marker paper

The Best Marker Paper: A Review

When it comes to marker paper, there are a few things to keep in mind. The type of paper you use will affect the overall look and feel of your project, so it’s important to choose wisely.

Marker paper comes in a variety of different weights and textures. The weight of the paper will affect how well it holds up to multiple layers of ink. Heavier papers are generally better for projects that require a lot of colour layers and blending, while lighter papers are cheaper and great for layout sketches.

In this review, we’ll take a look at some of the best marker paper options on the market and help you find the perfect one for your needs.

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Strathmore 400 Series Marker Pads

Strathmore 400 Series Marker Pad - 9

Buy Strathmore 400 Series Marker Pads

Strathmore 400 Series Marker Pads are a great option for artists who want to create ultra vibrant artworks. The pads contain 24 sheets of bright white marker paper that are heavyweight (190gsm) and acid-free. The paper is extra smooth, which makes details and colours pop. Plus the paper works beautifully with a range of pens and markers. So whether you’re using fountain pens, or markers, this paper will highlight the qualities of your line work, blends and colour transitions.

An interesting feature of this paper, is that colours absorb into the paper fibres. This gives the artist flexibility in using techniques such as blending and lifting colour. The paper will take around 15 layers of marker pen before the ink will start to seep through to the other side. So this paper may be best for drawings with fewer layers than this.

Fabriano 1264 Bristol Pads

Fabriano 1264 Bristol Pad - 14

Buy Fabriano 1264 Bristol Pads

This versatile paper is high quality and a great option for mixed media use. Draw with pencil, markers or coloured pencil and watch how the vibrant colours layer over the bright white sheets. Fabriano 1264 is perfect for artists who want a professional grade paper.

The Bristol pads contain 20 sheets of 200gsm, acid-free and bleed-proof paper. There are two options of papers to choose from, the smooth and vellum variety. Smooth paper is best for marker pens as the surface provides an even colouring experience. Vellum paper has a slightly textured finish and works well with pencils and charcoal.

Canson Fanboy Comic and Manga Papers

Canson Fanboy Comic Book Art Boards - 11

Buy Canson Fanboy Comic and Manga Papers

The Canson Fanboy papers are specifically designed for comic book and manga artists, as they are made in the standard sizes for comic layouts, strips and covers. The 5×17″ book is ideal for making comic strips for example.

Because the paper is extra white, it appears luminous which makes it a great choice for scanning in drawings and then editing in computer programs such as Clip Studio Paint.

The paper is smooth with a little tooth to it. It comes in a variety of different weights and acid-free, making it ideal for artists who want to create vibrant artwork that won’t fade over time. The paper is also bleed-proof, so you don’t have to worry about your marker inks seeping through and ruining your work.

Choose the heavyweight paper (250gsm) for marker drawing, as this has the optimum durability for use with the medium. The thinner papers are great for tracing or creating preparatory sketches.

This paper is industry standard, so its used by professional graphic and comic book artists worldwide!

Strathmore Sequential Bristol Board

Strathmore 500 Sequential Series Bristol - 11

Buy Strathmore Sequential Bristol Board

Strathmore makes their Sequential Bristol Board in a number of varieties and sizes. Choose between extra smooth or vellum for your marker projects. This paper was designed especially for cartooning and marker art and the vellum texture is suitable for use with speciality pens and markers. The plate textured smooth Bristol board is the most ideal choice for marker and ink projects.

Some of the paper options include 2-ply plate textured Bristol board, which is ultra smooth, perfect for creating tiny details and smooth shading. The paper is made from 100% cotton, so it will last much longer than wood pulp based papers, due to its strength and durability. If you’re looking for a paper that is thick, completely bleed proof and archival quality, the 2-ply smooth 500 series Bristol board paper is professional quality and suitable for commission work, and display. Another great thing about this paper, is that the price is reasonable for the quality, the sizes are larger than other options on this list, so if you like to create larger artworks, this could be the perfect choice.

Bee Paper Aquabee Manga Artist Pads

Bee Paper Aquabee Manga Artist Pad - 11

Buy Bee Paper Aquabee Manga Artist Pads

This paper is natural white colour and professional quality. This paper is perfect for use with markers, ink and fountain pens. Use it with watercolour pens and technical pens too. Bee Paper also makes a spiral bound book, which is great for artists who want to be able to flip through their drawings easily.

The paper is bleed proof and the smooth surface finish gives you even colouring and line work. The paper is also acid free, so your artwork won’t yellow or fade over time.

The Aquabee Manga Artist Pads come in two different sizes, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. The paper is medium weight, at 180gsm, but is thick enough for marker applications. The great thing about this paper is that it is not costly, owed to the thinner paper weight.

Winsor & Newton Heavyweight Marker Pads

Buy Winsor & Newton Heavyweight Marker Pads

Winsor & Newton Bristol Board is a heavyweight paper that is perfect for precision work. The thick surface can stand up to repeated erasing and provides a smooth, even surface for your marker lines. The paper is 160gsm, so it’s not as heavy as some of the other papers on the list, however the paper is coated which prevents bleeding and feathering. It’s matte in texture, compared to some other papers on the list, which have more of a satin texture.

