Monday, August 20, 2007

Paper and Supports - Resources for Artists

Whenever I write a blog post about Squidoo - like "Do You Squidoo?" I end up developing yet more squidoo lenses for the "Resources for Artists" series!

Although I'd love to witter on about all of the ones I worked on over yet another grey and rainy weekend, I'm going to be try and be very restrained and do them justice by introducing them one by one - so here's the first Paper and Supports - Resources for Artists.

Paper and Supports - Resources for Artists
I'm very fussy about what paper or support I will draw on - and at the same time am very curious about new supports, particularly the ones my local art suppliers don't carry. When I go abroad, one of the first places I always visit is the local art shop and my jaw just keeps dropping when I realise what a huge range of papers and other non-canvas supports actually exist. This lens aims to extend my choice - and yours.
(introduction to squidoo lens "Paper and Supports - Resources for Artists")
I very much suspect I'm not alone in being somebody who is interested in the range of options open to me for surfaces to work on. I'm very much a self-confessed fusspot when it comes to paper - and speak as somebody who is unable to write or draw if the pen and paper aren't "right"!

This particular squidoo lens grew out of my frustration with not being able to source certain fine art papers in the UK and hence the need to look overseas for suppliers. I'm guessing I'm far from alone in this quest and hence it maybe that we can help one another in this respect. Although I've got a couple of books about fine art papers, I've also found it very difficult to find a website which provides a comprehensive overview of the different brands of paper and supports for visual fine artists who draw and paint and don't work on canvas - and the suppliers. So I thought I'd have a go at producing one! Or least try and produce one which gives me the sort of infomation that I want to know about.

I want to emphasise that the current lens is developed enough to be published but that it is still very much a "work in progress". More modules, links and text will need adding in the months to come - which I comment on further below. If you think you might use it as a resource in future and have got any suggestions for its scope and content I'd be more than pleased to hear from you - just use the comments function.

The aim of this lens is still a bit fluid at present, but here's my current thinking as to its scope. First off - it's not touching at all on canvas or any of the supports used by acrylic and oil painters (It's simply not my area of expertise - somebody else needs to develop a lens for that!).

This is very much a lens primarily for visual artists who produce works on paper. It will hopefully also be a good reasource for those artists who like an abrasive support. I want to:
  • provide information and relevant links about the nature of paper, how it's made, why it varies and the challenges it can present in terms of conservation
  • identify the major types of paper and other supports used by artists - and provide links to the manufacturers websites. (My current thinking is a module for each major brand name but it maybe that this should be each manufacturer - what do you think?)
  • identify the major wholesale and retail distributors of fine art papers around the world - and provide links to their sites. I'm going to be very open to suggestions here in relation to countries I'm less familiar with.
  • identify who provides samples for trialling - when you have to mail order, you simply don't want to commit to a major order before knowing whether the paper is what you want.
  • reviewing individual papers.
  • some guidance on who provides the best mail-order service. This may emerge as a result of a bit of interactive content - which might start via a poll on this blog or may start on the lens using one of the plexo modules. I'm essentially thinking along the lines of who provides the best choice and who does the best packaging/delivery. It maybe that these are two different questions/polls. However, what I am interested in doing is getting a consumer perspective on paper supply. This will only be as good as the numbers who respond and I'd love to hear - via the comments - whether people might be interested in me setting something up along these lines.
As you can imagine, there is lots and lots of potential for content here - much of which will also get discussed on this blog.

Save and share: If you'd like to bookmark, e-mail, print, bookmark ( or digg this lens then the icons for so doing are in the left hand column. I think I'd tend to suggest not choosing the RSS feed at this stage as when testing it previously I've found it's unable to identify the new items on the lens.

Those who have a squidoo account can rate any lens (just below the title) but you do need to be logged in. However it should be noted that according to Squidoo it's only a small factor in a len's overall ranking within squidoo. I certainly don't ask for or encourage rating swops just as I don't reciprocate links on this blog if asked. There's also a guestbook for comments and suggestions.

The Squidoo Firefox extension - a customised toolbar and menu

I forgot to mention in my last post that I update all my lens periodically - using the squidoo add-in for my Firefox browser which makes it so easy to add in a page link to any of my lens and any of the modules - or even create a new module!

A Customized Toolbar (with Squid!)

Still more shortcuts for Squidoo Lensmasters.

  • Use the "Lenses" button to access your lenses straight from the Firefox browser.
  • And click on the Squid with the plus sign for another, even more user friendly way to quickly add a page link (URL) to the lens of your choice. Think of it like Squidoo-to-go.


  1. This is a very timely post. Paper makes such a big difference! I just made a sketchbook (the easy way) with good paper and what a pleasure it is compared to the Moleskine and Aquabees I'd been using which are fine for drawing but not great for watercolor.

  2. Paper makes an ENORMOUS difference.

    I must remember to do a blog post about a tool I got which I located again recently which makes it easy to take out artist quality paper for working plein air.

    I think I've still to encounter an Aquabee although I see people mentioning them here there and everywhere.

  3. One of my great finds during a class by Robert Dvorak was Sundance Felt made by Fox River. This is a textured, heavy stock used as endsheets by printers, it's not designed for art at all, but it takes an ink line and a very heavy wash superbly, as well as being an excellent surface for colored pencil. I ordered a stack of "warm white" from a paper supplier here in Sacramento, had a printer trim up 24 sets of 4.25" x 6" which I had spiral bound, and then got another stack of folded sheets about 7 x 10 which I bind myself, coptic style, for a trip. It's great paper.

    Thanks for this post, Katherine, it's excellent!

  4. Now that does interesting! Thanks for the comment.


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