Top 7 Best Paper for Charcoal Drawing and Sketching
Art Papers

Top 7 Best Paper for Charcoal Drawing and Sketching

Artists love to test all kinds of paper produced. Every paper has its unique characteristics. Best Paper for Charcoal Drawing denser and more textured surface.Some papers such as the Bristol board are not easy to erase. Other papers such as newsprint do not have archival qualities.

Charcoal is a highly rescindable drawing medium that can give you a dark rich tone with enough high contrast. The medium is famous for inspiring gestural and spontaneous marking as well as smudging and soft edges.

If you have not drawn with charcoal before I recommend you give it a try. Not only it offers you to get the best shades, but you can go into more depth than any other drawing medium out there.

Going through a lot of selection of papers can be scary, so how do you get to know which paper is perfect for your drawing?. The solution to these questions is a detailed guide below here. So, you go down the post and then decide on the best paper for charcoal drawing.


Strathmore Gray Drawing Toned Sketch PadCheck price on Amazon
Pacon 4794 UCreate Sketch DiaryCheck price on Amazon
Sax Black Drawing Paper,10sheetsCheck price on Amazon
Strathmore 300 Series Charcoal PadCheck price on Amazon


1. Strathmore Gray Drawing 400 Series Toned Sketch Pad:


Starting your artwork using a mid-range tan or gray paper permits for amazing drawing and sketching possibilities by offering a middle value that otherwise the artist will apply. This paper allows you to use a broader range of values ranging from light to dark and middle tone makes it simpler for the artist to intentionally place shadows and highlights.

Holding the value of the paper as one of the values in the sketching not only saves time but allows artists to use graphite or other dark media to push darker values and white pencils or other light media to add highlights. This paper is ideal for both light and dark media including chalk, sketching sticks, markers, china markers, pens, White gel pens, and colored pencils. It is also the best paper for Charcoal and Graphite.

In drawings and sketches, Strathmore 400 series tone sketch papers provide artists the perfect way to take advantage of these benefits. These sheets have a cool gray or warm tan drawing surface and come in a very broad range of formats making them perfect for a variety of applications including life and figure drawing, journaling, quick studies pattern drawing, and even card making.


  • Weighs by 80lb.
  • Sized by 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Product dimensions are 8.5 x 0.75 x 6.63 inches
  • Gray color
  • Contains 50 sheets in a pad
  • 100 percent recycled
  • Contains 30% post-consumer fiber


  • The gray color of sheets permits for amazing drawing possibilities
  • Suitable for many applications other than drawing
  • The sheets have a very heavyweight
  • Wire bound and perforated sheets allow for easy removal of sheets
  • Come in a range of sizes


  • A little small as compared to other sketchbooks

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2. Pacon 4794 UCreate Sketch Diary:


Pacon 4794 Sketch Diary is the best choice for charcoal pencils and all other dry media such as pastel chalk, and pencils. The sheets are bound by a spiral-bound that helps to keep sketches in one place. This paper is perfect for classroom projects with its sturdy clipboard backing. Moreover, it is also considered to be paper for charcoal sketching.

This heavyweight paper is acid-free and sturdy for long-lasting and archival quality. Whether the newbies who intend to do sketching use this paper or the professionals, it will not disappoint them.


  • Item weight is 0.01 ounces
  • Sized by 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Product dimensions are 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • White sulfite drawing paper
  • Contains 70 sheets in a pad
  • Recyclable
  • Acid-free
  • Includes spiral binding


  • A good size paper to create nice drawings
  • The paper sheets are acid-free
  • The material used is recyclable
  • This paper is perfect for quick drawing and sketches
  • Great for beginner artists


  • The paper is not thick enough for markers

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3. Sax Black Drawing Paper,10sheets:


Sax art supplies believe in enabling beginners to express themselves freely and establish critical skills. They provide the students with the tools they require to help them on their journey of creativity.

Sax art supplies offer you an opportunity to create unique and splendid designs with their Sax Black drawing paper. This 100 percent recycled paper mostly accepts dry media including white charcoal, colored pencils, and pastel pencils.

The heavyweight black drawing surface gives the opportunity of creating eye-catching contrast when used with charcoal or pastels. The medium tooth sheets are chlorine and acid-free and have good erasability.

The sheets are very thick and durable perfect for white charcoal. It also works great with acrylic paint but as it has a very smooth surface so it is not very suitable for Stonehenge or Arches watercolor.


  • Weighs by 105lb.
  • Sized by 19.5 x 27.5 inches
  • Product dimensions are 27.60 x 19.70 x 0.20 inches
  • Black colored
  • Contains 10 sheets in a pad
  • Recyclable
  • Acid-free
  • Made of sulfite material
  • Loose sheets style


  • Sheets consist of environmentally friendly material
  • Black background stands out when used with lighter hues
  • Works great when used for vibrant colored pencil techniques


  • The paper has very less tooth

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4. Strathmore 300 Series Charcoal Pad:


Strathmore as you may know has always been the best quality paper. The choice of paper is the most important decision an artist makes in finding the outcome of their work. Whatever medium you choose Strathmore will increase your artistic efforts.

It is a student grade paper with natural white color perfect for pastel and charcoal art. Its sturdy, hard surface also makes it perfect for crayons and oil pastels. It comes with a wire-bound or glue-bound.

The Strathmore 300 series paper pad is best for artists of all levels and will help you bring your imagination into life. The paper pad is totally acid-free and sized by 9 x 12 inches.