Transotype Bleedproof Marker Pad

Transotype Bleedproof Marker Pad - 8-1/2

Buy Transotype Bleedproof Marker Pad

This is a type of extra thin paper, however it has been made bleedproof by the coating on the underside. The advantage of this type of paper, is that it is great for tracing images whilst also creating sharp and precise pen lines with markers, however the blending and layering capability of this paper is not as good as with the thicker Bristol board alternatives. This is more of a layout paper, which can work great for planning and storyboarding, but less so for final pieces.

The Transotype paper is cheaper than some of the other options on the list, plus you get 50 sheets in a booklet, so it will last  you quite a while.

This paper would be great for line drawings or simple drawings that do not require much layering. For those who want to sell their original artworks, it might be best to choose a paper that is thicker.

Copic Wirebound Marker Sketchbook

Copic Wirebound Marker Sketchbook - 7

Buy Copic Wirebound Marker Sketchbook

These spiral bound books are made by Copic for use with their popular marker brand. The books contain 30 sheets with a medium weight of 157gsm. These sheets are off white and the compact spiral sketchbook format makes it extra convenient for transporting, whether that’s taking to class or packing away to take on a trip. If you’re looking for a marker paper in a sketchbook format, this is a great option.

The paper is acid-free, so it is archival quality and suitable for professional work. One thing to note with this paper, is that due to the medium weight of the sheets, some markers can bleed through with multiple layers of colour.

The paper is a little more expensive than some of the other options on the list, so if price is a consideration for you, you might want to look at other options.

Yasutomo Mineral Paper Artist Pads

Yasutomo Mineral Paper Artist Pad - 6

Buy Yasutomo Mineral Paper Artist Pads

This is an excellent multimedia paper that has some unique qualities. Because the paper is made from calcium carbonate and plastic, the paper is water-resistant. It is sometimes described as ‘stone paper’ due to its composition. This makes the paper ideal for a range of wet and dry mediums, such as marker pens, watercolours, inks and pencils. The mineral paper is also archival quality, meaning it won’t degrade over time like some other papers.

The water resistant and less absorbent quality of the paper means that artists can blend colours with ease and use techniques to lift colours from the paper. It has a slight tooth, has a medium paper weight and will not buckle under multiple washes. If you’re using alcohol markers alongside watercolour markers, this would be be a good option. However, this paper does take some practice to get used to and it doesn’t behave exactly like regular paper, so you may have to test the paper first to see if it works with your techniques and applications. One medium that lots of artists use this paper with is alcohol ink, but it would work great with watercolour markers or the Faber-Castell Pitt India ink markers.

Canson XL Marker Pads

Canson XL Marker Pad - 9

Buy Canson XL Marker Pads

Canson XL Marker Pads have a few interesting features compared to other papers on the list. Firstly, the sheets are semi-transparent and not ultra heavy weight, at 70gsm. This means that you can use the sheets to trace over preparatory sketches or compositions to achieve more precise drawings. This makes it great for layout sketches and preparatory work.

The pads contain 100 sheets of smooth, bleed-proof paper. When using the paper, you will be able to see the colours from alcohol marker on the other side, but the colour should not bleed through and mark the next page. This means that you may struggle to use both sides of the paper for drawings. The paper is perfect use with both marker and pencil.

Price-wise, you get good value for money with this paper, which makes it suitable for students and hobbyists. But it’s not the most durable paper on the list and some markers do not blend as well as on other papers.

What features should marker paper have?

Marker paper should be thick, acid-free, smooth, non-absorbent and bright in tone. The thickness of the paper contributes to its durability and makes the sheets bleed-proof. Marker pens are made from alcohol and dyes that seep through paper fibres easily, so if the paper is less absorbent and thick, it will prevent the ink from bleeding through to the other side. However, thinner layout papers will be coated on one side, to prevent ink from bleeding through.

An absorbent paper, like a cold pressed watercolour paper, is great for use with watercolour markers, but not for use with alcohol markers. This is because an ultra absorbent paper is not required to achieve the best effects with alcohol markers, such as smooth lines and blending, and absorbent papers will waste ink and make the ink appear as if it’s feathering across the page.

The smoothness of the paper contributes to artists’ ability to create smooth gradations, tiny details and fine lines. A textured paper like rough watercolour paper, for example, can obscure details.

Acid-free paper is what contributes to the longevity of artwork. When marker ink comes into contact with an acidic surface, it will gradually deteriorate and change colour over time. This is why it’s important to use marker paper that is acid-free and archival quality, so your artwork will last for generations.

The colour of marker paper is important because it will affect the overall look of your project. Darker papers can make colours appear more muted, while brighter papers will make colours pop. Choose a marker paper that best suits the look you’re going for.

Types of marker paper

art markers

There are broadly two types of marker paper, layout paper and Bristol board. Bristol board is ultra thick, whereas layout paper is ultra thin. They have different uses, as layout paper is mainly used for sketches, layouts and storyboards, the Bristol board is used for final pieces, saleable works and drawings that can be scanned.

Papers to Avoid

There are a few papers that you should avoid using with marker pens, as they can cause bleeding or feathering. These include:

-Rough or cold pressed watercolour paper

-Ultra absorbent papers

-Newsprint

-Copy paper

These papers are not marker friendly and will cause your marker ink to bleed or feather. So, be sure to avoid using them for your marker projects.

Which marker paper will you choose?

Now that you know what to look for in marker paper, as well as some of the best papers on the market, you’re ready to start your next marker project. So, grab your markers and get creative!

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