A list of 12 Black artist papers - Archival and Acid Free options
Black paper is a great base colour, as it defies the natural process in developing art on a traditional light based paper. Instead of working from light to dark, as is the normal practice when working with coloured pencils, it is inverted. Since you already have a dark foundation, you select lighter versions of the tones you would usually choose for a light coloured paper. White positively 'pops' on a black surface, and it is this impact which draws artists to it. Black paper is extremely effective when used with metallic and interference colours, however, translucent pigments are less efficient than opaque pigments.
During our search for the 12 black surfaces we include in this article, we found there are far more options, with many companies producing their own ranges, in varying shades of black and different textures. The following article provides you with a selection of the most popular brands, including some lesser known, which are suitable for different mediums and offer varying textures, allowing you to choose the one(s) most relevant.
Which black paper surface do you prefer?
A while back I purchased a couple of sheets of the latest Colourfix paper. It is a smoother version of the standard paper that was launched by Art Spectrum in 2017
Available colours are the same as the standard Colourfix options which you can view HERE
Art Spectrum® Colourfix™ Smooth is manufactured by screen printing Colourfix™ Smooth Primer onto European Archival 300gsm Hot Pressed watercolour paper making 340gsm pastel paper.
Comparison between the standard Colourfix paper and the smooth version
Below is a magnified image of the Colourfix standard paper versus the smooth surface. As you can see, the standard surface appears quite gritty next to the smooth surface. You can see how the smooth compares to the very popular Pastelmat paper below.
How does the Colourfix smooth compare to Pastelmat?
Here is a magnified image of the Colourfix smooth and Clairfontaine Pastelmat paper comparison. They look and feel exactly the same and I suspect Art Spectrum brought out the Colourfix smooth paper in competition with Pastelmat, knowing how popular the paper is.
Violet flower on Colourfix smooth paper
Having completed a soft pastel drawing on this paper, it reminded me of the popular Pastelmat paper. Pastels go on smoothly and is easy to blend on. As I blend by overlaying pastels rather than using my fingers or tools, this paper makes it easier to do this due to its smoothness, not as easy on the original surface which has more of a tooth. This paper is great for those just starting out with pastels and is suitable for other mediums such as pencils and acrylic paints.
The latest tutorial available on our website, created for inclusion in our autumn newsletter 2020, shows you how to create a Violet flower on the Colourfix smooth paper. Using soft pastels on the Leaf Green Dark tone (you can use any colour surface) we break down the process of base application with pastel blocks to creating the fine details using the PITT pastel pencils (you can use your own pastel range)
**NEW** COLOURFIX™ OPTIMUM BOARD
Karen M Berisford