The Best Art Paper of 2021

If you are looking for art paper, it is easy to get lost when searching for the right one. After all, there are a ton of different types, textures, weights, and other factors to consider, and each of them suits a different type of art. Read on to learn more about what makes good art paper and see some of the best options available.


If you’re in a hurry, here are our top 3 quick picks for the best Art Paper of 2021


Criteria for Choosing the Art Paper

It can be difficult to pin down the differences between good and bad when it comes to art paper, especially since there are so many different types. However, there are a few things that are essential, no matter what you need art paper for, including:

  • Acid-Free: The first factor that was considered when choosing art paper for this list was whether it was acid-free. Acid can cause art paper to deteriorate or yellow, so you want to avoid it. Fortunately, most paper is acid-free.
  • Texture: Texture is something else that was considered. There is no perfect texture, with both smooth and toothy textures working better for different mediums. However, it is important that the texture of the paper is suitable for what it is marketed towards.
  • Paper Weight: The weight of the paper is another important factor. Paper is weighed in reams of 500 sheets, not individually. Therefore, the weight tells you a lot about the paper, with a heavier paper weight being a good indicator of increased strength.

While there are qualities that you want to see in all types of art paper, a lot of it depends on what you plan to do with the paper. Therefore, the important part is to make sure the paper you choose works for the art you want to create.


The 8 of Best Art Paper of 2021

Since there are so many different types of art paper, it might be difficult to find the best paper for you. However, the list below has a number of choices, from basic sketch pads and kraft paper to watercolor paper and mixed media paper, which should make it easier to find what you need.

Pacon Decorol Flame Retardant Art Rolls

The first art paper featured on this list is from Pacon, and it is meant for large art projects that require a lot of paper. The art paper is a single roll that is 36 inches wide and 1000 feet long. Of course, you can cut this paper as needed, but it is a great choice if you are making banners, murals, and bulletin boards.

This paper is made from 100% vat-dyed sulfite, which gives it strength and fade-resistance that you can count on. It is also meant to take on various mediums on both sides. Moreover, the paper is flame-retardant, so you can use it with ease of mind. Pacon even provides this high-quality paper in various colors.

PROS
  • This massive roll of paper is great for large projects
  • It is both strong and fade-resistant
  • The paper can take various mediums on both sides
  • It is flame-retardant
  • There are various colors available

CONS
  • There have been complaints about a few of the colors

Pacon Rainbow Duo-Finish Colored Kraft Paper

Another Pacon product that is worth taking a look at is their duo-finish colored kraft paper. This paper comes in white and a variety of other colors, which is fantastic. However, the true uniqueness of this paper is the two different textures. One side has a smooth texture, while the other has a “toothy” texture.

The different textures allow it to be used for a variety of projects, and since it is lightweight, you can easily hang it, which is great for banners and bulletin boards. After all, since there is a total of 1000 feet of this paper, you can take on almost any project, large or small.

PROS
  • This paper is lightweight and easy to hang
  • The duo-finish means there is a smooth side and “toothy” side
  • It can be used for both small and large projects
  • The paper is quite durable and holds up well

CONS
  • It wrinkles rather easily

Helix Vellum Paper Pad

If you are looking for a high-quality paper that will allow you to create long-lasting pieces of art, then you should look at the paper featured here from Helix. It is made from 100% cotton rag, which is known for lasting a long time. In fact, the paper here is archival quality, so it will prevent your art from fading even after a long time in storage.

It is also acid-free, so you do not need to worry about cracking or yellowing. Each sheet is strong as well, allowing you to erase without leaving smudges or tearing the paper. Plus, if you are looking to copy, this paper’s translucency makes it easy to do. So, if you want high-quality paper for important works, you cannot go wrong here.

PROS
  • It is made from 100% cotton rag
  • This archival quality paper prevents fading during storage
  • It is acid-free, so yellowing and cracking will not occur
  • The paper is strong and has great erasability
  • It is good for copying

CONS
  • You have to pay a good bit extra for the quality
  • There have been complaints about it not being translucent enough

UCreate Medium Weight Sketch Pads

The UCreate medium-weight sketch pad is a product that anyone who likes to draw and experiment should take a look at. Its medium weight means that it is decently strong, which is enough for most uses. Plus, since it is meant as an all-purpose pad, you can experiment with any type of dry medium that you wish.

The paper is also acid-free, which prevents things like yellowing and cracking. In addition, the pad featured here has dimensions of 18 inches by 12 inches, giving you plenty of room and making it easy to draw landscapes. If you prefer a vertical orientation, UCreate also has a spiral sketchbook that is 9 inches by 12 inches.

