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The Role of Paper

Paper has long been a standard tool for artists. In some cases, it is the art. (Think origami.) In other cases, it's the surface where your art goes. Let's first think about paper as the art itself. A few years ago the Museum of Arts and Design in New York offered an exhibit called "Slash: Paper Under the Knife." The idea of the exhibit was to examine "the pulse of the international art world's renewed interest in paper as a creative medium and source of artistic inspiration, examining the remarkably diverse use of paper in a range of art forms." The exhibit took a look at "unusual paper treatments, including works that are burned, torn, cut by lasers, and shredded." In creating such works of art, an array of papers were used, some of which we will discuss below as some of the papers traditionally used by artist.

As previously mentioned, origami paper can be used to make an array of art. Essentially, origami is a way to take flat paper, fold it, and create amazing sculpture.

Traditionally, just about every artist has a sketch pad. Numerous sketch books are available that can help you get your vision onto paper. Similarly, drawing pads can be very useful for an array of artistic projects. Also good for sketching, drawing, and just doodling are newsprint pads.

If charcoal is your medium, you'll want a charcoal pad. These pads are also great for oil crayon and other dry media. Watercolor paper can be used for dry mediums, too, though it is obviously suited for acrylics and mixed media, too. Watercolor paper typically comes in sheets, blocks, or pads. Tracing pads can be useful for tracing images, as the name implies, but also for sketching, preliminary drawings, and overlays.

Canson Mi Tientes comes in assorted colors and is typically two sided: Heavy texture for pastel and other broad media on one side; lighter texture for soft pencil on other. It remains recognized as the leading paper for pastel painters. Obviously a number of decorative and textured papers also exist that can be fabulous for art projects. Just decide what your next project is going to be, and then start looking for the paper that best suits your needs.