Strathmore Art Blog is a resource for artists to find more information about our products such as newly released items, frequently asked questions, greener options and helpful technical information. We also create articles of interest including artist features, project ideas, events and contests.


| Acrylic | News | Products |

The Ultimate Printmaking Giveaway

Scroll down to enter for a chance to win our ULTIMATE PRINTMAKING GIVEAWAY that is loaded with all the goodies you need to get your creative mark-making on! A special thank you to Golden Artist Colors, Gelli Arts, and The Crafter's Workshop who generously donated products so we could put together this drool-worthy prize package that includes everything you need to get started: paper, cards, buttery paints, 2 round gel printing plates, 5 stencils, and a 4” rubber brayer.    

Entry for giveaway ends at 11:59pm CST on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.

SIX names will be randomly selected to win the following items:

Here's a bit more about the goodies you could win:

Strathmore Printmaking Pads, Cards & Palette Paper:
Strathmore ProductsOur 5"x7" Lightweight Printmaking paper (120gsm) is perfect for practicing, proofing and relief printing. Our 8"x10" Heavyweight Printmaking paper (280gsm) is great for any type of printmaking technique. It can be soaked prior to printing, and has a soft, absorbant surface. Our full sized Printmaking Cards are made of the same 280gsm paper as our 400 Series Printmaking Pads. The package includes a total of 75 cards that are 5"x6.875", and 75 matching 5.25" x 7.25" envelopes. 

Our 300 Series Palette Paper pad contains 40 poly-coated sheets that are 41lb (67gsm). They are to be used as disposable paint-mixing palettes, and work perfectly with the Golden Open acrylics and a brayer. 

Golden OPEN Acrylics:
Golden Open Acrylics
OPEN Acrylics are high-quality, slow-drying paints with a soft, buttery consistency. The increased working time of these colors expands their range to include more traditional techniques once only possible with oils. The slow-drying capability of OPEN Acrylics also makes them suitable for some printmaking techniques, including monoprinting with Gelli Plates. 

Gelli Arts Round Gel Printing Plates:
Gelli Plates
Gel Printing Plates looks and feel like gelatin, but are durable, reusable and store at room temperature. Spread paint on the surface with a brayer or palette knife, add stencils or designs, and press paper on top to create a print. It's easy to clean and always ready for printing. The round design of these 4" and 6" plates open up new, fun possibilities for monoprints!

The Crafter's Workshop Stencils & Masks:
The Crafter's Workshop Stencils
Stencils from the Crafter's Workshop are perfect compliments to Gel Printing Plates. Included in this prize package are 3 of the small stencil designs and two 6"x 6" stencils. Place them above, below, or inbetween your layers of paint on your Gel Printing Plate to create masks and unique designs. They can be easily rinsed clean with water.

To round it all out, we are also including a 4" Hard Rubber Brayer for each winner. 

Enter below for a chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Printmaking FAQ & Techniques

| Artist Tips | FAQ | Printmaking | Technical Paper Info |

We recently introduced a full line of Printmaking papers that covers the range of needs from beginners to professionals. We have some very helpful downloadable PDF's available that explain printmaking terminology, different printmaking techniques, and methods for creating monotypes.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the downloadable PDFs. 

Our full line of Printmaking papers includes a lightweight 300 Series paper, a heavyweight 400 Series paper, and a 100% cotton 500 Series paper. Each paper in the line serves a unique purpose:

300 Series Printmaking Pads300 Series Printmaking
-Lightweight, 120gsm
-Perfect for practicing & proofing: If you don't want to risk using high-end, expensive paper for your proofs, the 300 Series is a great, affordable option that will still perform in a way that allows you to see how your final print will turn out.
-Also great for relief printing
-Available in pads: Since the 300 Series printmaking is availalbe in pre-cut, ready-frame pad sizes, the artist does not need to tear or trim sheets down, which helps save time and elimnate waste. It also makes it easier for artists to store the paper.
-Pad sizes include: 5"x7", 8"x10", 11"x14" and 18"x24".
-Made in the USA

