Ahhhh, the touch, the feel of cotton™ –nothing like it for paper. I found a multi-media paper by Stonehenge. It’s 250 GSM, vellum finish (smooth, but not shiny) and not cheap. (More information on GSM v. Pounds as a measure of weight in paper.) The paper feels heavy, like a good cold-pressed watercolor paper.
I’ve loved Stonehenge before, in a journal I purchased. That sheet was cream and lighter–90 pounds. But I loved the surface, and the ease with which it took markers and watercolor pencils, wet or dry. Ink also dried quickly on the paper, which is a big benefit if you turn the page frequently to work on drawings. It’s also helpful if you are left-handed–the ink dries before you move your hand across it.
Generally, watercolor paper is too absorbent for good marker use. But this Stonehenge works well with markers. Faber-Castell (Pitt pens and brushes) puts down a smooth color that doesn’t puddle and doesn’t streak when you put on several layers.
Sharpie pens don’t bleed through, either–at least not the Ultra Fine. There was no show through, either. The difference between show through and bleed through? If you can see that there is something on the other side of the paper, it’s show-through. If the ink itself leaks through the page, it’s bleed through. If I used a broad-tip Sharpie, it may have given a different result.
Fountain pen ink goes down smoothly and dries quickly. I used Pelican 4001 Royal Blue in this test.
Copic pens–alcohol markers–do bleed through. And they should. This is cotton paper being soaked in alcohol carrying a color. The bleed through doesn’t bother me, I’ve developed several methods to cover the other side of the page. But again, generally watercolor papers just suck up alcohol inks, and Stonehenge does not. It allows for layering, deepening the color and layering, which is unusual.
Chinese stamp/seal ink did show through, but did not bleed through, even though I wrote that it does bleed though, after it dried, the apparent bleed-through disappeared. This is ink that comes in a flat tin, has a paste consistency and is heavy, almost like a monotype ink. The chop on the bottom, left is done in stamp/seal ink. The red seal/stamp ink pase is made from mercuric sulphide (cinnabar) mixed with caster seed oil or the better quality Fukein Tea oil.
My favorite use is with watercolor pencils. I tested both Derwent Inktense and Caran D’Ache watercolor pencils. Both went down smoothly when they were dry and created intense color blending when touched with a wet brush. The surface is smooth, doesn’t buckle with reasonable amounts of water (or a light spritz on both sides), and is a delight to work with.
Stonehenge paper comes in various sizes, padded, spiral-bound and loose sheets. It’s available at art stores and through various other retailers.
FTC-required disclosure: I purchased the 5″ x 7″ pad at Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe, AZ.