Greetings to you on this lovely day!

Today we will be getting a little bit more specific in our paper information. We will briefly be looking at weights of papers and brands of papers.

Paper Weights (no not the glass kind from the 1970s):

Along with our friends “Archival”, “pH balanced”, and “Acid Free”, one thing to keep in mind when shopping for papers is weight. According the web site:

“The basis weight of a paper is the designated fixed weight of 500 sheets, measured in pounds, in that paper’s basic sheet size. It is important to note that the ‘basic sheet size’ is not the same for all types of paper.”

Also note that not all sheets of paper are made to be the same size!

The weight of paper is expressed in one of two ways: in pounds (lbs) per 500 sheets, mostly used in America, and in grams per square meter (gsm) in the rest of the world. I find that I like to work with 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, but 230 gsm Pergamenata. These are both stiffer weights of the papers that will not droop over when you hold them upright. This not only keeps the art piece looking more pristine, is safer (stronger) for the art (rips, folds, crinkles less, especially in transit), but makes for an easier presentation in any SCA Court.

Brands of Papers:

There are several different brands of art papers that have the same classification. For example, there are several manufacturers of hot press watercolor paper. Not all watercolor paper is made the same. There are some that are smoother than others, when they are both labeled “smooth”. Get a sheet or two of both brands, making sure you know which brand it which, and test them out. Remember, this is all about you finding the paper of your dreams. (If only there were a paper and artist matchmaking web page!)

The brand you choose may have to do with where you live and what’s available to you. If you are a savvy internet shopper (as I’m sure you are), then you can find great deals for papers on-line.

There are tons of different art papers out there to choose from. No matter what paper you decide to work with, make sure you are happy working with it. As a professional artist, I find that if I’m unhappy with my tools and materials, my art and my muse suffer, and I get bad art. Be happy in your choice and it will reflect in your work.

Tomorrow we’ll be discussing the different types of art papers, what they’re used for, and the best media wot work with on them.

Until then, I remain Hopefully Helpful,