February 24, 2024

artfcity

Art Shines Through

Celebrating 10 Years of Toned Paper

Celebrating 10 Years of Toned Paper

Before we dive into the history of toned paper and why we created it, let’s talk a little bit about what it is.

What is Toned Paper?

Strathmore Toned Paper is a mid-toned colored sheet that comes in warm tan, cool gray, and steel blue.

Starting your artwork using mid-range colored paper allows for unique sketching & drawing possibilities by providing the middle value that would otherwise need to be rendered by the artist. A wider range of values from light to dark can be used, and the middle tone makes it easier for the artist to deliberately place shadows and highlights.

Keeping the value of the paper as one of the values in the drawing not only saves time, but allows the artist to use graphite or other dark media to push darker values and white pencils or other light media to add highlights, making sketches and drawings pop.


Artwork by Kelly Foss on Toned Tan Sketch

Our Toned papers are 100% recycled, contain 30% post-consumer fiber, and also contain kraft and bark fiber inclusions which adds visual interest. We have a wide selection of toned papers in different weights and formats, which we’ll get into shortly.

The History of Strathmore Toned Paper

In 2012, we created Toned Sketch paper after listening to artists in forums, discussion groups, blogs and social platforms and discovering unmet needs:

  • Many artists searching for toned sketch paper for experimenting, quick studies, sketching, life drawing and journaling
  • There was growing interest in experimenting with light & dark media, generated by new drawing tools
  • Traditional toned papers were not suitable for this need: typically they were too textured, or not available in sketchbook/pad format
  • Many artists were taking the time to tone their own papers prior to drawing to achieve the desired affect they were after.

With this in mind, we set out to create a new option for artists and introduced Toned Sketch Paper in Tan and Gray.

Toned Sketch Paper in Tan and Gray

  • Weight: 80lb / 118gsm
  • Surface: medium
  • Acid free
  • 100% recycled, 30% PCW
  • Kraft & bark fiber inclusions
  • Available in pads, sheets, rolls and art journals
  • Excellent for graphite, chalk, charcoal, colored pencil, markers, ink, and all dry media


Artwork by @maura_mazzara_art on Toned Gray Sketch

Toned Mixed Media Paper in Tan and Gray

Toned Sketch paper became an instant hit and we saw many artists enjoying the benefits of the paper, however, some started expressing the desire to add wet media like watercolor, gouache and/or acrylic. The original Toned Sketch paper was manufactured solely for dry media and does not contain the sizing required to allow it to hold up to wet media applications. After listening to artist feedback, we introduced the next generation of toned paper, Toned Mixed Media.

It’s a perfect mix combination of our Toned Sketch paper and our 400 Series Mixed Media paper with the mid-tone tan and gray colors of the Toned Sketch, and the heavy weight and wet media properties of the Mixed Media.

  • Weight: 184lb / 300gsm
  • Surface: medium
  • Acid free
  • 100% recycled, 30% PCW
  • Kraft & bark fiber inclusions
  • Available in pads, sheets and art journals
  • Excellent for watercolor, gouache, acrylic, graphite, chalk, charcoal, colored pencil, markers, and ink


Artwork by @sofiapavanmacias on Toned Gray Mixed Media

Toned Blue Paper

Oh yeah… then we added a Steel Blue color to the Toned Mixed Media range. Toned Mixed Media papers became a new favorite among artists and we received many requests for more colors, so we added a blue option.


Artwork by @rainbowmastery on Toned Blue Mixed Media Paper

Fast-forward to 2022, and we are excited to announce another member of the Toned family, Toned Blue Sketch! Previously the toned blue color could only be found in the glue-bound mixed media format. We’ve received many requests from artists for Toned Blue paper in sketchbook format, and we’re happy to announce it is now available!

A lot has happened in the last 10 years with toned paper. Below is a comparison chart of all Strathmore Toned Papers that are available to make it easier for you to decide which best suits your needs:

And in case you’re a history buff and appreciate a timeline, here’s a recap of when we introduced the different members of the toned paper family:

Toned Blue Sketch Cover Art by Justin Maas

We worked with artist Justin Maas for the featured artwork on the covers of the new Toned Blue Sketch paper.

Justin has been using Toned Tan and Gray Sketch papers for almost as long as they’ve been available to create stunning portrait drawings. He used graphite and white charcoal on the new Toned Blue Sketch paper for the cover of the pads, which perfectly showcases how both light and dark media can be used on the mid-tone color of the sheet.

See more of Justin’s amazing drawings on his Instagram page, @maas.art.

The Toned Blue Sketch pads come in the same sizes as the Toned Tan and Gray Sketch pads:

We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about our toned papers, and we love seeing the wide variety of artwork that is being created on them! Here are a few more pieces done by various artists on our Toned surfaces:


Artwork by @sabine.s.art on Strathmore Toned Tan Sketch


Artwork by @jmr.art on Strathmore Toned Tan Mixed Media


Artwork by @hope.hokulani on Strathmore Toned Tan Mixed Media


Artwork by @zeeliasfineart on Strathmore Toned Gray Sketch Paper


Artwork by @anthonywheelerart on Strathmore Toned Tan Mixed Media


Artwork by @georgina_kreutzer on Strathmore Toned Tan Mixed Media


Artwork by @gostty on Strathmore Toned Gray Mixed Media