The most suitable papers for drawing with charcoal are the rugged papers, because the irregularities on the paper retain the charcoal (carbon) particles, on the other hand, on smooth papers the charcoal stroke is hardly noticeable. The rougher the paper is, the darker the strokes, since the amount of charcoal retained in the sheet will be greater, but excessive roughness difficult blur spots, making it necessary to find a balance between the stroke force and the medium handling convenience.
The laid papers and the general drawing papers give excellent results, but we must avoid the glossy papers, the smooth papers or the watercolor paper with thick grain. The easiest way to have better results is to use drawing blocks with average quality and low cost and as long as the paper surface is not too smooth. It is also possible to use wrapping paper (brown color), which is very economical and useful for big sketches.
In the market, we can find drawing blocks in several sizes, from pocket formats to the studio blocks, indicated for large drawings and sketches. Charcoal enhances the texture of the paper; if the texture is interesting, the lines will be greatly appreciated.
The handmade papers for drawing
Fine arts shops usually serve varieties of handmade papers for drawing, which are characterized by irregular sides at all edges, which means they have been manufactured sheet by sheet. These papers used to present a fairly thick grain, but perfectly adequate for charcoal drawing and they are often expensive papers indicated for jobs that require a special finish.
Papers for drawing sketches
For been an easy and speed medium, which works with small or large formats, charcoal is the most used medium for sketches or preliminary tests. To perform such tests, the artists prefer to use economic papers which allow the careless drawings. One of the most economical and desirable options is the brown paper sold in rolls of 10 or more meters offering a surface for working with charcoal, and a color that blends harmoniously with black and gray drawing.
Four varieties of drawing papers for working with charcoal are: watercolor paper, it is a mighty support offered energetic finishes. The texture of a kind Ingres drawing paper is ideal for drawing in charcoal. The Canson paper (grain class C), is more rugged but equally suitable for work in charcoal. Finally, watercolor paper medium grain provides an intermediate roughness and a pleasant texture.