Sizing is the process of adding water-soluble gelatin or starch to the paper when the paper is being made. The amount of sizing used determines how absorbent the paper is. Sizing in the paper controls how water, and other media penetrate the surface; the more sizing added to the paper, the less absorbent it is.
Texture The more texture a paper has, the more it affects outcome of the technique. The texture of the surface substrate is a determining factor when working with different media and a personal choice. Choice depends on whether you want the substrate to be smooth or rough. Drawing papers are generally smooth papers
Archival is a durable acid-free paper that is also PH balanced. Papers with wood pulp contain acids which yellow and discolor, while papers designed to last longer will be marked acid free, archival or age resistant and are made from 100% cotton.
There are many different kinds of papers to choose from and require experimentation to gain knowledge. Here’s a short list to get you started.
Acrylic Painting Papers are an inexpensive solution for acrylic painting. Acrylic paper should be heavy weight to prevent warping, have a textured surface to assure adhesion, and have sizing to prevent absorption. The medium must adhere to the surface, but not be absorbed into the substrate. Use it for practice works, instruction, studies, and sketches. If longevity must be measured in generations, and not years, stretched canvas or hardboard panels would be more stable options.
Charcoal Papers are any light colored papers with a slight tooth or texture. Charcoal papers can be used as well with pastels, pencils, and other drawing media where a textured surface is desirable.
Bamboo Paper is ideal for all types of printing techniques, including offset, engraving, foil stamping, embossing, and letterpress. Bamboo’s luxurious finish and unique surface is also great for watercolors, acrylics, and pastels, as well as for sketching and drawing with charcoal. Bamboo Paper is made from 90% bamboo and 10% cotton.
Boards- art boards, illustration boards, Bristol boards, multi-media boards and specialty boards are boards with different types of surfaces, chosen according to the media. Bristol Board has two working surfaces, front and back. The better quality Bristol boards are archival. Illustration Board is only finished on one surface and is intended as a surface for creating artwork that will reproduce onto other mediums. Art boards are a fine art paper mounted on an acid-free museum board, ready for framing or mounting.
Drawing and Sketching, Sheets, Books and Rolls
Some sheets features two deckled edges and two distinct surfaces, one smooth and one slightly textured, providing exceptional versatility for printmaking, drawing, and multi-media expression.
Lutradur is a unique spun woven polyester material, similar to interfacing, which combines the strength of fabric with the body of paper. It doesn’t fray, has a slight sheen, translucent and can be painted, dyed, distressed with a soldering iron or heat gun, glued, or stitched. Its translucency adds interest to fine art, collage, rubbings, stamping, stitching, stencil making, layering, quilting, and more. It comes in a variety of different weights. Lutradur also accepts inkjet printing and image transfers.
Marker paper is for markers, pens, ink, and paper. It’s smooth, non-bleeding and translucent. It has an extremely smooth surface, the ideal finish for a medium in which sharp lines and transitions are needed. The paper is sized to resist absorption of color, to prevent lines from bleeding.
The unique feature of a good printmaking paper is its ability to take a soaking, to absorb a lot of ink, often with multiple runs through a press, without disintegrating or deforming. Use it for any printmaking application, drawing or mixed media techniques. Made in a mold of 100% cotton, it has a neutral pH, is chlorine free, internal and surface sized, and has 2 natural deckles, and 2 tear deckles. Select from Satin finish or Velvet finish. Aches have a long-standing line of quality papers. Rives is very popular, fine printmaking paper and has a smooth, absorbent surface.
Water Color Paper
There are three types of watercolor paper: rough, hot press, and cold press. Winsor-Newton, Arches, Frabriano, and Lanaquarelle are examples of excellent quality watercolor papers and can be purchased in sheets, blocks or pads.
Rough paper is rough textured surface with even more tooth than cold-pressed paper. Holds up to repeated applications of water and pigment removal. It is suited for dry brush and techniques that require texture. This makes correcting mistakes easier than with any other watercolor paper.
Cold press paper has a medium tooth texture, but not as deep as rough paper and the texture varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. It absorbs more water and media than hot-pressed paper. Liquefied pigment can be removed from these papers by “scrubbing” with water and a brush, blotting or sponging. It is strong enough to stand up to a fair amount of re-wetting and re-working. Choose this paper if you want a reliable general all-purpose paper that will suit most techniques and subject matter
Hot press is pressed with heat during manufacturing to give it a very smooth surface. It isn’t porous, which causes resistance to media, but is excellent for detailed paintings with crisp sharp edges.
Watercolor paper comes in 90, 140, and 300 lb. weight. The weight of a watercolor paper describes its thickness.
90-lb. paper is the lightest and is good general lighter works such as book pages. It buckles when wet so must be stretched or taped to a surface for working.
140-lb. paper is heavy enough for stand-alone media work and various acrylic media for mixed-media work. 140 lb. paper is a good choice for a beginner.
Heavy and strong, 300-lb. paper is great for a base for collage work.
Tearing a Sheet of Water Color Paper
Cutting is always an option but if you want lovely torn edges, Try this technique. Take a ruler and place where you want the torn edge, Crease slightly by bending the paper over the ruler. Next, use a water soaked brush and ‘paint’ along the ruler crease. Do this several times until the water to absorbs. Pull the paper toward yourself for a beautiful torn edge.
