All About Paper
If you want your art or your child's artwork to endure the times and still look fabulous in a few months time, then what surface you choose to make it on does matter. Using the right surface for the job will not only increase the artwork's longevity, but the colours and texture in the artwork will be more vivid and prominent, so the work will look better too!
In the realm of art-making, there are a large plethora of paper surfaces to choose from, and for all different kinds of purposes. There are acid-free, acrylic sheet, butchers, cartridge, kraft, copy, card, watercolour, synthetic, cotton, tracing and the list goes on and on. With so many on the market to choose from, Mrs Q. is going to offer her top all-round papers that you should have readily available for the in-home art protégé.
Cartridge Paper (very necessary)
If you are going to choose one paper to have in your house for you or your child to draw on then this should be it. Choose a good, medium weight cartridge paper with at least 120gsm in weight. Unlike copy paper, the sheets are hard to scrunch or crease, and they are acid-free so they do not yellow with age. The heavier papers can take a bit of wet media also - like markers, watercolour and ink.
Cartridge Paper Roll
Use this for getting outside and making massive drawings or paintings - perfect for tracing little people and their limbs. Use a watered-down paint, watercolour, ink or markers.
If you can't find cartridge roll, then the IKEA Mala paper roll is good enough for at home with the kids. Please be aware that this paper is cream coloured and not archival so will further yellow over time, but it is a fine surface for children to make an experimental painting on, to go crazy with their markers on and for making the messy play. You can use your leftover or unwanted drawings to make wrapping paper for gifts for friends and family or to decorate your cardboard box glueing creations.
Dynamite for Wet Media
Art Spectrum Draw and Wash Pad - this surface is a quality step up from cartridge paper, but not super heavy like an acrylic sheet. This surface is archival, high quality and thin but also specially sized to take on wet media such as ink and watercolour. It will not distort, dissolve or run.
For special paintings, 400gsm acrylic canvas sheets in A4 or A3 size, don't take up much room to store. These thick sheets of paper are primed and internally and externally sized, enabling the acrylic paint to sit on the surface. The colours are beautiful and vibrant, and the paper is incredibly sturdy and holds its shape. Art Spectrum offers an affordable range of Acrylic pads with handy tear-off sheets. The sheets are archival and suit any age and skill level and come in standard A sizing so they can easily be framed.
Do you enjoy thrift shopping? Then source old picture and non-fiction books and magazines from the op shops that can be cut up to make collages or mixed media artworks.
Coloured tissue paper, Brenex coloured paper squares and hand-cut paper shapes can also be used for collage and craft like stained glass window activities.
Micador Create It Art Pad Colour Magic is terrific for kids - it contains 10 different colours with a different colour on each side of the sheet (purple/green, yellow/orange, pink/blue, red/black, brown/white). This pad is well-suited to kids craft, drawing, scrapbooking, 3d paper sculpting or origami.