Artists have diverse types of art paper to choose from. These include super smooth surfaces and very rough and ‘toothy’ papers. Some papers are best with soft pencils, pastels, and charcoal, while others are better suited for watercolours. You will find no shortage of paper to work with, the hardest part is deciding which to use.
The texture of the surface is the primary concern for art papers. There are several factors that influence the texture of a paper.
- The fiber itself is most important. The diverse types of wood pulp, cellulose, and cotton will behave differently when made into paper.
- The volume of pulp per sheet will affect the weight and strength of the paper.
- The production process itself is also important. Papers are made with mold, machine, or hand processes. The amount of heat and pressure in the drying process changes the paper as well.
- Surface textures can be created by the mesh mold that paper sheets are made on, or applied by a roller to machine-made paper.
- The amount of ‘size’ – the binding glue, not the dimensions – in the paper and on the surface, will affect how well it holds water. It also determines how ‘toothy’ the surface is.