Hello lovely people, welcome to the latest sweary paper review.
This time it’s Bockingford Hot Press 300 gsm – a watercolour paper I’m testing for mixed media drawing in ink/gouache and pencil. TL;DR version is up here, full review is below the finished drawing.
I’m also going to briefly discuss Global Fluid hot press paper – it’s one I use all the time for ink and painting, yet I disliked so much for colour pencil, I didn’t finish the test drawing! For completeness though, I wrote up the deets & TL;DR review for it.
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[content warning; profanity]
BOCKINGFORD HOT PRESS WATERCOLOURPAPER 300 GSM (OFF-WHITE)
Source; Jackson’s art online
Description; acid-free smooth hot press finish mould-made paper, heavyweight 300gsm, intended for watercolour/wet media.
Price; £5.20 for 12 sheets 5x7 inch (spendy)
Compared to my current fav spendy drawing paper - Stonehenge smooth vellum fine art paper 250gsm at £10.20 for 15 sheets 5x7 inch – it’s cheaper but it had a lotta work to do to catch up to that.
TL;DR review; I’m sure this is a great watercolour paper, but that’s not what this review is about. Gonna be honest; didn’t like it for colour pencil drawing at all. Too spongey, and the surface gave way too quickly under the pencil point. This is def one to leave to the watercolourists.
Blue tack test; 3 out of 3, no tearing on the finished side, although one corner did tear where it was tacked to the board!.
Shading test; got through 5 colours but really started to break up after 6. Compare to the cheaper and theoretically less sturdy Strathmore medium drawing paper, which just about lasted 8 layers. Not very twatting impressive.
What did I draw; a small beetle in polychromos colour pencils over an indian ink pattern (below.) Also included in the full review is a multicoloured abstract doodle I made on the same paper a while back.
GLOBAL FLUID HOT PRESS WATERCOLOURPAPER 300 GSM (WHITE)
Source; Jackson’s art online
Description; acid-free smooth hot press finish heavyweight 300gsm, intended for watercolour.
Price; £5.00 for 15 sheets 4x6 inch (spendy)
TL;DR review; I love using this paper for making ink and/or watercolour patterns, often then drawing over them with graphite pencil. So I figured I’d give it a try for colour pencil. BIG MISTAKE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Much as I love it for other things; this paper is too slippery & unforgiving for colour pencil. Zero tooth even by hot press standards - not even the merest whisper of texture. Fuck this shit for colour pencil drawing, I didn’t finish a drawing on it. Skipped the tests, bleh. Saving this just for ink/paint from now on.
FULL REVIEW (BOCKINGFORD ONLY)
I’ll be honest, I didn’t like this paper for colour pencil drawing.
I got bought an A4 and 5x7 pad of it, so yknow... I never turn down a gift of drawing materials - and I doodled on it in colour pencil happily enough when I wasn’t really trying to achieve anything much. But for this review, I was actually trying to draw A Thing that looked like A Thing. Specifically a beetle on an ink pattern, with all the usual beetley details. And sorry but; fuckaduck, no this was not the paper for that.
***In fairness to Bockingford, this paper is not marketed for colour pencil art, or indeed any pencil.***
However, as mentioned previously, there are other watercolour and mixed media papers I very much enjoy using for pencil work (I’m thinking Fabriano Artistico, & Canson Imagine off the top of my head). It seems to be a bit hit or tittyfucking miss though… And now I’m actually trying to compare things systematically side-by-side… I’m not sure many water media papers are actually gonna be in my top 5. I do use watercolour so I’ll still have a use for them, it’s just a shame they’re not great for drawing too.
Anyway. Back to this paper right here. My main issue was that I don’t like the feel of it when I’m trying to render detail. It feels oddly spongey under the pencil point. Bleh. Also it only lasted 5 full layers on the shading test. I use a lot of layers, and where there were pointy details on this beetle, the paper surface was fraying (like my nerves when I was tryna finish this piece.) That seems a bit pants to me given it’s a heavy-ass, prepared and sized, fancy paper, but meh… Like I say, pencil is not it’s intended purpose, so I can’t be too harsh. Consequently though, I skipped some of the finer details. I didn’t want to end up poking holes in the paper. Which is a shame. I feel bad for the toktokkie beetle I drew, I’ll have to draw one again!
Welp, this ain’t the shit for me. I’ll save the pads I have for watercolour/ink work – much like the Global Fluid hot press I mention in the TL;DR reviews. The paper I like most for drawing in colour pencil these days is still Stonehenge fine art paper, then. I’m also still drawing on Fabriano Artistico Hot Press (which I’ll be reviewing in due course) which *is* a watercolour paper that’s good for drawing in colour pencil… But it might be the last one standing at this rate!
Below is the doodle I mentioned earlier made on the larger pad. It came out OK, so I guess if you don’t want to use too many layers of shading with fine details over it… You might be OK? I dunno though. I’ll be leaving it for water media tbh.