Best Paper For Colored Pencils

Creating art is one of the main ways that we can express ourselves. As an artist, you will quickly find out that your tools are everything.

Without the right pencils, paints, canvases and paper, you will not be able to thrive and have the creative freedom you deserve. 

You can buy the highest quality pencils on the market, but if your surface is not effective, you cannot create a masterpiece. 

There is such a plethora of varying paper types for artists, that it can be difficult to decide which is right for you and your style. 


Luckily, we have compiled a list of the best paper for colored pencils to help you decide.
Best paper for colored pencils

If you are in a rush to get back to the drawing board, then we are here for you. We have found the best paper for colored pencils available on the market. So, if you are ready to create your next masterpiece, then try the Strathmore Colored Pencil Pad for colored pencils.

This paper is designed specifically for use with colored pencils, but also is a great addition to graphite, charcoal and sketching work. 

A smooth, even texture can be achieved with this paper, and its durable surface stands the test of time and multiple erasures. This paper is perfect for practicing and finding your feet with your artwork. 

The pad is micro-perforated and wire bound with 30 sheets to experiment with. The clean, white paper has a slight tooth, which is ideal for layering colored pencils and practicing your techniques. 

What is even better, is this paper is completely acid-free, so your work will last longer and never discolor. This is a great art pad for beginners and experienced artists!

OUR TOP PICK

Strathmore 477-9 Colored Pencil PAD 9X12 30SHT 400 Series, 9'x12', White, 30 Sheets

The best paper for colored pencils is by far the Strathmore Colored Pencil paper.

This wirebound sketchbook was specifically designed for the use of colored pencils, however it can be utilized for graphite, charcoal and other dry media tools. 

This white paper provides a smooth, even coverage with a durable surface that will withstand repeated erasures and reworking. This is perfect for an artist trying to practice and refine their work. 

The micro-perforated wire bound sheets work great for removing pages and mounting your masterpieces.

The clean white, toothy texture helps to build upon blending techniques and other colored pencil artistry.

This paper is also acid-free and will stand the test of time, without damaging or discoloring your piece of work.

This sketchbook is the perfect addition to your artist tool kit and is great for beginners taking their first steps, and professionals fine-tuning their skills.

Pros

  • Wire-bound sketchbook
  • Excellent for colored pencils, graphite, charcoal and sketching pencils
  • Smooth finish
  • Durable surface
  • Withstands repeated erasures
  • Toothy

Cons

  • Not bright white paper, more creamy or ecru 

EDITORS CHOICE

Strathmore 400-3 STR-400-3 24 Sheet No.80 Drawing Pad, 8 by 10', 8'x10', 8 X 10 Inches

If you need paper for professional work, in a variety of sizes to suit your clients, then the Strathmore Drawing Pad is right for you. This sketch pad comes in 7 different sizes to suit all of your needs. 

The Strathmore Drawing Pad is great for line drawing and serious technical artwork. The non-reflective surface helps you refine your designs for the perfect masterpiece.

With 24 sheets of 80lb/130gsm paper, you are sure to have reliable, high quality paper that you can depend on with Strathmore. 

Pros

  • Professional grade paper
  • Comes in 7 sizes
  • Works with pencil, charcoal, pens, paints and crayons
  • High quality artist paper
  • Durable surface
  • Withstands repeated erasure

Cons

  • Not suitable for novice artists

BEST VALUE

Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad, Heavyweight, Fine Texture, Heavy Sizing for Wet or Dry Media, Side Wire Bound, 98 Pound, 5.5 x 8.5 in, 60 Sheets, 5.5'X8.5'

For the artist that needs paper that can be used for both wet and dry media, we have your covered.

The Canson XL Mix Media Paper Pad is perfect for colored pencils, sketching, pastel, markers and pens.

This versatile drawing pad is made of heavyweight, fine textured paper that will withstand whatever media you feel like using.

With extra durability and the assurance that this paper will erase well and blend colors easily, what is not to love? 

You can also purchase this paper in a variety of sizes, with side wire ring binding. This white paper comes with much more sheets than others with 60 pages of 98lbs/160gsm paper. 

Canson XL Mix Media Paper is the best choice for durability and flexibility, and is sure to meet your varying needs as an artist. 

Pros

  • Heavy paper
  • Erases well
  • Assists blending
  • Suitable for mix media types
  • Fine textured paper
  • Acid-free
  • Extra sheets

Cons

  • Pages tear out easily when turning page
  • Cannot be used for watercolors

RUNNER UP

Colore Sketch Pad - Durable Sketching Paper And Notebook Material - Great For Drawing With Colored Pencils - 9x12 Spiral Sketchbook - Perfect Art Book & Craft Supplies Set For Teens & Artists - 2 Pack

For the perfect lightweight, portable sketch pad that is great for travel, try the Colore Sketch Pad.

