Who knew there were so many varieties of something as simple as paper? Artists, that's who! It's time for another trip to your local artist's supply store—this time, to explore the wonders of paper.
Try Your Hand
You can use charcoal to create a mid-tone, also called a ground tone, on a sheet of paper by applying it evenly across the entire surface. You can then make darker tones by adding charcoal, and make lighter tones by erasing out the ground tone.
Watercolor paper is the stuff that dreams are made of. It's smooth, heavy, resilient, able to stand up to almost anything including a bath and a scrub out if necessary—it's well worth the investment you'll make in it. Watercolor paper comes in varying thicknesses, from 90 lb. to 140 lb. to mega-heavy 300 lb. The surfaces are hot press (smooth), cold press (rather a pebbled surface), and rough (very).
You can buy watercolor paper in blocks, pads, or individual sheets. Take care in cutting down the full sheets. They should be carefully folded and the folded edge creased until you can tear at the fold, leaving a soft torn edge.
Etching or print paper follows rather the same in kinds as wa-tercolor paper and is another lovely surface, although somewhat softer and more fragile.
Charcoal and pastel papers come in pads or sheets. Both types come in tones and colors, which can be seen as the mid-tone in shaded drawings.
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