Walk into any art store in search of paper and you could get lost in a sea of paper types, brands, textures weights, and the list goes on. Why are there so many types of paper? How should you choose paper for your project? Many factors come in play when choosing the correct paper for your work. Let us help demystify the paper choosing process for you.
First, let us give you some terms that you should always consider when choosing paper for each project. You certainly want your artwork to last many, many years without deteriorating. Make sure you pick a paper that is acid free, as this is a very important factor. Paper that is not acid free can deteriorate, or turn yellow, which would affect the image over time. Paper that is acid free is buffered with calcium carbonate which neutralizes acid that is absorbed from the air, or through natural aging processes. All of our fine art papers with the exception of Newsprint is acid free. Newsprint is a very low cost paper intended only for practicing.
Depending on the project at hand and the medium you will be using, you need to think of several other factors.
Surface texture would come into play, especially if you plan to work in many layers. Once the surface tooth of the paper is filled, it is hard to layer any other colors on the surface. Picking a paper with the correct tooth or texture would help with that process.
Another factor to consider is the weight of the paper. A heavier weight paper can handle more layers, water, and techniques than a lighter weight paper. The weight of the paper is not determined by the individual sheet but is determined by a ream of 500 sheets weighed together at the factory.
You should also check that the paper is correctly sized for the medium that you are working in, and find out if it is internally, externally, or internally and externally sized. Paper is sized, canvas and board are prepared with gesso. Though people do sometimes gesso paper to work in heavier mediums, we generally recommend that the artist works with a paper that is correctly sized for their project. This means you do not need to gesso it if you use the correct paper labeled for the medium you choose.
To go into further detail about mediums, lets consider the type of paper you would use with each medium. This is one of the most important factors you should consider when choosing paper. Manufacturers produce paper to work successfully with different mediums to ensure the longevity of your work. Choosing paper by their recommendations is always best. Below you will find a list of paper types that we manufacture, and the mediums we recommend that you can use with them. We included some artists that you might want to research that used the paper, or mediums with similar paper.