Finishes for Shading Techniques

I work mostly with a graphite pencil, can you give some tips on selecting a drawing paper for shading techniques?

The selection of paper for shading techniques is influenced by the type of pencil used, the degree of darkness desired, the shading technique used and the expression of the shading technique desired. The key here is to select a paper surface (medium or smooth) based upon the effects you’re looking to achieve.

As a general rule, a textured surface will be able to produce a more even, more luminescent shade than a smooth surface. These types of surfaces are usually chosen for
shading as the texture of the paper makes shading easier and produces a greater range of tone that can be more evenly applied.

The higher the grade of textured paper surfaces the deeper and more even the resulting shading will be. While all
three Strathmore® grades – 300, 400 and 500 – will produce even, deep, luminescent shades, the 500 Series papers will produce the richest and
deepest shade.

The smoother the paper grain the more difficult it will be to produce an even shade. Although smooth papers can produce good results with graphite, they cannot produce as great a range of tone (shade) as textured surface paper. A smooth surface is very good for pen and ink as well as marker.

Strathmore Medium Surface Drawing Paper
Even, medium textured surface. Random surface produces subtle, rich shades that are expressive with great luminosity and sensitivity.

Strathmore Bristol Vellum
Medium textured surface. Random surface, with texture that is slightly more pronounced (peaks and valleys slightly further apart than drawing paper), enabling paper to handle very soft graphite pencils. Produces shades that are extremely expressive, but not as sensitive as Strathmore medium surface drawing paper.

Smooth Paper Surface
The higher the grade of smooth surface paper, the smoother the paper surface. While all three Strathmore grades – 300, 400 and 500 – are smooth, the 500 Series paper is the smoothest. The smoother the paper the more difficult it is to produce an even shade.

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