Matching paper to process is important. It can be very frustrating to find the surface you're drawing or painting on can't survive the medium you've decided to use. Before starting any project, make sure the substrate is going to go the distance.
Cheap and made from wood pulp, mostly known for what news is printed on and fish and chips are wrapped in. At around 50gsm these cheaper papers don’t hold up to much line-work , prip easily and defiantly don’t respond well to water based work. It is best used for rough sketches and warm-up drawings with soft pencil, charcoal, chalk and oil pastels.
80gsm and slightly heavier than news print, best for use with pencils - both graphite and coloured - ball point and school-quality fibre tipped pens. This paper wrinkles with water, ink and bleed with Copic and Sharpie markers.
Slightly heavier than printer paper at between 120-150gsm. Best use with ball point and fibre tipped pens, nib and ink, but also respond well to graphite, gouche and acrylic paints used with small amounts of water - tends to "grab" if pigment is too diluted - cartridge paper buckles and wrinkle as the wet medium dries.
- 150gsm - similar to Cartridge paper and will buckle with water but works well if stretched to a board first. Depending on the tooth can be used with nib and ink, watercolour, lightly appled gouache and acrylic.
- 300gsm - tends to tolerate water well and accepts most types of art media. Watercolour works best on this weight of paper without needing to stretch it on a board first. Smooth, hot pressed in this weight is great for nib and ink, while the cold pressed or rough versions pool watercolour beautifully.
Heavy paper with generous tooth, cardboard, primed canvas are good acrylic surfaces
Boards, canvas, heavy paper/card (tacked to a board with a coat of gesso) takes oil paint relatively well - but for oil paintings that last the distance, research the best ground for your purposes.
GSM - grams per square metre. The higher the number, the heavier the paper.
Cold pressed - unheated rollers are used to press the paper when it’s made so small irregular indents and imperfections are on the surface of the paper. These papers make pen and ink nibs “jump” so suit a sketchier style or show more texture when washed with watercolour pigments.
Hot pressed - heated rollers are used to press the paper when it’s made so it tends to be smoother with fewer indents on the surface of the paper. Artists wanting to draw more precisely or have less texture show through their watercolour might choose a hot pressed paper to work on.
Substrate - the underlying layer or surface.
Tooth - refers to the amount of roughness on the paper. The more indentations or roughness of the paper, the more paint pigment is likely to pool or graphite/pastel it is likely to hold on to.