The Art of Choosing the Right Art Papers: A Guide to Sketch, Watercolor, and Acrylic Papers

Picture this: You create a piece of art today, and two decades from now, it still looks just as vibrant and stunning as the day you made it. No fading, no smudging, no smearing — it's like it's frozen in time. How did you achieve such a feat? The answer lies in the type of art paper you used.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the various types of art papers available to you and help you select the one that best suits your needs. By choosing high-quality paper, you can significantly enhance your artwork's longevity and visual appeal.

So, let's get started and explore the world of art papers together.


A sketch paper is designed for sketching, drawing, and doodling. It is typically heavier than regular paper, providing a sturdy surface for pencil, charcoal, ink, and other dry media. Sketch paper has various sizes and textures to suit different preferences and needs.

Different types of sketch/drawing paper exist. The best one for your media will depend on your dry materials; medium-weight papers (around 80 pounds) with a light texture and ivory or bright white color are the most popular choices.


Pencil - Thin paper, like 20-pound copy paper, works fine for a doodle or sketch, but for drawings requiring a lot of shading, blending, and excessive erasing, choose heavier paper above 80 pounds.
Colored Pencil - Pages with a slight texture are best for colored pencils, as the overly smooth paper makes it hard to get a consistent color.
Charcoal and Dry Pastel - Select a toothy paper above 100 pounds, as charcoal and dry pastels require a lot of erasing.
Oil Pastel - Oil pastels work well on smooth paper and never fully dry, so thick paper up to 300 pounds is ideal for layering and blending colors.

To choose the right sketch paper, consider the type of media you'll be using, the size you need, and the texture you prefer. If you use graphite or charcoal, look for paper with a toothy surface that will hold the material well. If you prefer pen and ink, a smooth surface is ideal. Consider the weight of the paper, too; heavier paper is more durable.


Watercolor paper is excellent for painting with watercolors, but it can also be used for other mediums like acrylics, pastels, and more. It has a unique texture that absorbs paint well, and makes colors look bright and beautiful.

  • What are the different types of Watercolor paper?
  • Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper: This paper has a smooth surface and is suitable for detailed work like pen and ink, but not great for wet-on-wet painting or glazing.
  • Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper: This paper has a slightly textured surface that gives paintings a velvety look, but it could be better for dry brush techniques or glazing.
  • Rough Watercolor Paper: This paper has a very textured surface that's good for wet-on-wet painting and dry brushing, but it could be better for scraping out rocks or removing unwanted paint. It's also suitable for glazing.

How to choose the right Watercolor paper?

To choose the right watercolor paper, consider the type of watercolor technique you plan to use. A cold-pressed is a good choice if you're looking for versatility. A hot-pressed paper is a way to go if you're focused on detail work. For a more textured and organic look, consider a rough paper.


Acrylic Painting Paper is designed with a textured surface that mimics the tooth and drag of stretched canvas. This paper maximizes the performance and durability of acrylic paint.

  • When choosing the right acrylic pad, consider the following factors:
  • Surface texture: Look for a surface texture paper that complements your painting style and technique.
  • Thickness: Consider the thickness of the paper, as thicker papers can handle more layers of paint and are less likely to buckle or warp.
  • Size: Choose a size that suits your painting style and project requirements.
  • Quality: Invest in the high-quality paper as it will result in better-looking and long-lasting artwork.

By considering these factors, you can select the right acrylic paper that will suit your needs and help you create stunning works of art.

Now that you know about the different types of art papers for various mediums, your artwork will last many years.