Skip to main content

How To Choose Drawing Paper

The right drawing paper is an important supply for any artist and depends on what medium you will be using.


  • Step 1: Choose the right tooth, or roughness, of paper for the medium you are using. The rougher the paper, the easier the medium you are using will stick. Choose a rougher tooth for chalk or colored pencil.
  • Step 2: Experiment with different papers and media to create your masterpiece.
  • FACT: Did you know? In 2006, Pablo Picasso's daughter determined that a drawing that sold for $40,000 that was attributed to her father was actually a fake.
  • Step 3: Choose a specialized paper that is right for your pastel, charcoal, pen, ink, graphite, or watercolor project. Contact paper companies for samples that they suggest for your medium.
  • TIP: Paper with higher cotton rag content lasts longer. One hundred percent cotton paper can last over 100 years.
  • Step 4: Use thin paper such as copier paper for practicing while using a higher quality, heavier paper, such as Bristol paper, for a final project.
  • TIP: If no weight is listed on the cover, the paper quality is low.
  • Step 5: Choose between cellulose, cotton, or combination paper. Cellulose paper contains acid, which shortens its shelf life. Cotton paper is 100 percent cotton and combination paper has some percentage of cotton rag content.
  • Step 6: Look at the weight of the paper, in pounds, listed on the cover of the pad to determine the quality of the paper. The heavier the paper, the better the quality.

Popular Categories