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Handcoloring Inkjet Papers

By: Theresa Airey

My choice of the Moab papers is the Entrada Rag Bright White. It has a smooth, toothy feel similar to a traditional hot press watercolor paper and it's made in the USA of 100% cotton that is acid free and lignin free. The bright white surface renders vivd color and exceptional details in the print and because of its pure white bright surface, it is an outstanding paper for printing B&W images. I print all my Infrared straight B&W images on this paper as the paper renders the image with deep rich blacks and bright whites and great details.

Theresa Airey receives many questions on Moab papers through the Ask the Experts contact form. Here is her answer to a question regarding her favorite papers:


Ms Airey,

I have Marshall's photo paint and pencils and the Conte pastel pencils and I am thinking of getting a set of Peerless transparent water colors to use as well.

I was thinking of using an Ilford fiber based paper that's an enlarging paper to use with my inkjet printer which is a HP 8400. I use the Marshall's inkjet canvas right now to print my photos on for coloring. I was wondering if i could use any fiber based paper for hand coloring or is there a certain fiber based paper thats better. I like to color both the whole picture and just certain parts of the picture.



Dear Joey:
I am listing my favorite inkjet coated papers for hand coloring below. I would also suggest trying out some non inkjet coated papers to color upon. My two last books, "Digital Photo Art" and "Beginner's guide to Digital Photo Art" have lots of information on artist materials and hand coloring. Both are published by Lark Books.

Epson Enhanced Matte Paper
This paper has a tougher finished than the other Epson papers and you can use Marshall Oil pencils on its surface without leaving too much of a shiny surface behind. But removing the color once laid down is impossible. When you try to pull it out the Marshall Oil coloring with a kneaded eraser, the surface breaks down and lifts. Blending is the same....rub too hard and you lift the surface. So if you want intense color or full color in small areas, they work fine.

Moab's Entrada: Matte Paper
Epson's Fine Art Textured Paper good texture for coloring with pastel pencils Crane's Max....great heavy paper, just about impossible to rub off the inkjet coating...no flaking at all.

With Conté pastel Pencils....
The color goes down easily and can be reduced with a kneaded eraser without breaking the surface; the color can be blended also, if a gentle hand is used.
However with both of these mediums (pastel pencils and oil pencils) on inkjet-coated surfaces, the secret is not to put the color down with a heavy hand. The Pastel color will blend out or spread, so it is a waste to put it down heavily to begin with, but with inkjet coated papers it is a disaster. When applied with a heavy hand, it will scratch and you will see the "lift ups" of the inkjet coating.

My choice would be to go with the Conté pastel pencils and emphasize to apply gently, blend gently, and remove gently...the operative word is gentle

As beginners tend to be heavy handed when first learning to color, I would advise getting a sized watercolor paper (non inkjet coated paper)
to begin with and then move into using the Epson Enhanced Matte. As watercolor papers are sized for "re-working", their surface is tougher and harder than an inkjet surface. They can remove color easily and lay down a new color without the worry of "lifting" the surface.

Both Arches' Bright White Watercolor paper and Fabriano's Classico 5 watercolor papers work very well in inkjet printers and give you a great print. You should buy the l40lbs, Hot Pressed Watercolor paper.

The original print will be muted in color if compared to an inkjet print, but if you jack up the saturation and contrast, you will come close to the inkjet version. In any case, if they are to hand color the image, this will not matter. It is a far cheaper way to go, especially for beginners. You can buy both of these at Dick Blick or Daniel Smith for great prices. Especially if you get the 25 pack of 22 x 30 sheets and cut them down yourself.

Good Luck



Theresa Airey