The Colore Sketch Pad is suitable for novice, intermediate and professional artists. This spiral bound pad style that opens flat on a surface, making it super easy to use anywhere.

The perforated pages make your sketching paper easy to remove and gives a clean edge for mounting or framing once you are done.

This sturdy, lightweight paper offers seamless erasures and is a great sketchbook for practicing artists and students! 

If you are not satisfied, Colore offers a 365-day money-back guarantee to ensure that your artwork is always top of the class.

Pros

  • 2 pack
  • Premium quality sketch pad 
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Perforated pages 
  • Seamless erasing

Cons

  • Lower quality than competitors
  • Pages are very lightweight, can tear easily

RUNNER UP

Arteza 9X12 Drawing Pad, Pack of 2, 160 Sheets (80lb/130g), Spiral Bound Artist Drawing Books, 80 Sheets Each, Durable Acid Free Sketch Paper, Ideal for Adults & Teens, Bright White

If you are looking for a great sketchbook, then the Arteza Drawing Pad is the perfect addition to your artistry tools.

You can purchase this item by itself or in a pack of 2 drawing pads that are spiral bound for your convenience.

This sketchbook has 80 sheets of 80lb/130gsm acid-free, bright white paper. This lightly textured paper is ideal for colored pencils.

The Arteza drawing pads offer premium high quality paper for beginners and more professional artists. 

The sketchbook has perforation for quick page detachment which makes it easy to mount your designs.
This long-lasting paper for your work can be used for pencils, charcoal, crayons and pens.

Pros

  • Acid-free
  • Perforated edge for easy detachment
  • Spiral binding
  • White paper
  • Withstands multiple erasures
  • Heavyweight paper

Cons

  • Not suitable for wet media
  • Not as thick as other competitors- color may bleed through

RUNNER UP

UPlama 100 Sheets (98 lb/160gsm) Sketch Paper,Artist Sketch Pad,Acrylic Art Pad for Sketching, Ink Sketch Book, Durable Acid Free Drawing Paper, Ideal for Kids & Adults (A4)

For the artistry professional, you need the UPlama 100 sheets Sketch Paper. This is premium, high quality paper intended for experienced artists that know their style.

This A4 paper is acid-free and pH neutral which prevents yellowing and warping over time. Keep your masterpieces in perfect condition with this 16K fine art paper.

The fine tooth surface makes it easy to erase and smudge resistant. It is highly durable and will not tear or wear when finetuning your work.

The UPlama sketch paper has a versatile surface that is perfect for sketching with pencils, graphite, charcoal and pens.

This paper is 98lbs/160gsm and a bright white color for maximum contrast when drawing.

Your sketches will never fade or degrade as this paper is durable, and able to withstand all different dry drawing instruments.

Pros

  • Premium paper
  • A4 size
  • Acid-free paper
  • Suitable for all dry drawing instruments
  • Smudge resistant 

Cons

  • Slight purple tinge to the paper
  • Lower quality paper

RUNNER UP

Canson XL Series Bristol Pad, Heavyweight Paper for Ink, Marker or Pencil, Smooth Finish, Fold Over, 100 Pound, 9 x 12 Inch, Bright White, 25 Sheets

If you are looking for ultra-smooth paper for your style of art, then look no further than the Canson Bristol XL paper. This pad comes in 5 different sizes and the choice between fold over and wired pads.

The paper itself is durable and heavyweight for long lasting designs, with bright white sheets and excellent erasability. Never worry about crumpling up your artwork with the Canson Bristol paper.

This type of drawing paper works well with colored pencils, markers, pens, ink and sketching pencils. It has 25 sheets in the pad with a weight of 100 lb/260 gram. It is completely acid free and will keep your work fresher for longer.

As it is so smooth, the Canson Bristol paper is perfect for scanning your work and uploading it online or selling digital prints!

Every serious artist needs a Bristol pad in their repertoire, and the Canson Bristol is a great choice.

Pros

  • Smooth
  • Can be used for colored pencils, pens, ink, markers and more
  • Heavyweight paper
  • Durable
  • Increased erasability
  • Can be scanned
  • Acid-free

Cons

  • No texture
  • Hard to build layers with colored pencils

Best Paper For Colored Pencils Buying Guide

How to find the best paper for colored pencils

There are hundreds of different styles of paper available for the artist in you.

