This is the first in a series of reviews of Toned paper. I have been lucky enough to work with the top brands who make toned paper. Fabriano agreed to participate and sent me a beautiful Ingres toned pad. The 9″ x 12″ wire bound pad is rare and hard to get but you can purchase Fabriano’s Ingres paper from several sellers in individual sheets. I will list suppliers at the end of the review.
The pad came with three colors of “Browns”. There’s a dark brown with a red undertone, a medium brown with a beige undertone and a light brown with a green undertone.
Weight: 90gsm / 48lb
Size: 8.5″ x 11.75″, 60 sheets
Best For: Dry media like pastels, pastel pencils & charcoal
I found using watercolor pencils on this paper worked well as long as you liked the texture it created. The grain runs both horizontally and vertically on this paper. Reading other artists’ experiences with pastels on the paper, I found that it was highly coveted and harder to find. It is now available on Amazon in several colors and sizes. One can buy half or quarter sheets in white, cream, taupe, sand & grey. Unfortunately, since the front of the paper pad Fabriano sent me does not have the colors listed, I’m unsure which colors I have. The mid-tone brown with a beige undertone is closest to the sand color they show. Although I’m also unsure if the photos on Amazon are accurate since when I photographed the art and the above promotional photo, I had trouble capturing the actual tone of the paper. Let’s talk about art.
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The first piece I attempted was the eggs. The paper expertly took many layers and it was easy to use the color of the paper to create shadow and light of the brown eggs. I used the mid-tone paper with the beige undertone for this. I would have to say that the texture of the paper didn’t work as well as it did for the other two pieces. I still think it created an aged, antique, earthy look to the artwork. Coincidentally, I happen to have put the shadows going with the horizontal grain of the paper. I think if I had angled the eggs differently the texture would have more negatively affected the piece. I also think the use of watercolor pencils (I use Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer) is not the best medium for this paper. I couldn’t use any water to liquify the watercolor pencils as the paper is too thin to handle it. I can see that this paper would work brilliantly with pastels. It is made for that medium.
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The second piece I did was the Bosc pears. I specifically chose those because I was looking for a subject that nearly matched the color of the paper. I wanted to work on capturing the light and shadow and be able to leave the mid tone for the most part. It ended up that the paper needed extra color in the mid tones to give the pear life. I do love how they turned out. They look like an antique painting that has aged well. This is when I started liking the texture with the watercolor pencils on the ingres. This piece took dozens of layers and had no problem taking more color. I think that’s due to the tooth of the paper.
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Finally I did the baby pinecone and I think he turned out the best. I absolutely love the dark brown color of this paper. I wish other toned paper came in dark brown. It’s warm and luscious looking with the little pinecone. I think this would make an adorable Christmas card. The white Uniball Signo gel pen slid over the paper beautifully and added those necessary highlights that made the artwork jump off the page. Here, working with browns in darker and darker shades then doing the shadow and deepest recesses using indigo, I achieved the depth that worked so well with the Fabriano Ingress brown paper.
I would highly recommend this paper to anyone working with pastels. The feel of the paper, although thin at 90gsm, is soft to the touch, quite luxurious. The Fabriano Ingres paper comes in a higher weight of 160gsm and I can imagine having the thicker paper would be even better to work with.
I want to thank Fabriano for sending this rare pad for me to try, it was so generous of them to want to participate in this toned paper series. Here are places where artists can find & purchase this product.