Art materials do cost and this cost is considrable at least for those of us who paint and sketch everyday. The most costly of art materials are art papers whose prices increase without this reflecting to their quality. So the/any low budget high quality papers that can be worked with various media are more than desirable for most of us.
In this review I’ll present you a paper that can do the job without breaking your bank account, which is my go to paper for several years.
Winsor & Newton Medium Surface 220 gsm Cartridge paper is an acid free natural white paper that according to W&N description is suitable for drawing and painting with Pencil, Coloured Pencils Charcoal, Pastel, Oil Pastel and Light Wash.
According to my experience is suitable for painting in multiple watercolour washes, ink ( dip pen or fountain pen), markers and drawing markers.
This paper has two slightly different surfaces. Its front side ( as it comes in the pads ) has a very slight tooth, just enough to be worked nicely with pencils while its back side is really smooth and gives great results with dip and fountain pens, drawing markers and mechanical pencils.
As you can see in the scans, ( that you can download from HERE in HR and zip file) both of this paper’s sides have a rather random non repetitive pattern on their surface something that is IMHO another of its advantages.
Bellow now you can see my swatches with various different media on both sides of the same sheet of paper.
The media I used are the following:
HB 0,5 mechanical pencil
4 B graphite pencil smudged and erased
Drawing Marker 0,5
Dip Pen with India Ink
India Ink in washes
Thick black alcohol marker
Watercolour pencil in wash
Watercolours on light and heavy washes, on glazing and lifting.
As you can see both sides work nicely with the media I used with the smoother side working better with the inks and the not that smooth side working nicely with the pencils.
The surface of the paper is strong enough for erasing pencils and lifting watercolour while it gave nice glazing results too.
The alcohol marker ink didn’t penetrate the paper with the first application though I can’t tell what will happen if you repeat the process.
When this paper is heavily wetted tends to buckle slightly ( it is a mere cartridge paper after all) so you should either stretch it or tape it on a board if you intent to work it with wet on wet techniques. But even though it buckles, it retains its sizing and dimentions and so you can flatten it after it dries, with the well known methods ( including ironing the backside of your painting).
Bellow you can see some of the paintings and sketches that I have done on this paper.
IN order to conclude. This is a very good paper that works nicely with most of mediums and at the price of 10 euros for a 25 sheet A3 pad is definitely a VFM paper.
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