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3 Best Papers for Colored Pencils to Elevate Your Artwork

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Ever feel like your colored pencil art just isn't popping the way you want it to?

You're not alone. A lot of artists struggle to find the right paper that truly brings out the vibrancy and detail in their work.

It's frustrating, right? You spend hours on a piece, only to feel like something's missing.

I've been there too. After experimenting with countless types of paper, I discovered the game-changer.

There are specific papers out there that can make your colored pencil artwork shine.

Curious? Stay tuned for the top three papers that will transform your art.

Strathmore Colored Pencil Spiral Paper Pad 9X12-30 Sheets -62477900

strathmore colored pencil pad

For those seeking a versatile and artist-friendly paper pad for colored pencil work, the Strathmore Colored Pencil Spiral Paper Pad 9X12-30 Sheets -62477900 is an excellent choice. With a smooth finish and durable surface, this pad is perfect for colored pencil, graphite, charcoal, and sketching sticks. The micro-perforated wire-bound sheets allow for easy removal of your artwork. Users praise its ability to blend and layer colors seamlessly, making it suitable for both beginners and professionals. While not recommended for use with solvents, this pad provides a clean white surface for various techniques. Made in the USA and acid-free, it's ideal for artists looking to practice and improve their skills. Get your hands on this pad to elevate your colored pencil artwork today.

Best For: Artists of all skill levels looking for a versatile and high-quality paper pad for colored pencil work.


  • Smooth and durable surface for blending and layering colors effectively.
  • Micro-perforated wire-bound sheets for easy removal of artwork.
  • Ideal for practice and skill improvement for both beginners and professionals.


  • Not recommended for use with solvents.

Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad, Toned Tan, 9×12 inch (50 Sheets)

toned tan sketch pad

With its versatile nature and suitability for various art mediums, the Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad in Toned Tan, 9×12 inch size, is an exceptional choice for artists seeking high-quality paper for colored pencil work. The sketch pad contains 50 sheets of 80 lb paper, providing a sturdy surface for your creations. Its matte finish enhances colored pencil drawings, allowing for rich pigmentation and smooth blending. Artists appreciate the micro-perforated sheets, enabling easy removal for framing or sharing your artwork. The recycled material with post-consumer fiber aligns with eco-friendly practices.

Whether you're into figure drawing, illustration, or character design, this sketch pad is designed to meet your artistic needs with its ideal texture and color contrast.

Best For: Artists looking for a versatile sketch pad suitable for colored pencil work.


  • Sturdy 80 lb paper for a reliable drawing surface
  • Matte finish enhances colored pencil drawings with rich pigmentation and smooth blending
  • Micro-perforated sheets for easy removal and sharing of artwork


  • Some users may find the paper thickness to be a bit lacking for certain art mediums

Strathmore 300 Series Drawing Paper Pad, 9×12 inches, 25 Sheets

drawing paper pad purchase

Ideal for artists of all levels, the Strathmore 300 Series Drawing Paper Pad, sized at 9×12 inches and consisting of 25 sheets, offers a versatile medium weight option suitable for various colored pencil techniques. This medium weight student grade drawing paper, made in the USA, provides a medium surface finish that allows for good erasability, making it a great choice for experimentation and refining your colored pencil artwork. With an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from 40 ratings, this pad has been positively reviewed for its quality and versatility. Whether you're a beginner or a more experienced artist, the Strathmore 300 Series Drawing Paper Pad is designed to meet your artistic needs and elevate your colored pencil creations.

Best For: Artists looking for a versatile and quality drawing paper pad.


  • Medium weight suitable for various colored pencil techniques
  • Made in the USA
  • Medium surface finish for good erasability


  • Limited sheet count of 25

Factors to Consider When Choosing Paper for Colored Pencils

When choosing paper for your colored pencils, consider the texture for best results.

Enhance color vibrancy, check layering capabilities, and make sure it allows for easy erasing.

Also, think about how well the paper blends colors together for your desired effects.

Paper Texture Importance

Considering the importance of paper texture when selecting materials for colored pencil artwork, artists must carefully evaluate how different textures impact blending, layering, and final visual outcomes. The texture of the paper greatly influences how colored pencils adhere to the surface, affecting the application of pigment and color intensity. Textured papers offer more tooth, providing better grip for the colored pencil and enhancing color saturation.

Smooth papers are suitable for detailed work and precise lines, while rough textures can create unique effects and improve shading. Ultimately, the paper texture chosen can add depth, dimension, and character to the artwork, shaping its overall look and feel. Artists should select the paper texture that aligns with their desired outcome, artistic style, and preferred techniques.

