! There’s like a million papers to choose from – Also I may have realized I have a small paper collection while taking photo for this 😉 There are many different papers to use for all sorts of mediums, but these are a few of my favorite papers!

Bristol paper: Bristol paper is a thick card stock like paper, it comes in Smooth or Vellum surfaces. I use both depending on what I’m drawing! I use this paper for several mediums too, including, pen, marker, graphite & charcoal. The vellum surface has a little more tooth to it and takes more layers than the smooth. We use this paper a lot in classes!

The first two pieces were creates with mixed media (watercolor, colored pencil & pen) on bristol smooth & vellum. Then graphite and charcoal both completed on bristol smooth.

Watercolor paper: When I was first introduced to watercolors they weren’t my favorite medium….then I was introduced to Arches watercolor papers and watercolors quickly became one of more favorite mediums – all because of the surface. Arches is super expensive but totally worth it! The paper holds up to washes, layering and lifting techniques like no other. It comes in hot press or Cold Press in multiple weights. I prefer 140lb in cold press for paintings like my Westside series and hot press for any paintings where I don’t want as much surface texture. As it is rather costly, when starting out with watercolors in classes and for making simple little hand made cards or quick paintings I always use Canson XL watercolor paper – it’s a great paper that holds up well with watercolors and we also often use it for color pencils & mixed media!

Watercolors completed on Arches cold press and hot press papers.

Stonehenge: Is one of my more recent discoveries. I’ve only used it with color pencils and it’s amazing how many layers this paper can take and still have a pretty smooth surface texture!

Work in progress and completed work both on Stonehenge with colored pencil.

Pastel Paper: Pastels are one of my all time favorite mediums. I started off using Canson Mi-tenis papers and still use them on occasion (this is also the paper I use in classes), however, most of my pastel work is completed on PastelMat. It’s an amazing surface that has a velvety texture and takes layers upon layers of pastels. It also holds the pastel well and comes in various colors.

Soft pastels created on Mi-Tenis and PastelMat.

These are just a few of my favorite papers to work with my favorite mediums but there are so many to choose from – what are some of your favorite surfaces?

Art, Drawing, Make, Create, & Share!

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Pastels

Morning Dove – PanPastel & pastel pencils, (7″x14″)

I received my first set of pastels when I was 10 – I don’t think I loved them quite so much at first, but now pastels are one of my absolute favorite mediums! They are what I use for most of my commission pieces and the medium I’m most likely to use for any of my own projects.

Pastels are created with pigment and a binder compressed into sticks – depending on how much binder is mixed with the pigment you get a harder or softer pastel. When I first started with pastels, and up until a few years ago, Prismacolor Nupastels were the only thing I used. These pastel sticks contain a higher amount of binder, making them a harder type of pastel – this allows me to achieve more details in my work than what I could with a softer pastel. These are also the pastels I use to teach with.

One of my earlier pastel pieces (2006?) completed with Nupastel on Canson Mi-teintes

I still use Nupastels in my pastel work but I also have a few other pastel mediums I like to use now too! For smaller detailed areas and textures I love Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils . They come in a wide range of colors and are a similar hardness to the Nupastels.

In the past couple years I’ve also started using PanPastels which are extra soft pressed pastels powders in a pan/cake form and are applied to your surface with soft sponge. I love how rich and smooth these go on! For the most part I use these in my backgrounds and base layers for larger areas and then add finishing details with the pastel pencils on top.

I also have used Sennelier extra soft pastels on occasion – I do enjoy them, however, they can be quite costly!

“Tux & Tsuki” – Completed with Sennelier soft pastels

The surface is probably the most important element though! I started to use Pastelmat a few years ago, it’s surface is velvety and does an amazing job of taking on layers upon layers of pastels. It also comes in a wide range of colors – I love using a darker surface with the PanPastels. I also find it holds the pastel so well that I don’t have to use a fixative on my finished pieces – which always seems to mess with the pastel surface anyway! There are certain times when I want a little texture to my pastel pieces though so I’ll use Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper but definitely doesn’t give you the same effect!

Pieces completed on Pastelmat with PanPastels, pastel pencils & Nupastels

Pieces completed on Canson Mi-Teintes

Some additional pastel pieces!