As a kid my mom would make sure my sister and I always had plenty of paper for drawing. She was a teacher so there was always a box of extra mimeographed worksheets to scribble on the backs of and, for a while, a carton of green-striped tractor-feed paper from the school office. We went through all of it. One birthday though, I received a pad of real drawing paper from the art supply store. I decided that it would be for special drawings so I set it aside until I was certain that I’d be doing a fantastic drawing.
Visiting my folks at home last fall I found that pad in a box and it is still blank. As a kid I wasn’t confident that I’d be creating a masterpiece piece so I stuck to scrap office paper.
Since then I’ve stopped using the backs of German 101 vocab quizzes as sketch paper because I’ve learned that you shouldn’t wait to use good paper. Using better paper makes the drawing work out better. Now I get thick spiral pads with decent, toothy paper and I immediately do something fast, messy, and scribbly on the first few pages so that theres no hesitation about picking it up and adding to it and filling it up. Decent paper and not hesitating to use it is what generates fantastic drawings.
Since I’ve gotten back into the store my new favorite is the 9×12 Bee 808 pad. It’s a sincere-looking, rugged, spiral-bound with 60 thick pages and a heavy board for a back cover. And Bee makes it in the U.S., which is cool. I like the warm white color of the paper and medium surface. Spiral pads lay flat, which I prefer. It handles fine-point pens, soft pencil, and pastel nicely. It says it’s for multi-media so I’m going to get some ink and watercolor shading going soon. My kids are each getting one with a promise to replace every full book with a fresh one.