If you’re prone to working with different materials, you’ll need some good-quality mixed media paper to capture your vision. These papers are engineered to be diverse surfaces that often can accept both wet and dry media. Of course, your go-to product will depend on your preferred medium, as some papers have better water resistance than others, carry coarser surfaces, or have special qualities that allow them to tolerate specific creative processes. Find the best brand for your needs in our picks below.
1. C&T Publishing Lutradur Mixed Media Sheets
Made of non-woven polyester, these papers feel similar to fabric. They offer an impressively versatile surface that can be painted on, hand-sewn or machine stitched, stamped, and even fed into a printer. Because they are relatively heavyweight, they hold up very well to various processes that mix media. You could, for instance, print out a design, then paint layers over it, trim the sheet, and glue it into a scrapbook. These are inspiring sheets, whether or not you have a specific project in mind for them.
2. Strathmore 400 Series Bristol Sheet
This is an artist-grade drawing paper that is appropriate for dry and wet media, from pencils to pastels to acrylics. The multi-ply sheets form a stiff and durable surface that can even tolerate light layers of washes without warping. Each presents Strathmore’s “vellum” finish—a gently textured finish that looks natural and shows off subtleties in shading and tone.
3. UCreate Mixed Media Art Paper
This ream of papers is ideal for high-volume usage—like for classroom projects or crafting in households with inspired kids. Each sheet has a good weight to it and can handle most dry and wet media, including common craft supplies like markers, oil pastels, tempera paint, and watercolors. These papers are quite smooth, presenting a less complex surface than some of our other picks, but they will hold up well to inspired, uninhibited art-making.
4. Canson XL Series Mix Media Paper Pad
This finely textured paper is ideal for artists who like to work big. Bright white and thick, it comes in the form of a roll—available in two sizes—that you can trim to your ideal dimensions. It takes dry media, from pencils to charcoal, very well, but you have to exercise more caution with wet media such as watercolors and ink, as the surface can warp with too much liquid. A gentle touch, and light washes, are best when it comes to fluid media.
5. Stillman & Birn Nova Series
While some people might not prefer the beige tone of these sheets, it’s hard to resist the impeccable quality they offer. Each is carefully produced to carry exceptional strength, so you can lay on wet media like watercolors and gouache without worrying about buckling; apply ink without feathering; or erase away without piling. This durability stems from each sheet being both internally sized (meaning the pulp has been treated to decrease wettability) and surface sized (meaning the surface has been treated to increase water resistance). As a result, pigments look more luminescent than they would on lower-grade papers.