Color Vibrancy Enhancement

To enhance the vibrancy of colors in your colored pencil artwork, consider selecting paper with a toned background like tan. Toned paper can greatly boost color vibrancy by providing a contrasting base that makes hues appear more vivid and luxurious.

The mid-tone background of toned paper also helps in accentuating highlights and shadows, giving your artwork a sense of depth and dimension. Additionally, using toned paper can introduce a unique aesthetic and mood to your colored pencil illustrations.

Layering Capability Check

To guarantee your colored pencil artwork reaches its full potential, selecting paper with the right layering capability is essential. Look for paper that allows you to apply multiple layers of colored pencil without becoming too waxy or resistant. The ideal paper should possess a smooth surface that can hold numerous layers of color without excessive smudging or blending.

Opt for paper specifically designed for colored pencils to ensure ideal layering capabilities. Papers with a slightly toothy or textured surface are beneficial as they help grip the colored pencil pigment, facilitating better layering. Avoid papers that are excessively thin or smooth, as they may not effectively hold multiple layers of colored pencil.

Choosing the right paper will enhance the depth and richness of your colored pencil artwork.

Erasability Consideration

When selecting paper for colored pencils, prioritize good erasability to allow for easy corrections and adjustments during your artwork. The surface texture and weight of the paper play a significant role in its erasability. Smooth papers tend to offer better erasability but may struggle with holding multiple colored pencil layers.

On the other hand, textured papers provide more grip for the pigment, enhancing color saturation but potentially reducing erasability. The erasability of the paper can greatly impact the final look of your colored pencil artwork. Hence, choosing the right paper that balances erasability with other factors is essential for achieving the desired effects in your creations.

Suitability for Blending

Consider the paper's surface texture and weight when choosing paper for colored pencils to guarantee the best blending results. A smooth surface is ideal for seamless color blending, allowing the pigments to mix and layer effectively.

In contrast, textured paper may pose challenges as it can hinder the smooth shift of colors. Opt for paper with good tooth if you aim for rich blending effects through layering colors.

The weight and thickness of the paper also play an important role in how colors blend together. To make sure excellent blending results, look for paper specifically designed for colored pencils.

Weight and Thickness

Considering the weight and thickness of paper is crucial when selecting the best paper for colored pencils to guarantee optimal blending and durability in your artwork. Paper weight typically ranges from 70lb to 100lb for colored pencil work, with heavier options being more preferable for layering and blending colors seamlessly.

Thicker paper with more weight helps prevent bleed-through and warping, providing a stable surface for intricate detailing and resisting damage from heavy applications. While lighter weight paper may be more cost-effective, it can be vulnerable to tearing and damage with intense coloring.

Opting for the right weight and thickness ensures your colored pencil artwork maintains its integrity, allowing you to create stunning pieces with longevity.

Special Surface Features

To enhance the vibrancy and depth of your colored pencil artwork, selecting paper with special surface features is key. The surface texture of the paper plays an important role in how the colored pencil pigment interacts with it. For instance, a toothy texture can grip more pigment, enabling better layering and blending techniques.

Conversely, smooth surfaces are perfect for intricate details and precise lines. If you aim to add dimension and interest to your artwork, textured papers can work wonders by creating depth in your colored pencil drawings. When choosing a paper, consider the effects you wish to achieve with your colored pencil work, as different surface features will impact the final look of your masterpiece.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Different Paper Textures Affect the Final Look of Colored Pencil Artwork?

When using colored pencils, various paper textures influence your final artwork. Smooth surfaces give crisp details, while rough textures create a more grainy appearance. Experiment with different papers to see how they enhance your colored pencil creations.

Are There Specific Techniques to Prevent Colored Pencil Smudging on Certain Types of Paper?

To prevent colored pencil smudging on certain types of paper, try using a fixative spray. It creates a protective layer over your artwork, keeping the colors vibrant and preventing smears. Simply spray a light coat and let it dry.

Can Colored Pencil Paper Be Used for Other Mediums Like Markers or Watercolors?

Yes, colored pencil paper can be versatile for other mediums like markers or watercolors. It offers a smooth surface that can work well for various techniques. Experiment to see how it enhances your artwork with different tools.

Is It Necessary to Use a Fixative Spray on Colored Pencil Artwork Done on Paper?

When using colored pencils on paper, it's not always necessary to use a fixative spray. However, if you want to guarantee the longevity of your artwork and prevent smudging, applying a fixative can be a good idea.

How Does the Weight or Thickness of Paper Impact the Blending Capabilities of Colored Pencils?

Thicker paper with higher weight absorbs less pigment, affecting blending. Opt for 80-100 lb paper for smoother blending with colored pencils. Experiment to find the perfect balance between paper thickness and blending capabilities in your artwork.