Dry Media on Washi

Graphite  ·  Pastel   ·  Pencil  ·  Charcoal  ·  Colored Pencil  ·  Conte

The subtle liveliness of washi’s surface will animate any drawing – while working with it is sometimes more difficult than working with a Western paper – the benefits often outweigh the difficulties


Tips and Considerations

· pay attention to which side of the paper you use – washi is two-sided, with the “front” being smoother and the “back” rougher – the smoother side will allow for crisper lines and the toothier back will pick up more media, which is more desirable with pastel or charcoal.

· use the back of handmade papers for extra tooth and to show the distinctive brush marks of a handmade sheet.

· erasing doesn’t work well on Japanese papers – the long fibers tend to pull and fluff the surface – try dabbing or rocking with a white eraser or kneadable eraser rather than rubbing

· consider covering or veiling an area you wish to change by pasting a clean piece of washi over it, creating a layered effect.

· if the surface of your chosen paper pills too much consider sizing the surface yourself

· soft chalk pastels will produce richer color; harder pastels and conté may pull the long fibres on the surface – if so try sizing your paper

· softer graphite will make richer marks; harder pencils will give a crisper line, but may also disturb surface fibres.

Paper Suggestions
All gampi papers offer the smoothest surface for fine line work and ink drawings

Gampi Smooth is a good paper to start with as it is inexpensive and has an interesting surface flecked with “chiri” bark

Beautifully pearly gampi papers include
Yamagampi in several weights
Gampi Torinoko which is the heaviest gampi

Sized papers often pill less – some sized papers to try are
Kizuki Kozo Natural  ·  Handmade
Kizuki Kozo White  ·  Handmade
Kozuke White  ·  Machine-made
Kozuke Ivory  ·  Machine-made
Mura Koban  ·  small format  ·  handmade

Moriki Kozo
is sized and comes in a range of beautiful colors – they look especially vibrant with color media like soft pastel

Crisp unsized sheets
Kurotani No.3
Kurotani No.4


Artist Precedents

Susan Low-Beer

John Gould

Alan Stein

Lorraine Pritchard


Image provided by The Japanese Paper Place  ·  Artist Diane McGrath  ·  Blue and Pink Hair Clip  ·  25 x 37"  ·  Kozuke ivory and charcoal

All information provided by The Japanese Paper Place
Reproduction by permission only