I’m still messing around with paper today – specifically white paper for stamping projects. Yesterday I compared coloring with various art mediums on an assortment of white papers. Today I’m looking at the actual stamping: How does an image stamped with regular black dye ink look on that paper?
I stamped the same image (from Time To Stamp) on seven different white papers I had in my paper stash using Stewart Superior’s India Ink Black (an archival dye inkpad for watercoloring.) The seven papers used were: Kromecoat (glossy coated cardstock), Strathmore Premium White Ultimate White 80 lb, Strathmore Aquarius Cold Press watercolor paper 80 lb, Canson Cold Press watercolor paper 80 lb, Bienfang Bristol Vellum Surface paper 100 lb, Copic Bleedproff Marker Pad and Canson Pro Layout Marker Paper 18 lb. I have various pieces of other smooth white papers but for this post, only included those that I can identify by name. I didn’t test the more textured / rougher white papers in my stash.
Not surprisingly, the nicest, most complete and most crisp image was on Kromecoat, a glossy white coated cover stock. The lines are sharp and there is nice contrast between the black ink and the glossy white surface.
It’s a little subjective, but I think I liked the image stamped on the Strathmore Premium Cover Ultimate White second best. The lines are a bit thicker and less crisp than the Kromecoat but the detail is still good and the overall look is good.
Next I tried two different brands of cold press watercolor paper. The first is Strathmore Cold Press Aquarius watercolor paper 80 lb. As you can see, stamping with black dye ink on this particular paper is horrible. The lines are incomplete and fuzzy. Unless you are going for a grainy soft look with your stamping, this isn’t going to work.
On the other hand, this is the Canson Cold Press watercolor paper 80 lb that I like to use. Same type and weight of paper but the difference in the way they stamp is big! The Kromecoat and the Strathmore Premium Cover are both still nicer impressions, but this one is not bad and so I continue to like this paper for when I want to color with colored pencils or use wet techniques like watercolor.
When I was digging through my pads of paper, I came across a pad of Bienfang Bristol Vellum Surface paper 100 lb. Because I’ve heard some colored pencil artists recommend Bristol Vellum paper, I thought I’d see what happened when I stamped on it. As you can see, while the lines are not as fuzzy as the Strathmore Cold Press watercolor paper, it is still too soft and fuzzy for my taste, so for now, I’m sticking to the Canson Cold Press watercolor paper for projects where I want to color with colored pencils.
While we stampers don’t use it very often, there actually are papers designed specifically for artists who use alcohol ink markers (like Copic, etc.) These come in pads and they are nice because the alcohol ink sits on top and doesn’t bleed through. BUT, they are very thin – not quite as thin as translucent vellum, but close. So to use them in a card, you’d have to layer it. This one is the Canson Pro Layout marker paper 18 lb. The stamped lines are a bit thick, but they are sharp enough to look decent and so this paper is useable for when I want to use alcohol inks.
Here is a second paper designed specifically for alcohol ink markers. This one is from the Copic Bleedproof Marker Pad. It too is a thinner paper. It stamps fairly well, although I think the lines are just a little bit fuzzier than the Canson Pro Layout version. Still, it is useable for projects where I want to color with alcohol inks.
I thought this was an interesting exercise. I was particularly surprised with the difference between the two different brands of cold press watercolor paper. It goes to show that both type of paper and brand both go into the mix when you are looking for paper that can both be stamped and will work for a particular coloring medium as well. Now, I did only try one type of ink on each of these papers, but I use archival dye inks the most, so that is what I particularly wanted to test. It is completely possible however that some of these papers would do better or worse if I was stamping with a different type of ink.