Bachman Art Studio

The Classroom

Materials: Art Papers & Other Supports

Paper was invented in China about two thousand years ago. The original formula was probably a mixtue of old rags, hemp, mulberry bark, and water which was mashed into a pulp, and laid in the sun to dry. Later, starch was added for sizing, and the addition of a yellow dye to manuscript paper prevented insect infestation.

Modern papers are manufactured using a similar process, although the fibrous content has been refined and the process has been mostly automated. Paper products are manufactured in a variety of weights, colors, and textures for a multitude of uses.

Professional grade artist papers are acid-free, and often made from cotton fibers. These papers contain no acids or lignin which can yellow over time. Artist papers are rated either student or professional grade, and colorful examples of these products can be found at your local art store.

Construction Paper
Commonly used by school aged children, it's of the same quality manufactured for insulation, roofing papers, and pipe coverings. A tough material for little hands to work with, this student grade paper is available in an assortment of colors.

Drawing Paper
A fine paper suitable for applications of graphite, colored pencil, or pen and ink. Surface finishes vary from somewhat coarse, to very smooth. Drawing paper may be either student or professional grade.

Newsprint Paper
Used by newspaper publishers, it's available without print for ambitious folks who prefer to create own funny pages. It's inexpensive, and commonly found in figure drawing classes. Suitable for pencil or charcoal, this student grade paper is often made from recycled materials.

Pastel Paper
A coarse paper suitable for applications of charcoal, soft pastel, or conte crayons. Surface finishes have more "tooth" than drawing paper. Some pastel papers have a laid finish, while others have a gritty surface. Some pastel papers can be used with wet media such as alcohol, watercolors, acrylics, and even oil paint.

Watercolor Paper
Additional sizing is added to watercolor paper to prevent excessive absorption of wet media into the paper. Sizing may be mixed into the pulp, applied to the surface, or both. The surface applications may be either hot, or cold pressed. Watercolor paper also works well when pastel, or colored pencil is layered over a watercolor wash or painting.

Pastel Board
This rugged support is made by Art Spectrum. Whether used wet or dry, it can be reworked to death.

Hardboard and masonite contain acids and must be sealed before use. Their rigid construction is ideal for pastels as no backing board is required.

Soft pastel and colored pencil can also be done on canvas. The textured surface grabs and holds the pigment, but framing under glass is still required.

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