These papers vary in weight, quality, material, longevity, size and uses, so it is important that you find one that suits your particular drawing style.

Quality

The quality of your paper depends upon what you intend to use it for. If it is just everyday sketching and practising, then try using a sketchbook or drawing paper. This way you are not wasting high quality paper when you are just scribbling away day-to-day.

If you are working on a piece of art or a commission, then you may want to invest in professional grade paper that will be durable and long-lasting.

We recommend that you try using acid-free paper because acid can deteriorate the fibers over time. This will discolor your paper and could ruin your artwork.

Size

The size of the paper you use will depend heavily upon the scale of the work you are producing. It can be easier to hide mistakes in bigger artworks, but they are very time consuming and take a lot of hard work. 

We recommend that you use A4 paper as most pencil drawings are best for this size and it will not take you too long to finish.

Longevity 

The longevity of your paper will be affected by the quality of the paper you use. If you purchase cheaper papers, it can tear or crumple easily when using which can be extremely frustrating.

Cheaper paper supplies will also warp and discolor over time, which will leave your artwork looking yellow or buckled after a few years.

High quality acid-free paper lasts a very long time, but if it is extremely long lasting paper that you want, then try 100% cotton papers!

Surface Texture

The right paper for your art will depend on what style of drawing you prefer. There are so many varying textures when it comes to paper, that the choice really is down to you. 

Smooth paper like Bristol paper is best suited for fine details and extreme blending. Bristol paper is seriously smooth and works well with pen, ink and colored pencils.

However, there is very little tooth and it is hard to layer colors. On the other hand, watercolor paper has a lot of texture that can help you create a lot of dimension and texture. 

Rough paper has a lot of tooth and is great for building multiple layers, but can be difficult to blend. This may wear down your colored pencils quickly, so it is best to avoid rough paper.

Medium-textured paper is often called cold press paper, this is a popular choice for artists that prefer colored pencils as it has a good balance between rough and smooth. It will give you some texture and layers but also help you blend with ease.

There are paper sketchbooks available specifically for colored pencils, and normal sketching pencils. You may want to experiment with different styles and types of paper.

When drawing with colored pencils, it is best to use paper with a bit of surface texture. This way you can build up several layers of colors and tone in your artwork. Watercolor paper or Bristol style paper is incredibly smooth and your colored pencils may just slide right off the paper. 

However, too much tooth or texture can make it difficult to draw over and you will not get the results that you want.

Weight 

Colored pencils are fine to use on lightweight paper as you are not using wet media or tools to create.

Slightly more heavyweight paper will not buckle or distort when using a multitude of tools to draw.

Pads or Sheets

Single sheets are great for creating customized sizes and designs, however it is easier to practice and refine your art skills with sketch books or pads.

Wire bound pads are also great for traveling and make it easy to remove mistakes or pieces of work that just do not seem right.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use watercolor paper for colored pencils?

You can use colored pencils on nearly any paper, but the texture of the paper will affect your overall outcome. 

Watercolor paper is obviously a great option for water-soluble pencils, but it does work well with normal colored pencils, too. Watercolor paper can help build a great deal of detail, however it is much harder to work with.

What kind of sharpener is best for colored pencils?

Learning how to sharpen your colored pencils carefully is a skill that every artist should acquire. The last thing you want is the lead breaking on your favorite colored pencil set.

Handheld pencil sharpeners allow precision and extra control when sharpening, to ensure that you never break your precious pencils.

What paper is best for beginners?

If you are just starting out on your drawing journey, you will want to purchase some great tools to help you learn and grow. You can invest in some high quality paper, but our advice is to not spend too much as you are just finding your feet and you will most likely make a lot of mistakes. 

Find a good quality paper that is not too expensive so that you can practice and refine your skills before buying the professional paper. 

We recommend the Strathmore Colored Pencil sketchbook paper as it is cost efficient and still promises high quality paper.

What kind of paper is best for watercolor pencils?

Watercolor paper works great for watercolor pencils, however you may want to try a paper that is versatile enough to use with other pencils, such as this Arches Watercolor Paper.

WonderStreet is not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this article. However, we sometimes receive a referral fee from online retailers when our readers buy on their website after clicking from our website to theirs. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases, which supports the operation of our blog and helps to keep all our content free for everyone. In any case, when we conduct our analysis, our intention and focus is to remain objective and unbiased at all times.

What’s your Paper For Colored Pencils? We’d love to hear from you... Please leave your comments below.

WonderStreet is an invite-only community where artists connect with customers. Sign up and showcase your artwork. It's free and only takes a minute!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *