could be one of the most over-looked tools in the beginner's drawing chest. Paper is paper is drawing paper, right? Wrong!
Your immediate attention to the type of drawing paper you are using for each and every drawing is the key to that drawing's success!
Why? Because each drawing paper has a different texture, a different color and feel.....those elements combined with the pencil you are using can make the effect you are driving toward complete.
Drawing paper can be smooth for instance...perfect for that portrait using lots of blending with your graphite and your tortillion.
Maybe you are going for a black and white charcoal or pastel....you want a little 'bite' for the dust to cling to. A texttured paper is key here.
Colored Drawing Paper
One of the best ways to bring life to a drawing and to understand/learn the 'value' system (5 values from light to dark) is to practice working with toned paper. The mid-range tone of the paper is the base, and the highlights would then be added manually with white chalk or pastel while the reflected lights would remain the value of the paper or very close to it.
Maybe you want to experiement with the ultimate effect in a black and white drawing.....the white charcoal pencil on a dark textured paper.....sounds like a dark gray or black paper would strike a perfectly deep and clear contrast!
In this case, everything is backwards! Talk about a great training ground.....working with white chalk or charcoal on black paper means that you must learn to think purely in terms of value. Shadows
In every case, matching your pencil with its perfect drawing paper can mean the difference between a 'good' drawing and a great one.
Drawing Paper Textures
Be warned.....paper should not be purchased based on tone alone. Consider the texture! Many times drawing paper in an art store is wrapped in plastic, so if you can't 'test drive' and feel the texture, you may very well be disappointed with your section. Paper purchased without knowing the feel of the texture can be a disappointment waiting to happen.....too much tooth, not enough, etc.....ask to see a sample of the paper's texture before purchasing.
Consider 'weight' of your paper as well....if you are going to be caking on the charcoal, thicker paper will be the ticket, versus a lighter graphite drawing or sketching type pad.