Decorative and Handmade Papers
Chinese Ritual Papers or Gold Money Papers
The first mock money was probably made in imitation of round metal coins pierced with square holes for stringing. There are three types of gold money paper. In all cases the gold is intended for the deities, whereas the silver is burned for the deceased. These plain gold papers come in many sizes and vary in appearance and name. The importance of the divinity determines the size and decoration. The more important the god the bigger the paper.
Lace Papers can be made from a variety of different materials, but the main feature of this paper is its openness. Made by using heavier fibers or by spraying water through the pulp, holes are created in the paper making it have a lace-like quality. These papers are commonly used in card making and collage applications.
Mango and Banana Paper
Laced with inclusions, these Banana and Mango Papers are a beautiful and durable addition to your paper collection; ideal for collage, book arts, card making, decoupage, origami, stamping, scrapbooking. They are also an environmentally conscious paper. Banana trees and Mango bushes produce fruit only once a year and are then cut down, leaving abundant waste or by-product. Recycling the fiber from this by-product, into paper, helps to prevent the eco-system’s rivers and forests from becoming polluted with waste.
Marble Papers can either be mold made or handmade. After it has dried, the paper is marbleized with paint on the surface or with different colored pulps that are mixed to form the paper itself. Each sheet is different due to the hand made process. These papers are generally used for card making, collage, or bookmaking.
Nepalese Papers, sometimes called Lotka papers, are made from the interior bark of the Lokta bush. Once these handmade papers are dried, they are then dyed, marbled, or screenprinted. The long fibers of the Lokta bush make for a strong paper that is resilient to deterioration, pests or insects, and water.
This paper is extra smooth and very translucent. It’s resistant to scratching and erasing so it might not be viable for mixed media is those are the techniques you use. It’s a beautiful paper though for tracing, design, penned calligraphy and even drafting.
Japanese Printmaking Papers are like no other papers in the world. Often, they are handmade under centuries-old traditions, using the finest-quality fibers from plants found only in the Far East.
Japanese papers are prized for lino and wood block printing, sumi painting, brush calligraphy, bookbinding, interleaving, and flyleaf and end leaf applications, as well as for many decorative purposes.
Kozo Kochi Paper
Made primarily of Kozo fiber, Kochi is a durable paper that's known for fiber length, strength, and fineness. Kochi features excellent shape retention when dry, ideal for woodblock printing as well as wet processes such as stone and fish rubbing. Handmade with a deckle edge, it's a heavier 34 lb paper with no sizing and good absorbency.
Deep, rich earthtones in a variety of solids and patterns are the allure of Lokta Papers from Nepal. Strong and durable. Handmade by village artisans of Nepal's rural and urban areas. Eco friendly resource from the fiber of the "Nepal paper plant" or Lokta bush.
Mulberry paper is made in many different varieties including: lightweight (Unryu Paper), text weight (smooth mulberry paper), heavy weight (Kozo Paper) and even hand-marbled varieties. Mulberry Paper is handmade from the inner fiber of the mulberry to produce an exceptionally pure, translucent paper, used by paper and painting conservators in repair and lamination. It is very strong, despite its lightweight. Having a neutral pH, these papers also make wonderful art papers for all projects.
Masa is machine made in Japan of sulphite pulp, is versatile and very reasonably priced, a strong paper with an even formation. It’s great for drawing applications as well all kinds of watermedia, digital imaging, silkscreen, woodcut, linocut, letterpress and collage. Masa rice paper is thin but is also extremely tough because of its interlocking fibers. These fibers give this unique fine art paper one smooth side and one textured side with no deckle.
The Yasutomo Sumi-e fine art paper is ideal for practicing your oriental painting and brush strokes. This Unryu rice paper is suitable for painting, ink or drawing. Each sheet of this Asian paper is thin and absorbent, so it is best if you remove a sheet from the pad before you begin painting. This paper is available in either a pad or a roll.
Commonly referred to as lightweight mulberry paper or rice paper. Meaning "cloud dragon paper" in Japanese, unryu is characteristic of paper containing strands of fiber that are added to the sheet to create contrast and texture. Light filters through this beautiful, translucent paper, displaying each swirling fiber. Tear the paper in any shape you desire to create a soft, feathered edge.
Care must be taken when it is wet with media as the paper will shred or tear.
Japanese Washi Paper
The term Washi means Japanese paper. Washi is fine paper made from fibers of the gampi tree, the misumata shrub, the mulberry bush, bamboo, hemp, rice and other materials. Washi paper is stronger than most ordinary paper providing a great base to use in arts, crafts and everyday writing. The fibers, bark, flower petals and other inclusions provide great texture and character to these washi papers.
Chiyogami (Yuzen) Paper
Striking and intense color patterns with gold overlay are silkscreened by hand on our Japanese Chiyogami Paper, also known as Yuzen Washi Paper. The durability and strength of Yuzen Washi Paper is superb. Chiyogami Paper starts as a base sheet of high content Kozo. Each color is then silkscreened by hand onto the paper requiring considerable time as each color must fully dry before the next color is applied. A final layer of sparkling gold outlines the patterns, accentuating the regal beauty of the paper.
Note- Often you can buy an assortment of different papers. This is a great way to become acquainted with several different types. Explore and have fun.
There are many places to search for papers and information on line. Here are a few suggestions.
Dick Blick has lots of papers with great information http://www.dickblick.com/categories/papers/
The Japanese Paper Place “we have a warehouse full of machine made and decorative Japanese papers which we ship around the world, our particular passion is for sharing traditional Japanese handmade papers with the world while they are still being made.”