• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.



Junior Member
I've been having trouble the last couple of years trying to decide on the best paper to 'ink' on (even though I don't really use inks per se, more of a fineliner type person), but I have it on good authority that layout / tracing paper is perfect for getting smooth / non-bleedy graphic line work. On the other hand, there are the naysayers who look down on this approach, as they say it's still retaining the bleed.

Just wanted to get your opinions on what you use to ink on? Basically, my work involves sketching in non-photo blue and inking with liners over the top, or just drawing in fineliners straight away, which is then scanned in, but I'm still never really satisfied with the smoothness of the line.


Staff member
This is what I've found when doing technical drawings and product design concepts rather than illustrations but the principles/results should be the same

Layout paper doesn't bleed if it's used with the right kind of ink. If you use layout paper with a pen such as a rotring isograph/rapidograph (not cheap but refillable and higher quality) the ink literally sits on top of the layout paper and takes some time to fully dry. Now these pens are not suited for sketch style drawing but for outlining you should be fine. You can even buy specialist erasers which allow you to treat the layout paper and the rotring pens like you would pencil and paper.

Now if you use an everyday fineliner (we'll say a berol one) then you can get bleed, usually a very small amount, when used with layout paper.

Layout paper does have additional benefits in that it works very well with alcohol based markers for adding colour etc, something tracing paper doesn't work well with.


Well-Known Member
Good quality bleedproof marker paper does it for me - some are better than others - and maybe try a few different makes of pen.

Alternatively, you might want to try Bristol Board, if they still do it. It's a heavy, smooth paper which is used more for dip pens than
fineliners, but might do the trick. It's too heavy for me, as you can't trace through it too well.


Staff member
I swear by layout paper.

I used to use Rorting's a lot and I found they got better for drawing freehand with use as the ends used to wear and were less scratchy.
I still have tattoo dots all over the place from shaking them and stabbing myself. :D


Staff member
Yeah my rotrings did lose a lot of the 'scratchyness' over time but to be honest my sketches were usually done using rotring artpens.
Luckily I got nearly all the isograph pens AND the artpens supper cheap when the local berol, who made them, plant closed down :)