400 Series Printmaking400 Series Printmaking:
-Heavyweight, 280gsm
-Perfect for all types of printmaking techniques: The 400 Series Printmaking paper is manufactured to stand up to any type of printmaking process, yet it is more affordable than a traditional printmaking paper because it is a wood pulp sheet versus a cotton sheet. It can withstand soaking prior to printing, and has a soft, absorbant surface that works beautifully with printmaking inks.
-Available in pads: Since the 400 Series printmkaing paper is also availalbe in pre-cut, ready-frame pad sizes, the artist does not need to tear or trim sheets down, saving time and elimnating waste. It also makes it easier for artists to store the paper. 
-Pad sizes include: 5"x7", 8"x10", 11"x14" and 18"x24". Also available in full sized 22"x30" sheets.
-Made in the USA

500 Series Printmaking500 Series Printmaking:
-Heavyweight, 280gsm
-100% cotton
-Perfect for all types of printmaking techniques: The 500 Series Printmaking paper performs for any type of printmaking process and can be soaked prior to printing. It is a super soft, absorbant sheet that is durable and has two deckled edges. 
-Available in sheets: 20"x30"
-Made in the USA

Prominent Artist Users of Strathmore

| advertising | Strathmore History | vintage |

One of the fun things about working with a brand that has a long history is looking back at the advertising of the past. Strathmore Artist Papers was founded in 1892, so looking through our archives is like a history class in American papermaking and advertising! A favorite campaign of ours is the “Prominent Artist Users of Strathmore” series of ads that ran in the 1950s and 1960s. Each ad featured a photo and information on a renowned professional artist and the reasons they trusted Strathmore for their work. Artists included fine artist Andrew Wyeth, graphic designer Saul Bass, and illustrators Albert Staehl and Norman Rockwell among others.


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Stretching Watercolor Paper

| Artist Tips | FAQ | Technical Paper Info | Watercolor |

Erik Davis Watercolorartwork by Erik Davis

What does it mean to stretch watercolor paper? Why & how should it be done?

Many artists soak or stretch their watercolor paper prior to painting. This is typically done on lighter-weight watercolor sheets to stop the paper from buckling when wet media is applied to the surface.

When watercolor is added, the moisture causes the surface to expand slightly on the wet side. The other side remains dry, causing bowing and buckling. This can be difficult for the artist to work with because the paint pools in valleys on the paper. Typically lighter weight sheets are more susceptible to buckling with heavy applications of water.

To resolve this issue, watercolor paper can be “soaked and stretched” so it remains completely flat when the artist begins painting.

Method 1 – Stretching paper to use later


  • Watercolor paper
  • Large clean tray for water: tray should have one dimension slightly longer than the smallest dimension of your sheet. For example, if you’re using an 11”x15” sheet of paper, your tray should be just over 11” on one side
    • If you don’t have a tray, you can use a spray bottle instead
    • Clean water
    • Gummed paper tape/ butcher tape
    • Paper towel or a sponge
    • Sturdy board that won’t bend or warp that is just larger than your sheet – examples:
      • Polystyrene Board
      • Gatorboard
      • Plexiglas
      • Lexan
      • Marine Ply
  1. Soak the sheet in a tray of clean, cold water. If your entire sheet does not fit inside the tray, hold the sheet at both ends and dip one end into the water. Pull the sheet through the water multiple times until each part has been fully submerged and the sheet is evenly soaked. If your sheet fits completely in the tray, set it inside to be fully submerged in the water. Sheets that are 90lb/190gsm or lighter can soak for about 3 minutes. Sheets that are 140lb/300gsm or heavier can soak up to 8 minutes.

    Do not touch the surface of the paper while it is soaking. The paper becomes more fragile when wet and the oil from your fingers can show up as finger marks on the final painting. Consider wearing latex gloves during the soaking process. 

  2. Carefully drain the water and place the soaked sheet on a clean, sturdy board.

  3. Use a clean paper towel or sponge to blot excess water from the sheet.

  4. Lightly wet gummed paper tape or butcher tape with a sponge or paintbrush (do not soak or use too much water on the tape as it will wash away the adhesive). Place along all four outer edges of the paper, covering just about ¼” of the paper.

