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Pads, Paper, Board & Notebooks

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Is there anything more satisfying than a brand new clean pad to start drawing on? We don’t think there is. We have an extensive collection of papers and pads, meaning you’ll never be stuck for choice in finding the best materials for your needs. Not only do our products offer excellent quality, but we also sell them at the best price. Our collection ranges from everything from sketchbooks and tracing paper to coloured cards and boards. Whatever your chosen medium, there’s plenty of choice at Cowling and Wilcox. Regardless of whether you’re working with pencil, marker pens, watercolour, oils or acrylics, we have the paper, boards and notebooks for you. We even have a fantastic array of foam and mount boards for all of your presentation needs, and all of our products offer a durable surface for you to work with, and with such a good price tag, tearing out a page to start again is affordable!

What paper do artists use?

It goes without saying that different artists will use different types of paper depending on their medium and style. Different paper has different textures which make it better for different fine art mediums. It also comes in different forms, with paper rolls and paper pads readily available, as well as different colours and textures.

It can seem simple, but the type of paper is an important decision in any artist’s process. It’s important, especially if you’re a beginner artist, to experiment with different types of paper and different art tools. This is the best way to find your favourite way of creating and, in turn, to create your best work.

What types of artist paper are there?

With so many types of fine art paper on the market, it can be daunting to know which to opt for. There are some factors that you should bear in mind when choosing your paper. 

  • Weight - Different types of artist paper can have different weights, which are listed in pounds (lbs) or grammes per square metre (gsm). A range of 120gsm to 850gsm can be expected for most fine artist paper with a general rule of the heavier the paper, the thicker it is. Heavier paper can cope with more mark making and erasing, meaning that heavier weight paper (around 300gsm) is popular as drawing paper. 

  • Grain - Fine art paper will have grain to the paper, which is created as the paper is made. Paper can be short or long grain, referring to whether the fibres are horizontal or vertical on the pages. 

  • Tooth - The term ‘tooth’ is often used to describe the surface of the paper. The more tooth the paper has, the rougher the surface’s texture is, which is preferable for mediums like charcoal or pastels. Smoother papers are available for people looking for a smoother surface for their art.

  • Hot/Cold pressed - Cold pressed paper is popular among watercolour or drawing artists. When the paper is made, it is pressed a second time to flatten the texture a little, meaning that there is a little ‘interest’ in the surface but not huge amounts. Hot pressed paper is pressed again with a hot cylinder, meaning that it has a smoother and finer grain surface. For people who love finer detail, hot pressed paper is perfect.

What type of paper pad should I buy?

  • Drawing pads and sketchbooks: Art paper for drawing is typically thicker than normal cartridge paper to allow for more work with tools and erasers. The Daler-Rowney Fine Grain Drawing Pad is perfect for graphite and coloured pencils as well as charcoal. Artist sketch pads are good for keeping all your sketches in one place.

  • Watercolour paper: Artists using watercolours usually opt for a paper with a little texture, usually cold-pressed paper. With pads like the Faber-Castell Watercolour Pad, you can easily use watercolour paints or pencils to create your art.

  • Pastel paper pads: For mediums like pastels and charcoal, artists tend to use artist paper pads with more texture to create interesting effects with the softer medium. At Cowling & Wilcox, we offer many pastel paper pads, including a range of textures and colours.

  • Acrylic paper: As acrylics are heavier than watercolour or pencil drawings, artist acrylic paper is typically of higher weight. A range of textures is offered to allow you to create your desired finish. 

  • Mixed Media paper: To withstand a variety of mediums, mixed media paper is normally of higher durability for a range of wet and dry techniques. These are suitable for a variety of media and drawing techniques.

  • Tracing Paper: For more technical uses or to create detailed and identical pieces of artwork, layout paper or tracing paper is an excellent choice. With this Daler-Rowney Layout Paper, you won’t have to compromise on price for quality paper.

Cowling & Wilcox also offer a range of sizes of each type of paper, allowing you to create large or small drawings or paintings or to create postcards or greetings cards. We also provide a range of craft papers, such as coloured card, crepe paper and artist tracing paper, to ensure you have everything you need while creating. 

What is the best artist paper?

Here are Cowling & Wilcox, we stock a range of different brands to provide you with a range of different types of paper. Paper will differ from brand to brand regardless of the weight and texture listed, so experimenting with different brands is key to finding your ideal painting or drawing surface. Below are some of the professional art paper brands we stock: