August 14, 2017

Paper sizes and drawing instruments

It is quite funny to go to a stationary shop and not specify the size of paper you want. The normal sizes of paper stock (stock is paper material) comes in 22×30” in size and call the imperial size. There are also boards measuring 28×20”. You get four decent size pieces measuring 11×15” from a sheet. The thickness of the sheet is referred to as weight of the paper. It is calculated in grams per square meter or GSM as it is commonly referred to. The weight is also specified by pounds per square yard by the British. I suggest you follow the GSM measurements.

Now, 300 GSM is a good stock to use for artists. For beginners, I would suggest using any printing board in around 175 to 225 GSM. Most drawing papers come in this range. It is also common to get small note books A-5 size in thinner paper. Familiarise yourself with different thicknesses.

The texture is the second thing you should watch for. Run the tips of your fingers on the sheet and observe whether it is smooth, rough, extra rough, whether the texture has a pattern built into it and so on. Feel the paper you intend using. When you start a drawing, move your palm touching the paper and seek its blessing too. It will teach you something- how to use it.

The other common sizes that paper stock is available is in A4 and A3 sheets. An A3 sheet measures 42×29.7cms. An A4 29.7 x21cms. Make it a point to remember the sizes. These are also available as 20 or 50 sheet books in decent thicknesses and textures.

Next use the instrument of your choice. Pencil (I suggest you stock HB to 6B) Hb indicated Hard black and is a composition of lead and graphite in equal proportions. As the progression of the numbers on the pencils increases the amount of graphite also increases. Thus 6B is the darkest in the range and B is the lighter. Gel pens, markers, charcoals are also exciting instruments.

When you work, do not just try a lazy attitude. Draw it light, draw it dark, draw it gently, and draw it forcefully. Draw your drawing crazily until you punish the paper in front of you. Feel the different pressures on the pencil and how it interprets the line. Feel the line you draw. Be the line.

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Text and images by Milind Nayak

Milind Nayak is one of India’s finest artists.

A prolific painter, he works in different media like oils, watercolors, pastels and other media.