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When it comes to charcoal paper, what you seek is a mid-weight, slightly textured paper that will not only hold up under thicker drawing pigments but also allow the material itself to truly shine. What’s more, charcoal paper is often used for for other dry mediums, due to its slightly more stylized nature. From colorful packs for classroom settings to large-format, 100% cotton products, we’ve rounded up the best of the best charcoal paper sheets below.
1. Canson Ingres Drawing Sheets
This clean-cut charcoal paper measures 19.5 inches by 25.5 inches and is colored in the pulp of the paper to ensure light resistance, whether you’re shopping for a bright white or dark navy hue. The paper is 27-pound weight, which is slightly lighter than some other options, though still holds up just as well with strong pigments like charcoal and pastels. As it represents a middle ground between paper texture and weight, it’s ideal for mixed-media projects or a range of materials.
2. Hahnemuhle Ingres Paper
This paper measures 19 by 25 inches, which is ideal for larger-scale creations. The paper is made in Germany and features four deckled edges. Made of 100% alpha cellulose that has been crafted into a fine-ribbed and toothed surface. While this particular paper is a smoke-gray tone, the product is available in a range of 12 colors.
3. Fabriano Tiziano Color Paper
While this charcoal paper is of suitable quality for the medium, the pack of 12 sheets for less than $15 (and in assorted colors, no less!) makes this a teacher’s favorite. It features a toothy surface that allows charcoals to really stick and pop but still maintains the smooth nature of a lighter-weight paper. Though artists might prefer a bright white canvas to begin their journey, a selection of assorted colors is a fun option for younger children as they learn to delve into the artistic medium and become budding artists.
4. Strathmore Charcoal Drawing Paper
This paper is made of 100% cotton, making it an eco-friendly option when choosing charcoal paper. There are two deckled edges, giving it a slightly more stylized artistic finish, yet the paper itself has been machine crafted with a laid finish. It’s uniquely deep black in tone, making it ideal for pastels and brighter white pigments that sit on the surface of the paper rather than seep into the fibers.
5. Stonehenge Paper
This charcoal paper is quite the splurge but totally worth it for professional artists who care about the longevity of their work. Available in a pack of ten, these are perfectly textured sheets of large-scale 22-inch by 30-inch charcoal paper made by a reliable paper company, in the USA. This pack of bright white paper features a 2-deckled edge and is not only acid-free but also pH neutral, making it the right choice when archival quality is a necessity. It’s a versatile weight that works flawlessly with everything from colored pencil to charcoal, pastels, and watercolor paints alike.