What paper should I use for drawing with colored pencils?

Reader Question: I love your site and cannot wait to invest in color pencils to reignite my passion for sketching in a whole new way. My only question; what kind of paper or canvas do I use?


Thanks so much for your message! When shopping for good drawing paper for use with colored pencils, I would suggest looking for paper that is labeled archival and/or acid-free, because other papers will yellow with age. Also look for paper that is fairly strong and sturdy.

Canson Drawing Paper

You can choose to use white paper or colored paper - it's up to you. Depending on how much pressure you apply, the color of the paper will show through unless you press really hard or layer enough colored pencil to cover the paper. Some artists like having the color of the paper show through, so it's up to you. I'd suggest trying both white paper and colored paper and seeing which you prefer! It may even vary from drawing to drawing, depending on your subject matter.

I wrote a page about drawing papers for use with pen and ink, and many of those papers are valid for use with colored pencils also.

Colored pencil works well on printmaking paper also - which is nice and sturdy!

I've provided links below to the relevant products so that you can easily find them on Blick Art Materials, my favorite online art supplier. I'm a member of Blick's affiliate program, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I'll receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Your purchase helps support this site and keeps it free of ads. Click here for more info.

A good all-round paper for colored pencil drawings is Canson Mi-Teintes Drawing Paper. I also like hot-press (smooth) Arches Watercolor Paper if I want to use white paper, and Strathmore ArtAgain Paper if I want to use toned paper.

Hope that helps and best of luck with your drawings!!

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