YOUR GUIDE TO PERFECT PAPER FOR ALCOHOL-BASED MARKERS
Those bloody markers ruined the next sheet of your drawing pad again?! Take it easy, this happens to all of us! In this article, I am going to tell you about seven different kinds of paper that you could try with your alcohol-based markers. We'll look at each of them from 4 points of view: blending, bleeding, use, and downsides.
As a general rule of thumb, when choosing paper for your marker projects, look out for the thickness of paper (indicated in grams per square meter, g/m2). Thinner paper tends to bleed through to the next sheet but enables you to blend colors smoothly. Thicker paper is rougher and less good for blending, but it is bleedproof and suitable for projects that you want to frame and display.
Winsor & Newton Marker Paper Bleedproof Pad (70 g/m2, 50 sheets)
Blending: very smooth!
Bleeding: not completely bleedproof; you need to put an extra sheet of paper to protect the next sheet.
Use: tracing! It's very thin and a bit see-through; perfect for colorful illustrations (you can put them in your bullet journal).
Downsides: It's too thin to put your project in a frame.
Here's the original drawing and the back side of the sheet of paper. The back side is almost as colorful as the front!
Winsor & Newton Heavy Weight Marker Paper Bleedproof Pad (160 g/m2, 25 sheets)
Blending: less smooth; the paper is a bit rough.
Bleeding: completely bleedproof, but you can see some color on the other side of your drawing, so you can only use one side.
Use: projects you want to display (just don't put them in the sun!); perfect for urban sketching.
Downsides: less suitable for illustrations that require very smooth blending.
Here's the front and the back sides of the drawing again. The colors didn't bleed onto the next page but the windmill is still visible.
Canson, The Wall Sketchbook (bleedproof, double-sided, 220 g/m2, 30 sheets)
Blending: not smooth
Bleeding: 100% bleedproof, truly double-sided; you can draw on both sides.
Use: projects you want to display. It's wirebound, so you can use it as a sketchbook.
Downsides: you may draw on both sides of the sheet, but you can't really display both sides at the same time (but that's kind of obvious!); this paper is not suitable for illustrations that require very smooth blending.
These two sketches were made on the two sides of the same sheet of paper. No traces of color coming from the other side! Very impressive!
Winsor & Newton 16:9M Sketchpad (80 g/m2, 54 sheets)
Blending: not great, but reasonably good.
Bleeding: the colors bleed through a little bit, and you can see your drawing on the other side.
Use: It's a cool-looking sketchpad. Also, it is optimized for scannability and color. It opens perfectly flat. Perfect if you need to digitalize your projects.
Downsides: It's an unconventional format, so it might take some getting used to.
Front and back of the drawing: you can see the colors on the other side. Not ideal as a sketchbook for that matter, but somehow I like it anyway.
Winsor & Newton Extra Smooth Bristol Board (250 g/m2, 20 sheets, NOT marker paper)
Blending: perfectly smooth blending! The paper is extra white and extremely smooth.
Bleeding: definitely bleeds through; you need an extra sheet of paper for protection.
Use: blending! It is easy to use for beginners and is suitable for putting it up on display.
Front and back, the colors are quite strong on the back side.
I used this paper for my “Drawing with markers: Learn How to Sketch Expressive Fruits & Berries” class on Skillshare. Follow this link to join the class and create five delicious fruit.
Blending: markers blend well, but you might get some streaks.
Bleeding: like crazy!
NOT recommended for alcohol-based markers!
1 - front of the first sheet, 2 - back of the first sheet, 3 - front of the second sheet, 4 - back of the second sheet. This was an experiment with highly predictable results: printer paper is not suitable for drawing with markers.
Watercolor paper or any other thick, not smooth paper
Blending: markers blend all right, but you end up using a lot of ink.
Bleeding: depending on the thickness, it might bleed slightly, but nothing too extreme.
NOT recommended for alcohol-based markers! It's a waste of ink.
Summing up, there's no such thing as a perfect paper. The more you draw, the better you understand your preferences regarding the paper. I hope this guide makes the process of buying paper a bit easier for you. Being an artist is a never-ending journey, and playing around with different kinds of paper is part of the adventure!
Do you have your favorite marker paper? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!
Do you have questions about alcohol-based markers? I've got you covered, too! Explore this article to get all your answers.
If you are interested in alcohol-based markers, there are three Skillshare classes you can take: