Best affordable paper for drawing with markers?
November 4, 2020 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I have some decent markers (Blick Studio and Copic). I never use them because most paper seems to slurp so much color out of them. Is there something similar to marker paper but cheaper?

I'm just learning and playing around, so I'm reluctant to spend a lot; on the other hand, I tend to keep everything, so I prefer it not be crummy paper that'll yellow in a week.

I'd like a paper texture that works well with markers and allows blending without a lot of bleeding or absorbing a ton of color from the marker.

(If I'm just being unrealistic and 20-30 cents a sheet is just what it costs, feel free to tell me that.)

So - what's the best inexpensive paper for drawing with markers?

posted by kristi to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My friend uses Canson brand paper and art books, says they're cheap and good, especially if found below list price. Doing the math I guess they do work out to 10-20 cents a page depending on size. He likes using the thicker paper but does say it drains the marker faster.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:27 AM on November 4, 2020

Best answer: I don't know a lot about markers, but I do know a thing or two about inkjet printing.

Paper that performs well for inkjet printing will probably also perform relatively well for markers. On the low end, regular inkjet stock will tend to have smaller fibers to reduce bleed, vs laser paper, where surface smoothness is the relevant factor. Bleed not only loses details but also messes with colors basically through the same mechanism as paper chromatography.

Higher end inkjet paper is coated to keep the ink from soaking in. Using markers on it is a delight - they don't soak in at all and the colors are super vivid. The best deal I've found on high quality glossy photo paper is from Costco where it's still 18¢ a page so maybe that's not better than marker paper.

I've also had reasonably good results with middle of the road coated paper such as Epson Presentation Paper which is 13¢ a sheet.

I did a test with some cheap markers. Note how smooth the texture is and how bright the colors are on the coated photo paper. I guess I don't especially recommend the presentation paper, after this test! It performs a little better than regular paper, but not enough to be worth while. I don't have ay marker paper, and didn't even know it was a thing until now, so take everything I said with a grain of salt.
posted by aubilenon at 10:40 AM on November 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Canson, especially their Pochette selection, if you can find it. The Pochette range is a budget envelope (hence the name) of cut sheets of their paper meant for students. They are quite a bit cheaper than regular Canson paper, perhaps because they are trimmed to office paper sizes rather than art sizes.

They're not very easy to find in North America. If you can find them anywhere, maybe art stores near colleges, or even college bookstores. The paper is lovely, and they do a Bristol-finish paper for a really good price. The intention is, of course, to get you used to working with Canson paper as a student so you stick with it and buy it for the rest of your creative life — at full price.
posted by scruss at 11:10 AM on November 4, 2020

Best answer: Yupo is great for this and won't break the bank.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 12:06 PM on November 4, 2020

Best answer: Another vote for inkjet photo paper. Where I am, there are always boxes of it at thrift stores for next to nothing.
posted by bethnull at 3:18 PM on November 4, 2020

Best answer: Bienfang makes pads especially for markers, it's very smooth but on the translucent side. No bleeding.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:47 PM on November 4, 2020

Best answer: Get cover stock at staples or other office supply. It's like regular 8.5x11 (or 11x17 too) but thicker. A nice tooth to the surface with some want that for richer color..flip it over and color again on the back where you want deeper color. A ream is usu about $13 for like 250 sheets (the 11x17 is usu a bit more but IIRC only like 125 shts.)
posted by sexyrobot at 6:04 PM on November 6, 2020

Response by poster: Thank you all for your GREAT answers!

Special thanks to aubilenon for going to the trouble of demonstrating different types of paper. I appreciate it!

I've ordered some Epson Presentation Paper and some Bienfang Maker Paper, and I have the Caslon on my list (couldn't find the Pochette, but I may go ahead and try what I CAN find). And when I searched for the Yupo, I found this great mini pad sampler, which I'm very excited about.

Thank you all again for sharing your experiences - I'm really looking forward to trying these!
posted by kristi at 12:51 PM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

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