Clairefontaine Blog Series
Uses and Products
As we explored in part two, Clairefontaine produces high quality paper. They control the whole manufacturing process and exclusively source sustainable materials which leads to professional artist quality paper. They are pioneers and leaders in the market and a brand we highly recommend.
A Quick Overview
Many of the Clairefontaine sketchbooks that we have on offer would work exceptionally well with mixed-media. The versatility that their products provide means it is perfect for a new artist who wants to experiment with different art materials. Nevertheless, they also provide products dedicated to one specific technique such as watercolour or pastels.
If you have never used this type of paper before or intend to purchase it as a gift, some of the most common art techniques used are;
- Urban Sketching – As most products can be used for a multitude of art mediums, like using watercolour and fine liners together, it is perfect for this type of art technique.
- Drawing – The paper quality from these sketchbooks work great for any artist who uses pencils or pens. It is textured enough for the pencil to easily stick and also smooth enough for pens to glide.
- Watercolour – So long as the paper is thick enough (with most of the Clairefontaine range it will be), these pads are great for absorbing water well and not buckling the paper.
The Clairefontaine Logo
Although our quick overview highlights key uses we have gone into further detail below, exploring some of Clairefontaines most popular products and highlighting further techniques.
Origami Paper Sets (70 / 80gsm)
These sets come in either neutral (black, white and kraft paper) or patterned and can also be used for other crafts such as creating a scrapbook. Because it is thin paper, they can be easily manipulated and folded which is perfect for creating origami figures like the image below.
Click image to view Clairefontaine's Instagram
Kraft Pad (90gsm in A5, A4 and A3 sizes)
The perfect paper for charcoal and pencils. This sketchbook has a laid-surface (ribbed) as both sides provide a different finish, so one side is smooth whilst the other is textured. It is brown in colour due to the way the paper is made which provides something a lot more unique compared to typical white paper. Because of the light weight in gsm we wouldn’t necessarily suggest using watercolour, this paper is more tailored to dry art techniques. Not only can you get this in a book form but you can also buy in rolls and because this paper is 100% recyclable it is much more eco-friendly to use for wrapping paper.
Click Image to view Clairefontaine Kraft Pad
Paint On (250gsm in A5, A4 and A3 sizes)
One of the best mixed-media range of sketchbooks on the market. Most of the books within Paint On are 250gsm which can work well with water as it is thick enough to absorb. However, if you are only wanting a pad for watercolour we would suggest getting paper that is specifically tailored for that technique.
The Natural (250gsm in A5, A4 and A3 sizes) and Multi-Technique (250gsm in A5, A4 and A3 sizes) sketchbooks are the smoother books within the range. They are still great for mixed-media and will be able to handle a light wash.
The Gris (250gsm in A5, A4 and A3 sizes) sketchbook from this range has more texture so watercolour can be used easily on these pads.
The Paint On range is one of their biggest, and it is still expanding with some new and recent products like the Mixed-Media Pad (250gsm in A5, A4 and A3 sizes). This comes in six assorted shades of mixed-media paper. The paper is already in other sketchbooks like the Naturel and Blanc pages, except for the new Denim colour which is exclusive within this sketchbook. The Mixed-Media pad would be perfect for someone who is new to art or wants to experience a great selection of what Clairefontaine has to offer in one convenient book.
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Sketch (90gsm in A5 and A4 sizes)
A sketchbook that would work well for students, artists and writers is the Clairefontaine Sketchpad. Their Sketch range comes in either an Ivory book (90gsm in A5 and A4 sizes) or a 50/50 Blend of Ivory and White combined (90gsm in A5 and A4 sizes). These sketchbooks are suitable for pencils, felt-tip markers, charcoal and a variety of dry art techniques. We wouldn’t recommend using any kind of paint on this paper due to it’s light weight, but if you choose to do that make sure it’s a light wash.
Click to view the Clairefontaine Sketchbook (Ivory)
Pastelmat (360gsm in sizes: 24x30cm - similar to A4 and 30x40cm - similar to A3)
One of their most well-known products is their Pastelmat Paper which is some of the best pastel paper and pads on the market. It has a smooth and velvet touch but is rough enough so the pastel can latch onto the paper well; because of this you can also put many layers of pastel on the paper. The colours remain vibrant and over time don’t lose that vibrancy; we would still suggest using a spray fixative just to keep it in place. We sell two sketchpads with a variety of paper colour in each pad, as well as this, we also sell each colour separately. Both pads come in three sheets of four different colours; Number 1 includes Maize, Buttercup, Light Grey and Dark Grey. Number 2 includes White, Sienna, Brown and Anthracite.
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Overall, Clairefontaine produces some exquisite paper with a lot of versatility. Their range is the perfect paper for many mixed-media techniques but they also produce paper specifically catered towards a specific technique, once again showing why and how this brand are leaders within the market.
Want to know more about this brand? Check out part four of our Clairefontaine series which explores some of the products further by looking at additional extras such as type of cover and bind.
Product Shots: Sandra Manchester