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Lyre 07-06-2010 10:32 PM

Paper... and pencils.
You would assume this is a simple thing to acquire! But no! I have absolutely no idea what kind of paper or graphite pencils I should use. I've always just used what is on hand.

I would really love to at least complete one or two traditional drawings before the end of the year... it's been such a long time! So I figured a nice way to get back into it would be to buy myself some new supplies.

At the moment I have a Monte Marle set of 10 graphite pencils... they came in a tin, are several years old, about 4 are missing, and pretty beaten up. I'm not sure they're exactly quality.

And I have... no paper. Well, I have sketch pads, but they're very textured/toothed and I don't think would be suitable for final pieces.

So I'm just going to ask you guys: any graphite pencils to suggest? And more important, paper. I'm looking for smooth but high quality/thick paper because I love to work in detail. Also, how readily available is the paper? Where can I find it?

Thank you!

Kayty 07-07-2010 05:21 AM

I can help you with pencils, I LOVE my Derwents, definitely worth paying for :)

Paper, well you really have to look around and find one that suits you. I work mainly in pastels, however I'm working on a graphite piece at the moment, and there are so many varieties of pastel papers available, some people prefer a more toothed/rough paper, others go for the very smooth finish of velour paper. It is the same with drawing papers, it's really personal preference. The only real restrictions you have, particularly if working on a commission for a client, is that the paper needs to be thick enough to avoid minor creases - normal 'printer' paper will crease VERY easily so you want to find a paper that is quite thick.
I like to work on a paper that has a slight tooth so that it can hold a few layers of graphite, but not too heavily toothed as you can lose some detail in your work.

Lyre 07-09-2010 03:36 AM

Thank you! I guess my best bet is just going to Riot Art or something and rummaging around in there :D

payette 07-09-2010 04:02 AM

Try bristol paper. I like it. It is thick and smooth.

kayhmk 07-10-2010 10:51 PM

As for pencils, I have Cretacolor, Derwent, Bruynzeel, Faber-Castell, Staedler and "brandless" (Conda?).

Cretacolor ones (I have both 150 and 160 series, no full sets though) are quality stuff and not that expensive. Go for 160 series, they're better, 150 is more like sketch quality (pretty much on par with Derwent, though).
Derwent graphic pencils are good and not too expensive pencils. I'd call them entry level for the lack of a better word. Biggest annoyances for me: 1) the inconsistency in graphic strips: some pens have around 2 mm cores, others close to 5! and 2) the quality of wood used is inconsistent: some pens are pretty hard to sharpen due to the random changes in wood density (I use a knife to sharpen pencils and it leaves the side of the pen looking wavy where it meets a harder spot). (I currently use Derwent as my main brand.)
Bruynzeel... oh, I just love the brand. Suits my temperament and needs as an artist to the t. Hard to find, but not really that expensive.
Staedler is quite sketch quality, I wouldn't use as my main brand.
Faber-Castell makes nice basic pencils. Haven't used them much, I've mainly used their 100% graphite sticks. Pretty consistent and good quality, pretty cheap. I think they have an art range and a hobby range?
I've also used Koh-I-Noor, but currently don't have any of them actively in use (for no particular reason other than I ran out and happened to have full sets from other brands). They are fine, I think a step up from Derwent, maybe on level with Cretacolor 160.

The brandless things come into the equation just this much: they were dirt cheap and they are absolutely great to use. So don't overlook the dollar store stuff! Maybe I wouldn't use them as a stand-alone set but they do act as a back-up and replacement set quite beautifully.

As for paper, it is pretty hard to recommend anything. What kind of paper is good for you might be absolutely the last thing that would work for me. I suggest going to an art store and checking if they sell anything by the sheet OR provide samples.
As a general rule I'd say: go with you gut. Big brands like Daler-Rowney, Fabriano or Canson have good papers, and more importantly, a range of them for you to choose from. Don't overlook the cheaper and unknown brands if they intrigue you (as long as they're acid free, it's not a bad idea to try them). Look for thick, 180 g/m^2 or over, paper that feels good to your fingers.
Bristol board (smooth) is always a good place to start, if you don't have any (better) ideas.

Happy hunting and good luck with finding the best materials for your art! :)

Frankiee 07-11-2010 10:26 PM

I use scrathmore Bristol vellum paper and love it!!!! and for the pencils i use prismacolor.

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