Review: Daler Rowney Smooth Drawing (96gsm) & Fine Grain (120gsm) Paper

Daler Rowney Smooth Drawing Paper (96gsm) and Fine Grain Drawing Paper (120gsm) are quite similar so I'm reviewing them together.

They are comparable to Simply Sketch (95gsm) and Simply Drawing (120gsm), also from Daler Rowney.

The 95gsm paper are smooth while the 120gsm is lightly textured. Smooth Drawing Pad (96gsm) is the only off-white among the four, unless you count in Arteco (95gsm).

Here's a table to make it easier to compare.

Paper Arteco Simply Sketch Simply Drawing Smooth Drawing Fine Grain Drawing
Paper weight 95gsm 95gsm 120gsm 96gsm 120gsm
Texture Fine grain Smooth Fine grain Smooth Find grain
Color Off-white White White Off-white White
Acid-free Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

They are all good for pen and ink, graphite and coloured pencils. The thicker paper can take heavier dry medium like pastels. All will warp with ink washes.

Below are some sketches using the paper.

Daler Rowney Drawing Paper (96gsm) - 01
Above: Smooth with fountain pen

To see larger versions of the pictures, visit

Daler Rowney Drawing Paper (96gsm) - 02
Above: Smooth Drawing and fountain pen with Black Star Matte ink wash

Daler Rowney Drawing Paper (96gsm) - 03
Above: Smooth with Kuretake No. 40 brush pen

When a brush pen is used for quick strokes, you get a bit of a dry brush effect. However, it's not as obvious as on the Fine Grain Drawing Paper.

Daler Rowney Fine Grain Drawing Paper (120gsm) - 01
Above: Fine Grain and fountain pen with Kandahar ink wash

If you're just creating ink line art, there's no big difference. The look and the feeling of the pen nib on paper will be the same.

Daler Rowney Fine Grain Drawing Paper (120gsm) - 02
Above: Fine Grain and fountain pen with Kandahar ink wash

The smooth and fine grain paper are both thin so whatever drawing you have on one page will have an impression on the other page.

Daler Rowney Fine Grain Drawing Paper (120gsm) - 03
Above: Fine Grain and Kuretake brush pen.

The fine grain paper has more texture and is slightly easier to create the dry brush effect with quick strokes.

A comparison of quick strokes using a brush pen on the smooth and fine grain. Of course if you draw slowly, the the strokes will be solid.

Daler Rowney Drawing Paper (96gsm) - 04

Daler Rowney Fine Grain Drawing Paper (120gsm) - 04

Daler Rowney Fine Grain Drawing Paper (120gsm) - 05
The Fine Grain has more tooth and will produce a rougher look when used with graphite or coloured pencils.


Other than coloured pencils, other media will look and feel the same when used on both the smooth and fine grain paper.

Personally, I prefer the fine grain paper because it feels better to draw on a lightly textured surface, and there will not be any colour bias when scanning the white paper.

I've talked about other types of drawing paper at the top of this article, and I'll recommend the Simply series instead. First, they are easier to find online because at least it's easier to search using the "Simply" brand. Second, there really isn't any advantage to these two smooth and fine-grain pads compared to the Simply series. They are just draw-tear-throw pads so it's more economical to get the slightly cheaper Simply series.


Daler Rowney is from UK so you can find their products at JacksonsArt (UK).


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