Hyper-realism drawing. What is the best paper?

For anyone interested in hyper-realism drawing it is key to use the correct materials to achieve the desired end result. However, talk to any artist and he or she will have differing opinions as to the different types of paper. These will vary from the tooth to the overall feel and weight of the paper when applying their chosen medium. It is up to you to find the one that’s best suited for your hyper-realism drawings.

Hyper-realism papers.

Below are some of the most talked-about substrates for use in hyper-realism drawing.

Strathmore series, Bristol Vellum.

hyper-realism drawing.

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The first on the list, Strathmore series Bristol vellum, ideal for graphite, coloured pencil, pastel, charcoal, and crayon. The tooth of the Strathmore paper grabs the graphite. This allows for the creation of smoother shading and deeper tones as opposed to Strathmore smooth. Strathmore smooth is more suited for mechanical pencil, pen and ink, airbrush, and markers. The minimal tooth on the Strathmore smooth makes the paper more suited to fine line and more detailed drawings. It can also be used or for use with markers. Most artists said they prefered the Strathmore 300, 400 series vellum. This is a mixture of cotton and wood pulp however, if you are looking for a 100% cotton rag paper then go for the Strathmore 500 series.

Arches Hot pressed.

Arches Aquarelle water colour paper for hyper-realism drawing.

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Arches hot pressed is another regular favourite. Primarily it is a watercolour paper that can be used for most wet techniques. These include acrylics and ink, however, due to it having a smoother back, it is also suitable for other mediums such as pencil and charcoal. Arches 140 lb (300 gsm)  hot pressed Watercolor Paper is an archival paper. It is 100% cotton rag and is the favourite choice of the graphite pencil artist J D Hillberry. As with most artists, he uses the reverse side of the paper. It is a lot smoother and has enough tooth to achieve the textures and details required to produce hyper-realistic drawings.


Can I use Fabriano paper for hyper-realism drawing ?

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Another popular choice for hyper-realistic drawing is Fabriano Artistico. Again it is a hot-pressed paper and is primarily a watercolour paper. It is suitable for watercolour, tempera, gouache, acrylic, ink, charcoal, graphite and drawing. It is 100% cotton, acid-free making it an archival paper. With just the right amount of tooth on the paper, it is ideal for building up layers and adding depth to your work.

So, what is the best paper or hyper-realism drawing?

The general consensus of most artists is that any hot pressed watercolour paper is suitable for hyper-realism. As long as the paper’s weight is higher than 80 – 90lbs, 140gsm the graphite can be adequately layered and removed if required. The heavier the paper the thicker it will be. This allows for harder erasing and heavier pencil pressure without thining out the paper or wearing holes in its surface. Smoother papers such as Strathmore smooth are not so well suited as there is little to no tooth which makes application and layering of the graphite very hard which is why a vellum finish is better.

Why should I use hotpressed paper for hyper-realism drawing?

Hot pressed paper is much better suited to hyper-realistic drawing as it has a much smoother surface than a Cold-pressed paper which is a lot rougher. Meaning that by using a hot-pressed paper you are able to create much smoother textures and more defined tonal values when building up layers of graphite.


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