PROS
  • This medium-weight sketch pad is strong enough for most uses
  • It is great for any form of dry medium
  • The paper is acid-free
  • The dimensions of the paper give you plenty of space

CONS
  • The binding on the paper can come loose while sketching
  • It is a bit on the thin side

UCreate Art1st Mixed Media Art Paper

There are many types of paper out there that are meant to be used with specific things, such as graphite or watercolor. Mixed media paper is unique in that it aims to withstand a variety of mediums all by itself. Therefore, if you want versatile paper, this mixed media paper from UCreate is something worth considering.

The paper has a natural color and medium tooth, so it is not too smooth or too textured. Additionally, this heavyweight paper is acid-free, meaning it is durable and will last a long time. The size is nice as well, with each sheet having a width of 18 inches and a length of 24 inches, increasing its versatility even more.

PROS
  • This paper is great for a variety of mediums
  • It has a natural color and medium tooth
  • It has a paper weight of 80lbs
  • The paper is acid-free and recyclable
  • The size makes it a versatile choice

CONS
  • It is not specialized one way or another
  • There are far better choices for wet mediums

Derwent Mead Textured Surface Watercolor Paper

While this paper is marketed for watercolors, it is actually suitable for a variety of wet mediums. The paper itself has a weight of 190lbs, which is higher than the common 140lb paper weight of watercolor paper. It is also acid-free, eliminating the need to worry about yellowing and cracking over time, as well as lignin-free and fade-resistant.

Each page of this paper is 9 inches by 12 inches, and it is protected by a durable cover that does not let any hard come to your artwork. Additionally, the tape binding at the top makes it easy to remove pages as needed without damaging them. So, if you are looking for strong paper for wet mediums, this is a fantastic option.

PROS
  • The paper is ideal for wet mediums of all sorts
  • The paper weight is 190lbs
  • It is acid-free, lignin-free, and fade-resistant
  • The paper is protected by a durable cover
  • The tape binding makes it easy to remove pages

CONS
  • The pages are not that large
  • The extra paper weight is not that impactful

Derwent Mead Academy Heavyweight Paper Sketch Journal

If you want something that is easy to take around with you, then this sketch journal will not let you down. The pages are only 6 inches by 9 inches, making it highly portable. The wire binding is convenient for working on the move or opening the journal completely on a flat desk or surface.

The paper is heavyweight as well, having a paperweight of 67lbs. It will also last a long time since it is acid-free, lignin-free, and fade-resistant. Additionally, the perforated pages make it easy to tear them out, while internal pockets allow you to securely store completed works even after they are torn out.

PROS
  • The sketch pad’s size makes it very mobile
  • The wire binding is convenient on the go and on flat surfaces
  • It is heavyweight and archival-quality paper
  • The perforated pages are easy to tear out
  • There are pockets to store torn out pages

CONS
  • The size of the pages is a bit limiting
  • It is not always easy to tear the pages cleanly

Dixon Ticonderoga Ecology Natural Kraft Sheets

If you want to practice some new techniques or are simply looking to be environmentally friendly, then you might want to consider this kraft paper. It is a high-quality paper that is acid-free and meant to last. Plus, it is eco-friendly since it is made with recycled materials.

One thing to note about this paper is that it has a natural color. Additionally, each sheet is 9 inches in width and 12 inches in height, which is a great size for a number of art projects. It is a great choice for those that want lightweight paper meant for drawing and other small projects, such as those done in classrooms.

PROS
  • It is high-quality, acid-free paper
  • It is made from recycled materials
  • The size is great for drawing and small projects
  • The paper comes at a fantastic price

CONS
  • The color is not as visually appealing
  • It is not that strong

How to Shop for a Best Art Paper

While the list above shows some of the great options available, they might not be the best for your needs. However, as long as you know what to keep in mind while shopping, you should still be able to find something great. Here are a few of the things you should consider:

  • Medium: What art medium are you going to use? A lot of the paper out there is marketed towards specific mediums, such as sketchbooks and the watercolor paper in the list above. Certain paper is only meant for specific mediums.
  • Weight: The weight of the paper tells you a lot about how strong it is. However, it is also something you have to think about when you are working with things like watercolors. Determine what weight you want before shopping, and you will have an easy time narrowing down the options.
  • Size: There are a lot of types of paper, but there are also various sizes and orientations. You should make sure that you are choosing the right size of paper for your art project.

There are quite a few other things you can consider as well, such as the texture of the paper’s surface. Additionally, if you go for something like mixed media paper, you have to make sure that it works with all of the mediums you want to use.


In Conclusion 

Finding the right art paper can be difficult, but it does not have to be. In fact, once you know what type of medium you plan on working with, you can easily begin to narrow down the texture, weight, and size to get precisely what you need. Just make sure that you do your research before jumping into things.


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