Art Paper and Its Types


What do you know about paper? You can laugh at this question as much as you like, but in reality, if you think about it, you do not know much. For the most part, we can talk about some well-known facts, such as that paper is made of wood, etc. In fact, there is so much information about this material that one article is definitely not enough for its full coverage. So today we just start talking about a few specific types.

So, let us start.

Paper is a fibrous material with mineral additives, in the form of sheets for writing, drawing, packaging. By definition, paper is a porous-capillary planar non-naturally created material that is accessible to penetration of air, moisture and paints. When soaking in water, ordinary types of paper lose their mechanical strength, when imbued with kerosene or oils, the strength of paper does not change. This assures us that cellulose fibers in paper are joined together mainly by hydrogen bonds.

Properties of paper depend on the composition, nature of vegetable fibers, nature of their processing, content of the filler, the sizing, and technology of casting and finishing, so that paper manages different properties.

You can imagine the number of types that can be obtained by changing and combining the above parameters.

Types of art paper:

  1. Water color
  2. Drawing
  3. Pastel
  4. Printed
  5. Decorative

This is only the beginning of our research path, but this is sufficient for a primary understanding. Now let us talk about each form separately.

Watercolor Paper

When young artists are interested in types of art paper for gouache, pastel or other fine art tools, they often receive a response in the form of a recommendation of watercolor paper. What is it and why is it offered most often?

It is really universal. It can have very different density.

Since watercolor is "wet" paint, paper must withstand high humidity, must not warp and spoil a picture. On good paper, paint does not spread, all colors go smoothly.

It is produced from cellulose, cotton and flax. It is believed that the properties of cotton paper are better, because it contributes to that, when wet, paper keeps the form, but it has a flaw: dimming colors.

This paper can be divided by the degree of moisture absorption. It depends on the internal and surface sizing of paper during its production. Strongly glued paper actually repels paint from itself. But it also happens that paper does not contain any glue substances at all, in this case, it instantly inscribes applied paint.

In the production process, paper usually undergoes a pressing step, hot or cold. Depending on this, certain properties are manifested. For example: hot pressing paper allows you to convey a pronounced effect of a fuzzy smear, and cold-pressed paper – fluidity of paint.

Drawing Paper

It usually has a fine and medium grain. It can be divided into 2 main types:

  • Drafting
  • Tracing

Drawing paper (whatman) – it is white high-grade smooth paper with a density of 150-200 g/m².

Tracing one is thin transparent paper used in drafting. It is usually made of sulfate bleached cellulose with the addition of some woody materials, rag and cotton half-mass without filler or with a small content of it and is well glued. Density of tracing paper is from 20 to 200 g/m².

It is produced in two forms:

  • for ink – very smooth glossy paper;
  • for a pencil – matt transparent paper, a little rough.

Pastel Paper

It is dense and textured. It is used for work with soft graphic materials, such as pastel, sauce, sepia sanguine. It is made from 100% cellulose or with the addition of cotton fiber. The density of paper can be different. In contrast to others, it is tinted because the technique of pastel drawing does not imply a complete painting of a sheet. Dry pastel should not fall from a picture: smooth glossy paper, which is so pleasing to children, is not suitable for pastel.

If watercolor paper should be white, then for pastel, on the contrary, many kinds of art colored paper are produced. Also, it can differ from the watercolor one by size. It is often used for small works, so you can find it in small format.

Printed Paper

Here we include such types:

  • paper for etching;
  • coated paper.

Surely now you are surprised by an abundance of unfamiliar words. However, in reality, nothing is complicated.

Paper for etching is made of cotton. Its density is from 250 to 300 g/m². It is also used in the techniques of printing and lithography. This paper is similar to watercolor, but has a small grain.

It is characterized by the softness of the surface, which should be easily deformed and tightly pressed against the mold, absorb printing ink well and not crumple when moistened with water. Absence of strongly pronounced granularity makes it possible to obtain the maximum contact of a sheet with the printing form at the minimum pressure. When the structure is loose, printed paper must retain its strength when wet. On such paper, it is impossible to work with hard pencils and apply a hard rubber band. The grain is easily deformed by the point of a pencil, and strokes form embedded lines. But such plasticity can be used for relief colorless embossing.

Coated paper is used for the production of glossy magazines, presentation catalogs, booklets and other things, for which brightness of colors and pleasing appearance are important. During the coating process, paper surface becomes smoother.

Decorative and Designer Paper

The first one has a painted, smooth surface or surface that mimics different materials, such as marble or leather. This can be used for a variety of purposes, in particular, for packaging gifts.

The second one is material, in which the texture is changed by means of mechanical embossing. It has a variety of textures and is used for decorating and printing advertising, art publications.

Are you tired? This is only the beginning of our research and the most basic data on the types of paper. Read more detailed research in the following articles.

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