A friend of mine was asking about a good paper to use for pen and ink work. I started rambling on at him and he suggested that I blog it. So I have.

If you want crisp smooth lines where the ink sits on the paper, Bristol board is good (It’s not really board, you can buy it in pads.) I like the Goldline brand. I find Daler and Rowney can bleed a bit.

For more absorbancy and a bit of ‘tooth’ then I go for a Hot Pressed (smooth) watercolour paper.

My favourite paper is Arches Aquarelle – though it’s pricey for mucking around on. Saunders Waterford is OK. Or just good cartridge paper for playing.

My all-round paper of choice is Arches Aquarelle NOT. It’s halfway between smooth hot pressed and rough watercolour, so it takes washes really well but also holds a line. And it just feels bloody gorgeous when you get it out of the pack. I buy packs of half imperial size (a bit bigger than A3) from Ken Bromley. You can also buy it in blocks, which have taped edges to prevent the paper from buckling when washes are applied. They also have cool art nouveau covers so that you can pretend you’re living in belle epoch France and drinking absinth with Toulouse-Lautrec in the evenings.

arches-watercolor-blocks archesaquarelle

 

Ink-wise, for use with a dip-pen, good old windsor and newton is fine but it’s a bit cloggy. I like Dr Martin’s Bombay Black, and I’ve just discovered Speedball Super Black which is lush. I get it from Scribblers.

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Ooh, one last tip – I really like those Rotring Artpens (with the ‘sketch’ nib rather than the calligraphy type), but you can’t put waterproof ink through them as it clogs the barrel. Which is annoying if you want to paint over your black line. So I’ve got an old one, (which I previously ruined… by putting waterproof ink through it.) and I use it as a dip pen. Bingo!

artpen2

It’s all personal preference and experimenting really. And spending lots of time and money you haven’t got, sourcing arcane art supplies – which is of course, a lot easier than actually getting down to drawing.

 

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