I would like to paint or draw something on paper, like small postcards or gift tags. I don’t draw or paint, so a complete beginner here. Can someone advise what type of paper is the best to use? And what can I use to draw / paint that would not come off?
Back when I was doing my art gcse I used a 135gsm weight sketch pad (from wh smiths I think) - heavy enough to cope with water colours, pen and ink, pencil, pastels etc but probably not oils. It would need sticking on to something if you wanted it to act as a tag as it wouldn’t be stiff enough on its own.
Water colours, pen and ink shouldn’t come off when dry (the trick is not accidentally smudging them whilst they are wet and the drying time could vary depending on the finish of the paper/ card stock you decide to use) as for all of the next generation pencils/ felt tip pens etc that have come about because of the adult colouring craze I couldn’t possibly comment having never tried them but I’m sure you could have fun trying some of them out. Chalk pastels smudged like mad (which was half the fun) and I remember ‘fixing’ them with hair spray afterwards to reduce the amount that came off.
The type of paper you use depends on the medium you are using on it! Coloured artists inks are usually permanent (but check on the bottle first as some are water soluable) and so are the draftsmans’ pens that architects etc. use (I use mitsubshi Unipens). These are disposable pigment ink pens, water and fade proof that come with integral nibs in different thicknesses (a bit like felt tips but finer). 0.5 mm gives a medium thickness line, 0.8 a thick line and 0.3 a fine line but there are thicknesses in between. Beginners should avoid thinner nibs than 0.3 mm because the line can look shaky or spidery if not used with confidence.
For inks, you need a thickish paper with a hard, smooth (not textured) surface. Many pen and ink artists like to use Bristol Board, but that might be too thick for the projects you are working on. Watercolour paper probably has too much texture, but your stationer will be able to point you in the right direction here.
Before you start writing or drawing I would advise you to do a warm up, just as you would if exercising. Practice drawing straight, curved and free-form lines, hashing and dots until you are confident you can produce the line you want in the finished project. You can us light pencil guidelines and ink over them and rub the lines out with a soft rubber after the ink is thoroughly dry. Use an HB pencil for this because too hard a graphite and you might leave a dent in the paper, too soft and the graphite will smudge when you rub it out.
That’s all I can think of but if you want to get into drawing “The Complete Book of Drawing” by Barrington Barber is a good textbook.
Love Sam x
Hi, I like to use Pro markers (Letraset) which are alcohol ink pens, for colouring in my rubber stamped images. Smooth white card made for stamping is the the best thing to use. It will bleed through to the back of the card, so you’d have to back it with something.
You can also get water-colour type pens, docrafts have reasonably priced pens, they’re called Artiste. They work really well if you scribble your colours onto a smooth surface, maybe an old plate and pick up the colour with a blending pen like this one
Thank you for your responses and ideas!
I think I’m leaning towards something like pen / pencil and drawing. The other means sound a bit complicating…I could manage with practice but I get busy with knitting so it’s best to go with something simpler for now.
I suppose I should find what paper I want to use first and then go to a shop and ask. Maybe they let you try some pens / pencils…
As an artist I always use 300 gsm watercolour paper. You can get this in art shops or places like Hobbycraft.
This paper is suitable for watercolours, acrylics, oils and most of the marker pens…although you have to be careful with some of the pens as they can soak through to the back of the paper.
You could try joining the many artists that draw or paint aceos. (art cards, editions and originals) These are tiny works of art (anything goes) but they MUST measure 2.5" x 3.5" and they are collected all over the world. I have sold over 3000 of them since 2006. You can go to my shop and look at mine click the aceo collection to get an idea. You can do cartoons, or even splosh the paint on and do something abstract…go for it.
I second Brenda’s advise - if you’re going for any waterbased medium use at least 300gsm (140lb) watercolour paper with a quality sizing (the stuff the manufacturers use to coat the paper). Avoid the cheap Crawford brand, it’s awful, paints soak straight in and look flat and dull. WHS isn’t great either in my opinion. Anything less than 300gsm will cockle and need stretching prior to use, which is far too much hassle.
Anything with oil in it will need a paper specific to oil painting, it’s sized with something that stops the oils soaking through to the back of the paper.
Pen/pencil/coloured pencil doesn’t need so be quite to thick unless you are planning to blend with alcohol or any other liquid medium. I’m not a coloured pencil artist so can’t advise you there.
Do give ACEO’s a go, they are such fun and fairly quick to produce too! I’ve sold hundreds since Brenda introduced me to them a couple of years ago.
If you have a Cass Art near you, they have a try-it-out table and if you ask to try something specific they’ll often (but not always) have one from that range available. You could give them a call in advance just in case they don’t have what ever you want to try open already. My other local art shop (Rennies, Liverpool) will open pens for you to try in store.
The SAA (Society for All Artists) have a very generous no quibbles returns policy, you just have to pay the return postage if you don’t like what you’ve bought. You can even return the item after you’ve tried it.
Thank so much for your input!
I bought 2 pencils that I was told they will not smudge. I’m going to try a few things out…
The ACEO sound very exciting too…maybe much later…