Color of the paper

Hi there
As a beginner at drawing, I often struggle :worried: with the question: “Which colour of the papier will be the best for my drawing?”. My references are black & white photographs and my mediums are pencil, charcoal or ink (nib pens or technical drawing pens).
:thinking: What helps you to decide which paper color (white, black or gray) would be the best basis for your next drawing? What your looking for in particular? For example: A picture that shows the see, waves, cloudy sky and a huge cliff at one side. Because the cliff is so dominant you would draw on black paper? I am often a bit overwhelmed by all these different tones (white, grey, middlegrey, black etc.).

Thanks for any help or advice. :blush:

Hi Martina,

For me, it is all a matter of intended mood. I think that there isn’t any right answer. You may want to let your original photograph dictate the choice of paper color. You may even consider colored paper (blues, greens, tan, etc.) You may be surprised at the intensity the colored paper will give to your charcoal, ink or pencil drawing.

Hi Patricia
Many thanks. I think this intended mood does still confuse me in my choice. But it might also be a lack of drawing experience. Since at the beginning I am so busy with so many choices to do: paper color, form, shapes and value. On one hand the techniques and on the other hand this emotional part (“intended mood”). I see: practice, practice, practice :grinning:

If you are using charcoal (with white charcoal) it is best to use grey. Matt has quite a few lessons working with charcoal on grey paper. I would always use white paper for pen and ink. (unless you are using white ink). Black paper is best for colored media or white charcoal alone. For pencil I always use white unless white charcoal is involved. Try things out for yourself. Trial and error will help the most. As you keep practicing your problems will melt away. . . And then you will find new problems. . . :smiley: oh well. . . It’s worth the trouble. Anyways, art would be boring if it was all perfect and easy. Hope this helped

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Thank you, Peter, so much for your advice. I have still found some of the lessons of Matt (charcoal on grey paper) in the previous months with charcoal. They are great.

They really are great.