7 Best Paper for wax-based pencils in 2024

drawing of a porsche 992 gt3 in ultraviolet next to a pad of canson bristol vellum paper - best paper for wax-based colored pencils

Among the critical tools that make this journey fruitful, apart from your set of wax-based colored pencils, is the canvas you draw on - your paper.

The right paper can elevate your artwork, preserving its vibrancy and allowing your pencils to perform at their best.

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What are the Best Papers for Wax-Based Colored Pencils?

Whether you're an aspiring artist or an experienced illustrator, choosing the right paper for your wax-based colored pencils can make all the difference. Here is my curated list of the top seven papers perfect for your wax-based colored pencil creations:

  1. Canson XL Series Bristol Vellum Paper
  2. Daler & Rowney Fine Grain Heavyweight
  3. Strathmore 300 series Bristol Vellum
  4. Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper
  5. Canson Illustration Manga Paper
  6. Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Mixed Media
  7. Koh-I-Noor Bristol Vellum Bright White Paper Pad

Now, let's delve into the specific details about each type of paper and why it stands out as a top choice for colored pencil artwork.

1. Canson XL Series Bristol Vellum Paper

drawing of a porsche 992 gt3 in ultraviolet next to a pad of canson bristol vellum paper - best paper for wax-based colored pencils

Canson XL Series Bristol Vellum Paper is an acid-free, heavy-weight paper known for its excellent durability and versatility. It's perfect for artists who want to experiment with layering and blending without worrying about the paper's integrity.

The slightly textured surface of this paper captures the creamy consistency of wax-based colored pencils exceptionally well. This texture facilitates blending and enables the artist to create rich, vibrant colors and smooth gradations.

ProsCons
Excellent for layering and blendingSlightly more expensive than some other options
Durable and heavyweightNot the brightest white, which might affect color perception
Resists tearing and scuffing

Canson XL Series Bristol Vellum Paper, is an outstanding choice for those who value durability and versatility. Its blend-friendly texture and sturdy construction make it ideal for vibrant wax-based colored pencil artwork.

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2. Daler & Rowney Fine Grain Heavyweight

Daler & Rowney Fine Grain Heavyweight paper is designed to handle a variety of artistic pursuits. Its fine grain surface is perfect for capturing details, while the heavyweight construction ensures it can withstand vigorous drawing techniques.

This paper's fine grain surface is excellent for wax-based colored pencils, as it holds pigment well and allows for detailed work. Its heavyweight quality adds durability, making it suitable for intensive coloring and layering techniques.

ProsCons
Excellent texture for detailed workMay be a bit rough for very soft pencils
Heavyweight and sturdy
Can handle a good amount of layering

If detail and durability are paramount to your artwork, the Daler & Rowney Fine Grain Heavyweight paper is a worthy contender. This sturdy paper caters well to the unique blendability and detail-oriented nature of wax-based colored pencil work.

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3. Strathmore 300 series Bristol Vellum

Strathmore 300 series Bristol Vellum paper offers a medium surface perfect for finished artwork in various media. It is well-regarded for its dependability and professional quality.

This paper is excellent for creating smooth, vibrant color layers with wax-based colored pencils. Its medium surface texture holds pigment well, ensuring your colors are vivid and your transitions are smooth. It is also sturdy, minimizing the chance of tearing or other damage during the creative process.

ProsCons
Medium texture holds pigment wellMore expensive than some other options
Excellent durability for finished pieces
Good for a variety of media, not just pencils

For artists looking for professional-grade paper that can hold up to the demands of finished artwork, Strathmore 300 series Bristol Vellum is a fantastic choice. This paper offers an excellent balance between texture and durability, making it ideal for your wax-based colored pencil masterpiece.

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4. Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper

Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper is a professional-grade paper known for its versatility and suitability for a variety of drawing media. It's perfect for experienced artists looking for a reliable canvas for their work.

This paper features a medium surface ideal for capturing the vibrancy of wax-based colored pencils. It's an excellent choice for detailed work and for artists who enjoy layering and blending colors, as the surface texture holds pigments well and allows for a smooth blending experience.