  5. Let the paper dry overnight. Once the paper is dry, it will be stretched tight on the board and will not warp when watercolor is added. Create your painting while the sheet is still taped to the board. After your painting is completely dry, cut away the taped edges using a ruler and an X-acto knife. If you want to keep the existing edge of the paper, you can re-wet the tape and very carefully pull it up from the paper. 

*If you don’t have a tray to use, you can place the sheet directly on your clean, sturdy board. Use a spray bottle with clean water to fully soak both sides of the sheet. Then follow steps 3-5 above.

Method 2 – Stretching paper to use immediately


  • Watercolor paper
  • Large brush
  • Clean water
  • Paper towel
  • Sturdy board that won’t bend or warp that is just larger than your sheet – examples:
    • Polystyrene Board
    • Gatorboard
    • Plexiglas
    • Lexan
    • Marine Ply

 Lay your sheet of watercolor paper over the board.

  1. Using a large brush, saturate the front of the sheet completely with water (you can’t use too much, so be generous). Turn the paper over and do the same on the back side.

  2. Turn the sheet back over and let it sit face up for about 15 minutes.

  3. Roll 2 layers of clean paper towel over the sheet of paper and firmly press on all areas of the sheet to soak up any excess water.

  4. Start your painting while the sheet is still damp. 

Master Penman Jake Weidmann - Calligraphy Demo

| Calligraphy | Featured Artists | Products | Writing |

Jake Weidmann

Jake Weidmann is 1 of 11 Master Penman in the world. We were fortunate enough to have Jake demoing in our booth at the 2015 Art Materials World Show where he worked on our new line of Strathmore Writing papers. 

Watch this short video which features Jake scribing the words "Ornamental Penmanship." 

Here is the finished piece:
Ornamental Penmanship


Jake created a beautiful assortment while he was in our booth:

Jake Weidmann's Pieces

Beauty in the Written Form

Jake Weidmann Bird

The Hand Romances the Eye


Flourish Daily

Jake is not only a talented calligrapher, but also an incredibly talented artists, sculptor and woodworker. Click here to see more of his work on his website. 

To learn more about the Writing products that Jake demoed on, click here
Strathmore Writing

Pass the Journal

| Books & Art Journals | Featured Artists | News | Pass the Journal |

Gay Kraeger Journal PageThe first entry in Journal 5 by Artist Gay Kraeger

We are excited to announce that Pass the Journal has officially begun! We sent our Mixed Media Art Journals to 12 different artists and gave them a task:

  1. Create art across a page spread
  2. Upload it to the Pass the Journal website where it will be tracked with a pin mark on a map
  3. Pass it on to another artist to continue the cycle

When you click the pin marks on the tracking map for each book, the artwork for that location is displayed as well as the profile of the artist who created the piece. The contributing artists have the choice of who to pass the journal to next. We’ll be following all 12 book’s journeys on the maps and we can’t wait to see where they all end up! Follow along with us and see the artwork inside the books! 


Pass the Journal

The Spring Artist Newsletter

| Artist Tips | Colored Pencil | FAQ | Featured Artists | Newsletter | Products | Writing |

The cold, long days of winter are fading away, so grab this fresh and inspiring Issue of the Artist Newsletter and find a nice spot outside to dig in! Click here to download.

Spring Newsletter

In this Issue, featured artist Patti Mollica talks about how she developed her bold and fearless painting style.

Patti is also the Instructor for Workshop 2 of our FREE 2015 Online Workshops, which means you can follow along as she creates 4 bold and expressive acrylic paintings while sharing her expert tips and techniques.


Also in this Issue, learn about our new line of beautiful, 25% cotton Writing products.


See our exciting new collaborative art project called “Pass the Journal”, and check out our new Colored Pencil videos created by artist Sarah Becktel in the Questions from our Website section.

Click here to download the Artist Newsletter!

New Colored Pencil How To Videos

| Artist Tips | Colored Pencil | Drawing | FAQ | Technical Paper Info |

We are excited to share 5 new videos created by Strathmore's Art Educator and Colored Pencil expert Sarah Becktel. In these short, 2-5 minute videos, Sarah explains her colored pencil tips and techniques for choosing the right paper, getting started, blending, and using water soluble colored pencils. 

