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. We’ve rounded up the best of the best charcoal paper sheets below.
1. Canson Mi-Tientes Drawing Sheets
This clean-cut, 98-pound paper measures 19 inches by 25 inches and features a rough texture on one side and a smoother texture on the other. The tooth density is consistent, and the surfaces are durable. While designed for pastels, Canson’s papers are a popular option among charcoal artists as well. Made of paper with a 55 percent cotton rag content, which helps prevent your works from deteriorating, these sheets are compatible with hard or soft charcoal as well as dry and wet processes. This set offers 10 muted colors resulting from vat-dyed fibers, which won’t be influenced by any lines you apply.
2. Sax Sulphite Drawing Paper
This medium-tooth paper is well suited for charcoal, pastel, pencil, and even pen or ink drawings. Compared to our top option, it’s more cost-effective, making it a great pick for students or pros looking to stock up on practice papers. The 60-pound weight delivers strength and can stand up to vigorous erasing. Because these sheets are made of 100 percent sulphite, they can handle both dry and wet media. The surface is extra white, providing a dramatic contrast to your dark strokes.
3. 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.
4. UCreate Mixed Media Art Paper
While this charcoal paper is of suitable quality for the medium, the ream of white sheets for less than $35 makes this a teacher’s favorite. It features a slightly toothy surface that allows charcoals to really stick and pop but still maintains the smooth nature of a lighter-weight paper. Plus, the sheets can handle most dry and wet media, including watercolors, oil pastels, and tempera paint. Ideal for high-volume usage, this is a versatile, fun option for younger children as they learn to delve into the tricky artistic medium of charcoal and become budding artists.
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 10, 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 two-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.