Sweary drawing paper review; Strathmore medium surface drawing paper 130gsm

Hello lovely people,

Welcome to another sweary drawing paper review. This time it’s a Strathmore medium paper, one of three kinds I’m trying from this brand. TL;DR version is up here, full review is below the finished drawing.

[Content warning; profanity]

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STRATHMORE MEDIUM SURFACE DRAWING PAPER (OFF-WHITE)

Source; Jackson’s art online

Description; acid-free medium finish paper for dry media, creamy off-white colour, says “heavy weight” - but at 130 gsm? Mate... This is drawing paper not printer paper, so I think the fuck not.

Price; £5.70 for 24 8x10 inch sheets (mid-range)

TL;DR review; does what it says on the tin - good with dry media for sketches/finished work. I liked it, but for me personally; I prefer brighter white paper for work destined for print. Plus it’s not as good as the Stonehenge from last time for detailed commission work. So what does that leave for it? I’m going to keep it as an affordable paper to draw less finicky-detail-heavy work, and for sketching. It’s still pretty good for the price, and it’s the kind of paper that stops me obsessing too much over tiny details because it’s too rough for any of my bullshit.

Blue tack test; 3 out of 3, no tearing.

Shading test; survived 8 colours well. But by the end there was some fluffing (of the paper fibres, get your minds out of the gutter you dirty sods) where the pencil point started to distrurb things.

Strathmore medium paper tests; the blue tack and shading tests determine how well the surface of paper keeps its shit together.

Strathmore medium paper tests; the blue tack and shading tests determine how well the surface of paper keeps its shit together.

What did I draw? A teeny illustration of the hawkmoth species Pergesa acteus, in polychromos oil-based pigment pencils. Patreon patrons will find a digital print of this moth in their May round-up post. Some WIP for this piece is in the drawing experience section below.

Image description; the green and brown hawkmoth Pergesa acteus, drawn in colour pencil.

FULL REVIEW

Drawing experience

This paper is not as smooth as I usually use, but it’s a good middle ground for pencil work between a smooth/hot press, and cold-press watercolour paper. It’s rough enough to hang onto pastel/charcoal/carbon black pencils, as well as graphite & colour pencil. But it’s not sooo rough that I end up drawing patches instead of patterns, which tends to happen on cold press watercolour paper. And I mean fair enough, that’s not what those papers are designed for. But given a fuck of lot of us drawing types do use watercolour papers sometimes; if you’re looking for a surface between hot and cold-press for drawing, this might be for you.

WIP from drawing the moth picture above

WIP from drawing the moth picture above

However, it’s not as easy to render extremely small details, and you know me, I tend to over-obsess about those. So my first impression was; this is an ideal sketching paper! I mean it has to be sketching, otherwise I’d have to remember that it doesn’t take detail as well to avoid twatting things up, and thanks to my spine meds/chronic pain… I have all the short-term memory of a small fucking block of cheese. (That’s why you can see 101 thing written down around my easel in some drawing videos!) This paper doesn’t take so kindly to layering very fine lines by repeatedly using a pin-sharp colour pencil, or my beloved 0.3mm mech pencil. Unfortunately for this paper, I do like layering. Also it has that cheese-grater effect on the tip of colour pencils. So much sharpening. So. Much.

Drawing on a smaller pad of the same paper in the doctor’s waiting room. It’s cheap enough that I’m prepared to subject it to the mayhem of my travel bag!

Drawing on a smaller pad of the same paper in the doctor’s waiting room. It’s cheap enough that I’m prepared to subject it to the mayhem of my travel bag!

That said, I enjoyed using it; it feels comfortable enough for drawing on the go, because it has a good sturdy hardback on the spiral-bound pads (see above for a graphite travel doodle). And because it isn’t too spendy - or too heavy - I was less worried about getting bends/creases in it (something which really pisses me off about some heavier papers that I otherwise love.) Also… It’s not a bad thing to have a paper that encourages me to draw more loosely. I need to remember I can draw in the moment, and not every gahdammed tittyfucking thing has to be detailed down to the tiniest dot!

More WIP on that moth. Gotta love the greens!

More WIP on that moth. Gotta love the greens!

My overall feeling about this paper; it’s good for what it says it’s good for, but don’t expect too much, y’all. It does what it says on the tin; it’s good for dry media for sketches/finished work, but with the caveat that you really can’t overwork your layers/detail on it.

I liked it, but personally, the colour was also an issue. I prefer bright white paper for work destined for print, because that reduces the amount of colour adjustment I need to do later in the editing phases. (My kickstarter backers can tell you exactly how much I. Do. Not. Love. Editing.) And given it’s not as good as the Stonehenge from last time for detailed commission work, it’s probably not going to show up for finished pieces. So I’m going to keep it as an affordable paper to draw less finicky-detail-heavy work on, and for sketching. Cos it’s still pretty good for the price, and it’s the kind of paper that stops me obsessing too much over tiny details because it’s too rough for any of my bullshit.

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Insecta deck Kickstarter is live!

In the event you haven’t seen me bouncing across the internet with this anywhere else yet; my Insecta deck Kickstarter is live, woo! So if you want to get 56 cards full of my imaginary insects, come say hi here. Thanks to everyone who’s already pledged, I’m so excited to finally share this project with you :D