I have been using the charcoal medium for long number of years. Over a period of time and having experimented with a variety of surfaces, I finally zeroed in on a selected few which are now my favorites. It is not that these are the only papers that go best for charcoal medium but for my kind of work and technique I have personally found them good. Each artist has his/her personal likes and dislikes. One has to keep trying out something new.
The papers I use these days are
- Canson C a grain paper. I came across this paper in 2004 and have used it for pencil as well as charcoal works. It has two sides and both sides have slightly different textures. I purchased my full size sheets from Singapore but this paper is easily available in India. Art Lounge at Churchgate keeps all different kinds of Canson papers.
I use a 220 gsm sheet but 120 sheet is equally good in the beginning.
Charcoal work of Coorg landscape done on Canson C a grain paper
- Fabriano Academia paper. After having used Canson paper I was looking out for some new paper when I came across Fabriano Academia pad of 50 sheets. ( 120 gsm ). It was different from Canson C a grain, nevertheless the sandy textured surface helped in creating beautiful charcoal strokes. I have been using this paper since the last four to five years and am pretty satisfied with the results.
Charcoal sketching on Fabriano Academia paper
- Strathmore paper. This paper was recommended to me by a friend who is into art and presently resides in USA. I was keen on using this paper so very recently got a Strathmore pad via a friend and after using it for my landscape works, realised that it is a definite yes for my kind of works.
The paper as shown in the image can be used for soft pastels as well but my soft pastel
paintings are generally done on toned paper.
Charcoal sketching of a scene from Bharatpur created on
So in all presently I use only these three surfaces for my charcoal works but at the same time I
I am open to new papers. You never know until you try. May be in future when my
technique evolves I would want to shift some new surface, some new paper but until
then probably I confine myself to these three brands.