Saturday, March 7, 2015

Drawing with Toned Paper

Prior to going to college, I had never worked with toned paper before (please don't shun me).
Fear not though for I have seen the light. And oooh child. Yeah.

I've really been loving getting back into working with this type of paper. All toned paper is, in case anyone else out there is like poor little former-me, is colored drawing paper. Usually a mid tone, like grey or tan or something. And if you consider yourself an artist, or even a dabbler, trust me. It's great and you should try it, even if just for funzies.

I recently (as in like... a few months ago) decided to partake in a good ol' treat yo' self moment and purchased a tan toned sketchbook. And I dabbled around with creating a few things:

Drawing with Toned Paper

Such as some P-Cap eyes. Which, if you watched the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, hopefully you can recognize those intense attack eyebrows. I actually gave this one away to my good friend Ginger, so he's happily hanging on her wall.

Drawing with Toned Paper

But I kept this one for myself because get it? Toned paper? With a toned dude? Shut up, I'm witty okay.

The thing that I love about working with toned paper is that it gives you a good starting point for laying out all of your values. If you find drawing or shading to be daunting or scary because the white of your paper is taunting your very existence, then I highly recommend giving toned paper a go. It takes away the fear of the dreaded white canvas, which allows you to focus all of your attention on just plugging in your key highlights and shadows. Also, you don't have to do quite as much shading because your mid tone is already there. You don't have to blend it out and establish it for yourself.

Also, when working with color, you're able yo use more of your lighter hues because they appear much more rich and vivid on the toned surface, rather than being washed out like they tend to be on white paper.

Drawing with Toned Paper

One of my most favorite recent pieces I've done on tones paper is this moon and antlers, which actually got a good scan of because I decided to remove it from the actual sketchbook for once. I decided to frame the original and I have it hanging in my apartment which is kind of neat because I've never displayed my art in like... my actual living space before. This is a new thing for me.

But I have a confession. After I bought this tan sketchbook, I realized you can't just have one toned sketchbook in one color. That's like... art law right? Shhh, just go with my logic. So I decided to buy a hard bound grey sketchbook as well because treat yo' self.

Drawing with Toned Paper

And I christened it with this dudely dude. Because I unabashedly love drawing good-looking dudes. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

So really, I just wanted to take a moment to make a fangirl post about how much I love toned paper. But here is the take-away hopefully--

Pros of working with toned paper:
- Your mid value is established already, which allows you to spend more time on your highlights and shadows.
- You can use a wider range of colors due to the fact that light hues don't disappear.
- This is a really good type of paper if you find shading on white paper to be scary.

Cons of working with toned paper:
- None. There are no cons. Shhhhhh.

Also, side note, but I'm getting back in touch with my Esty account, so if anyone is interested in prints of these artworks, or of any of my works, please let me know!

Linkin' up:
x x


  1. I paint more than I draw, but I've been wanting to try some toned paper, too, after seeing some beautiful pieces done with white and gray pencil on dark gray. Your pieces have just put me over the edge--I'll be treating myself to some soon! Excellent work.

  2. I especially love the last piece! I love your style and talent!

  3. Whoah that first one is amazing, I didn't think Capaldi's eyebrows could look that good, lol.

  4. Gorgeous work! I've never used toned paper before--now you've inspired me to try! :)

  5. I'm so glad you're sharing your work, and I'm glad I found it through the link party I was at (: I'm an artist too! I've been thinking about including some of my art on my blog. You've inspired me!
    Visiting from and would love a visit back.

  6. girlfriend I LOVEEEEE toned paper! I actually like working with darker paper, some of my favorite drawings are on a navy and dark hunter green. MMM so rich!

  7. This looks incredible! Pinned and tweeted. We are so thrilled to have you at our party. Please stop by on Monday at 7, so we can see your amazing projects. Lou Lou Girls