Paper for Color Pencil Drawings

What paper can I use for color pencil drawings?

Textured papers are usually preferred for colored pencil drawing as a course texture provides you with greater control of the intensity and layering of the color. However, with textured paper heavier applications of colored pencils are necessary to build up the colour. The texture or tooth of paper affects the behaviour of colour pencil medium. They are a good option if you require texture in your drawing.


Tip: Textured papers are effective for landscape drawings.


The smoother the paper means less color pencil is required and it’s easier to apply multiple techniques on this type of paper.


Tip: Smooth papers are useful for portrait and some animal drawings.

What about toned papers?

Toned papers allow you to make comparisons of the values as they are applied to the surface. The tonality of the paper will also play a role in the perceived overall tonality of the completed image.


Tip: If you use a textured paper that is also toned, with colored pencils, some of the paper color may be visible when the drawing is complete.


Paper recommendations

1. Heavyweight Cartridge Pad 200GSM: 

Excellent for drawing with pencils, charcoal and marker pens

2. Hahnemuhle, Bristol Board, 310gsm: 

This is an ideal surface for drafts, studies, illustrations, drawings and prints.

3. Bristol Strathmore Smooth Paper: 

Great for portrait since it’s smooth. Some of the other versions of this brand say ‘smooth’ but the paper has some texture.

4. Fabriano, Accademia Drawing, 200gsm, Acid Free

5. Daler Rowney, Murano, Pastel Paper, 50x65cm, Soft White

6. Strathmore Toned Gray: 

This sketchpad sketch paper is ideal for light and dark media including graphite, chalk, charcoal, sketching sticks, markers, color pencils, pens, and white gel pens. They are 100% recycled and available in tan and cool gray.

7. Black smooth paper

Tip: Learn more about Color Pencil Drawing by completing my other free color pencil tutorials and taking my Masterclass of Drawing, Design and Creativity with Color Pencil and Pastel.

Scroll to Top