ProsCons
Ideal for detailed workMight be too thin for heavy layering
Versatile for various mediaMight be too smooth for those preferring a heavier texture
Smooth surface ideal for blending

Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper is a top choice for artists looking for a high-performing, versatile paper that can showcase the beauty of wax-based colored pencils. Its blendability and versatility make it a go-to for many artists.

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5. Canson Illustration Manga Paper

Canson Illustration Manga Paper is designed specifically for illustrators, making it a unique and specialized choice for artists focusing on manga-style artwork.

The smooth, bright white surface of this paper allows the vibrant colors of wax-based colored pencils to pop, making it ideal for illustrative work. Furthermore, it's perfect for detail-oriented artists as the smoothness of the paper accommodates fine lines and details.

ProsCons
Bright white surface enhances color vibrancyNot the most ideal for heavy layering
Perfect for detailed, illustrative workMay be too smooth for those who prefer texture
High-quality, durable construction

For artists working in detailed illustrative styles, especially manga, Canson Illustration Manga Paper is a superb choice. Its bright white surface and smooth texture will ensure your wax-based colored pencil drawings are vibrant and detailed.

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6. Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Mixed Media

Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Mixed Media paper is a unique and exciting choice for artists who like to experiment with contrast. The toned gray background provides a different starting point for your artwork.

The mid-tone background allows for an enhanced perception of light and dark, giving your colored pencil drawings an extra dimension. The surface is also perfect for the creamy consistency of wax-based colored pencils, ensuring smooth application and blending.

ProsCons
Mid-tone background enhances contrastMay require different techniques due to the colored background
Good for mixed mediaSlightly more expensive than regular drawing paper
Sturdy construction for heavy applicationSome pencils/colors might look a bit desaturated

For artists looking to explore contrast in their wax-based colored pencil drawings, Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Mixed Media paper is an innovative choice. The gray background provides an intriguing canvas that can give your artwork a unique touch.

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7. Koh-I-Noor Bristol Vellum Bright White Paper Pad

Koh-I-Noor Bristol Vellum Bright White Paper Pad is a heavyweight paper pad with a beautifully smooth surface, perfect for detail-oriented work.

This bright white paper allows colors to stand out and appear more vibrant. The smooth vellum surface is excellent for the soft and creamy nature of wax-based colored pencils, facilitating easy blending and smooth application of color.

ProsCons
Bright white surface enhances color vibrancyMight be too smooth for those who prefer texture
Excellent for detailed workNot ideal for heavy layering
Heavyweight and durableMay be more expensive than other options

If vibrancy and detail are what you seek in your artwork, the Koh-I-Noor Bristol Vellum Bright White Paper Pad could be the perfect companion to your wax-based colored pencils. Its bright white, smooth surface enhances color and enables precise detail, enriching your artistic expression.

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How to Choose the Best Paper for Your Needs

Choosing the right paper for your wax-based colored pencils involves understanding your unique needs as an artist, the nature of your artwork, and your preferred working style. Here are some key factors to consider.

Texture

Different papers have different textures, ranging from smooth to rough. If you're working with wax-based colored pencils, which are known for their soft, creamy texture and easy blending, you might prefer smoother paper. However, slightly textured paper can add interesting effects and help to hold the pigment better, particularly if you're planning on layering colors.

Weight

Paper weight refers to its thickness and durability. Heavier papers resist tearing and can handle more vigorous coloring or numerous layers of pigment. Lighter papers might be more suitable for less intensive work, or if you prefer a lighter, sketchy style.

Color

Most papers come in a standard white, but you can also find a variety of toned papers. Toned papers, like the Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Mixed Media, can add an extra dimension to your artwork and allow you to play with contrast in unique ways.

Price

Finally, consider your budget. Some papers are more expensive than others. However, remember that investing in high-quality paper can elevate the look of your artwork and be more enjoyable to work on.

You can find a more in-depth article on how to choose the best paper for your needs here.

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