Sunday, 6 June 2010

Paper Comparison

At the Copic Certification workshop I received a small packet of paper samples obviously geared toward card makers and paper crafters, but it did give me some neat samples to play with and see what sort of techniques could be achieved from some different types of paper. I did a quick ink drawing on each one, and tested with Copics.
I didn't test my own favourite paper, Aquabee Bleedproof marker paper, but I did test 5 others: Neenah card stock, Vellum, Glossy photo paper, Copic Illustration paper and Couture card stock. I'll go over one by one going over Transparency (for transferring image via light box), Inking, colouring solid colours, blending colours, correcting mistakes with blender, airbrush, and blender effects. For the blender effects, I used a piece of terry cloth. For all the inking I used 0.1 black copic multiliner, and the colours I used were E11, E13,  E15 and E27 for the most part and B21 for the airbrush.


Vellum is a really transparent light almost like parchment paper. It's a drafting and design paper. you can do many things with it.

Inking: The vellum had a little tooth, but the ink was clean and crisp, and didn't smudge with the application of markers over top.

Transparency: Very transparent - could easily see the sketch below even without the light box.

Colouring: On the front side, colouring was not smooth easily, and the ink seemed to just sit on top, but when coloured from the back (as seen on the brown wing) the colouring was very smooth. I used a dabbing technique to try to add some shading to it, but the ink sat in blobs, HA. When the base colour is applied to the front, and a shade colour is done on the back, you can achieve a nice cel-shaded look without budging your base colour.
When the ink was laid down it seems to pool and puddle and could achieve a very nice watercolour effect.

Blending: Blending is nearly non existent in the sense that I need to do it. again the colouring front and back helps to achieve this. As a side note, the colours were very light when applied to this paper.

Correcting with blending: It doesn't seem to work to try to correct the mistakes on this particular vellum, but I know some of the more "plastic" vellums leave the markers completely removable.

Airbrush: The paper took the airbrush well, but pooled quickly when trying to go over an area a few times without letting it first dry.

Blender effects: I was surprised with so many failed attempts to correct the mistakes with the blender, that the blender effects were so bold! (see on the back of her head, wing area).

Glossy Photo Paper
The glossy paper Is a fairly heavy slick shiny paper.

Inking: Ink goes on crisp and clear and smoothly on this paper. There is a slight drag to the pen. The inking is smudged away with the application of the marker.

Transparency: It was adequate to see through with the light, surprisingly.

Colouring: Laying down a smooth coat seemed tricky. it doesn't soak into the paper, but it doesn't quite sit on top either.  the result was blotchy and not very desirable.

Blending: completely non existent. the previous dried layers are unaffected by further applications of colour, so there is no blending to be had. the colour sits on top if dabbed on, so you can achieve a watercolour effects.

Airbrush: The paper took the airbrush very soft and smooth, unless it took some saturation, then it pooled and sort of, pushed it away.

Fixing mistakes with blender: Very minimal effect...

Blender effects: No effect.
This paper is ideal for making textures, and faux stone techniques with the various Inks and felts etc. these can be used as a backdrop for images.

Neenah Card stock
Neenah card stock is the one that most of the blogs that I've read talk about as the end all be all of paper for Copics; for cards that is... Illustration is a whole different beast.
Inking: good inking. I noticed a bit of softening of the lines when I went slower but it really is about on par with the Copic and Aquabee paper I enjoy.

Transparency: Good, Easy to see through with the light.

Colouring: It seems to take a pretty heavy saturation of ink before getting a smooth coat of colour on it. The colours come out a bit darker than I am used to from the other papers too. It's a fairly absorbent card stock, a few steps below Bristol board in that regard.
I found it tended to feather out quite quickly with repeated application of colour. I can see why the card makers love it, given that they do 2-3 light layers of colour, but for an illustrator layering up to 20 layers (or more) the feathering can be problematic. I didn't find it terribly difficult to work around though.

Correcting with blender: Mistakes are corrected very cleanly and easily on this paper!

Blending: Blending was very easy, and clean and I quite enjoyed it! It is exceptional!

Airbrush: The airbrush was excepted extremely well, and looked really good! I loved the airbrush on this!

Blender effects: this paper is perfect for the blender effects, you can really get a fine texture with ease!

Couture Card stock
Couture is a new one to me, I never heard of it before I got this sample. Its a very smooth card stock.

Inking: The inking was wonderful, very smooth feeling of the nib over this paper, and the ink looked great.

Transparency: On par with the Aquabee paper. Very good and clear.

Colouring. The colours come out quite light, and seems to dry almost instantly, but you can still get an even coat of colour relatively easy, and with less saturation than the Neenah.

Blending: Blending is fairly easy, and neat. Very nice!

Correcting with blender: Easy, neat and clean. wouldn't know I made a mistake!

 Airbrush: This paper took the airbrush the best of all the papers I've used. incredibly smooth!

Blender effects: Took the effects really well, and easily.

Copic 80lb pure white Illustration paper
My favourite of the day, it's the heavier of the marker papers produced by Copic, so it's no surprise their paper works well with their markers. the paper is medium weight, opaque and smooth.

Inking: Great, on par with all the other great card stocks. Ink didn't budge when I took markers to them.

transparency: On par with the others. very good, easy to see through.

Colouring: A dream. takes a very light saturation to get an even smooth coat of colour. the colours are fairly true to the Aquabee paper I use, which is good for me. Minimal feathering!
Blending: a Dream! it's almost effortless to blend on this paper.

correcting with blender: also great. the Neenah (and Aquabee) still reign supreme on this feature though
Airbrush: this is my favourite next to the couture, it's clear and smooth. It didn't pool at all, and I even tried to make it do it, HA.
Blender effects: Brilliant, came out wonderfully neat and clean!

SO overall my favourite was the Copic Paper, followed by couture and then Neenah. they all had qualities I liked though. If I could combine those 3 I would. I still think I'll be sticking to my Aquabee for now (available through Opus framing and art), but when that runs out I might toss in some Copic ;) And these little drawings with my notes all over will make it into my swatch book for future reference.
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