Video 1: How to Choose Paper for Colore Pencil:

Video 2: Getting Started with Colored Pencil

Video 3: Dry Methods for Blending Colored Pencil

Video 4: Blending Colored Pencil with Solvents

Video 5: How to use Water Soluble Colored Pencils (Watercolor Pencils)

See Sarah's awesome artwork on her site:

The Art of the Ghost Army of WWII

| Art History | Drawing | Ghost Army | Watercolor |


“We were sleeping in hedgerows and foxholes, but nothing kept us away from going someplace to do a watercolor.”

- John Jarvie, Corporal - 23rd Headquarters Special Troops

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After the war John Jarvie spent thirty years as an art director for Fairchild Publications, owner of Women’s Wear Daily



In the summer of 1944 the U.S. Army recruited a hand picked group of men, many from top art schools and advertising agencies, for a special assignment. In the new book The Ghost Army of World War II, authors Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles tell the story of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, nicknamed “The Ghost Army.” They were a unique troop tasked with misleading the German army via a host of deception tactics.

The Ghost Army, containing 1,100 soldiers, would impersonate armored divisions containing 15,000 or 20,000 soldiers.  The goal was to deceive the enemy about the strength and location of American units. The Ghost Army, comprised of three units: radio, sonic, and visual deception, was kept secret from the rest of the army during the entire war.

The visual deception unit used inflatable tanks, jeeps, and artillery to create the illusion of a large, armored division. They painstakingly created tank and truck tracks with bulldozers to insure the deception was complete. They made fake uniform patches and painted numbers on trucks to add to the appearance of legitimacy. They frequented local cafes and bars with the intention of “leaking” information for German spies.

The sonic unit blasted recorded sounds of heavy equipment on the move via loud speaker.

The radio unit was comprised of radio operators sending the corresponding transmissions the Germans would expect to intercept with a large troop movement.

All the units were incredibly meticulous. Any slip in the deception would have been disastrous as they had no heavy weapons to defend themselves. From June of 1944 to March of 1945 over the course of 21 missions, they suffered only 3 fatalities and a few dozen injuries.

When the artists of the Ghost Army had free time, they spent it drawing and painting the local landscape, people, and their fellow soldiers. Several of them went on to very successful careers including Ellsworth Kelly, Bill Blass, Jack Masey, Arthur Singer, and Art Kane. The drawings and paintings are a rich archive of their experiences in The Ghost Army.


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To learn more about this fascinating story, read The Ghost Army of World War II by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles.

All images from The Ghost Army of World War II by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2015.tl_files/content/blog/2015 Blog/GhostArmy_grp-pic-now.jpg

Ghost Army veterans, plus the author, Rick Beyer - April 2015

From left to right: Jack Masey, Seymour Nussenbaum, Nick Leo, John Jarvie, Rick Beyer, and Gil Seltzer


Introducing Strathmore® Writing

| Books & Art Journals | Calligraphy | Lined Paper | Stationery | Writing |


For centuries, hand written letters were the primary way people communicated over distances. However, in the last few decades emails, text messages and social media posts have proliferated to the point of becoming the primary manner of written communication. With this recent shift, people have come to appreciate mindful communication even more – giving new significance to the act of hand writing with pen and ink, the art of hand lettering, and sending and receiving physical mail.                  

There is a certain charm and significance that digital communication can’t match given the extra effort it takes to put pen to paper. In this digital age who doesn’t love getting a real letter or seeing characters artfully formed on a page? It carries with it a special fondness, authenticity, and aspect of nostalgia.

Using ink to write on a real surface is a richly rewarding and interactive experience. To celebrate thoughtful communication, the timeless art of calligraphy, and the physical act of putting tangible ink to beautiful paper, we are introducing a full line of high-quality cream writing papers.  The range of formats in the Strathmore Writing line allows individuals to share this special form of communication with others or keep their own personal chronicles. 

Strathmore® Writing is available in the following formats:

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Learn more about the entire line here.