  • Weighs by 64lb.
  • Sized by 9 x 12 inches
  • Product dimensions are 11.8 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • White-colored
  • Contains 32 sheets in a pad
  • Acid-free
  • Wire bound


  • This paper offers the best quality
  • The ideal paper to Draw with Charcoal
  • The paper has a slightly yellowish shade that most of the artists love to work with
  • The tooth holds charcoal and pastels very well


  • The paper is slightly thin as compared to other papers

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5. US Art Supply Premium Heavy-Weight Charcoal Paper Pad:


U.S art supply always supplies low cost and high-quality art materials to worldwide consumers. Whatever medium you select for your artwork, U.S Art Supply will offer premium quality.

This paper has a tap bound on the top for the easy removal of sheets and to keep drawings safe in one place. The Acid-free paper is designed to accept all charcoal and pastel media. Moreover, its surface texture is ideal for graphite, sketching sticks, soft charcoal, and colored pencils.

The one pack of paper comes with 32 sheets in one pack. The sheet’s weight is enough to hold any media nicely. This paper provides you a range of opportunities for creating your dream sketches and designs with perfection.


  • Weighs 90 pounds
  • Sized by 9 x 12 inches
  • Product dimensions are 12.1 x 9 x 0.8 inches
  • White-colored
  • Contains 32 sheets in a pack of 2
  • Acid-free
  • Tape bound


  • This paper is nicely textured
  • It is of good quality
  • The paper has tap bound for easy removal of sheets
  • Heavyweight paper is perfect for holding charcoal nicely


  • This paper is too toothy for fine details

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6. Jack Richeson Drawing Paper Pad:


Jack Richeson Drawing paper Pad comes with a pack of 150 sheets. This is a big quantity as compared to many other papers at the same price. Each sheet weighs 60lb which is enough weight to hold any drawing medium easily.

The plastic binding is much soft and safe than metal bindings. You can easily detach sheets from the pad. Use bright white sheets of Jack Richeson Paper to create any artistic colors with charcoal, soft pencil, crayon, and pastels.


  • Weighs by 60lb.
  • Sized by 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Product dimensions are 8.50 x 11.00 x 1.00 inches
  • White-colored
  • Contains 150 sheets in a pad
  • Plastic spiral bound
  • 4 cover designs


  • Comes at a very economical price
  • A nice quantity of sheets in this price
  • Easily portable


  • The plastic spiral binding gets twisted very easily at the ends

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7. Canson Universal Sketch Pad, Side Wire Bound:


Canson series papers have always been of high quality. They use 100% cotton for creating their sheets. Canson offers acid-free papers with archival qualities.

This is a luxurious and versatile paper suitable for a variety of dry media. Each pack includes 100 sheets and each sheet weighs 65 pounds.


  • Weighs 65 pounds
  • Sized by 9 x 12 inches
  • Product dimensions are 12 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • White-colored
  • Contains 100 sheets in a pad
  • Side wire bound
  • Acid-free


  • The sheets do not tend to wrinkle while erasing
  • The sheets contain a spiral binding
  • The pad offers a sturdy backing so you can draw with them easily


  • The paper is a bit thin

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How an artist decides a paper typically depends on what kind of drawing he/she is going to produce and what he/she is using. For artists who prefer to draw with Charcoal, the selection of paper is a matter of personal preference. However, knowing different kinds of paper and their characteristics before deciding is important.

What kind of paper do you need for Charcoal Drawing?

One of the noticeable things about charcoal is that it is not for any paper out there. When you make the mistake of using the wrong paper for it, there are chances of getting leak through, smudges, and bleeds.

To draw with Charcoal, the smoother paper is great. A rougher texture paper does not hold charcoal or pastel very well. Also, look for the weight of a paper. A heavyweight paper is suitable for Charcoal portraits.


Deciding which paper is suitable for your Charcoal and pencil drawing can be daunting. There are many considerable things while making a choice.

First, figure out what texture and tooth of paper will be suitable for you. As the texture is something that is uncompromisable. If your paper has not enough teeth, it cannot hold charcoal very well.

Other things to consider are tone, budget, weight, and the purpose of your drawing. After knowing all of this you can choose a suitable paper for drawing with charcoal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the best paper in all of the above for charcoal drawing?

All the above papers have their unique characteristics and are suitable for charcoal. Some are superior in terms of characteristics and some in terms of price. However, Strathmore Gray Drawing 400 Series Toned Sketch Pad is the one with exceptional qualities that leaves all other papers behind in this field.

Can I use Watercolor paper for Charcoal?

Yes, you can use watercolor paper. However, many artists especially those who like to create thick blocks of charcoal prefer rough paper.

Can I watercolor over Charcoal?

You can apply watercolor over charcoal however it will result in a muddy mess. The best practice is to apply two nice coats of workable fixative.

What can I use to blend Charcoal?

There are a lot of choices for blending Charcoal including blending stumps, cotton swabs, chamois, cotton balls, foam pads, kneaded erasers natural hog bristle brushes, and even house painting brushes.

Can I use Canvas with charcoal?

You can use Charcoal for doing preliminary painting over Canvas.

Can I use Strathmore Gray Drawing 400 Series Toned Sketch Pad with colored pencils?

Yes, you can use it with colored pencils. This paper is specially designed for pencils. The colored pencils work great with it and they blend nicely.

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