Review: Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper (300gsm)

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper comes in 15 sheets gummed pads.

Strathmore 400 Series are medium grade quality paper, sitting between the budget student grade 300 Series and Artist 500 Series. Besides Mixed Media paper, there are also other types of paper such as for watercolour, bristol, charcoal and many others.

This paper has a smooth vellum surface, very comparable to smooth cartridge paper but much thicker at 300gsm. The surface is white.

Below are some sketches on the paper.

I enjoy using pen and ink on the paper. Pens glide really smoothly.

These two pictures above are photographs, and the ones below are scans.

If you use ink wash, you can get a very even wash, such as the shadow areas in the car sketch above where I used Daler Rowney Kandahar ink.

I used the watersoluble Derwent Inktense coloured pencils for colouring. This is how it looks with water applied. The 300gsm paper is able to take wet washes with minimal to no warping.

The white paper makes colours appear more vibrant.

Watercolours do not work well on this paper. It's not absorbent so water tends to stay on the surface for a while and has a tendency to pool and cause back-runs. It's also extremely difficult, if not impossible, to create an even flat wash. I would avoid use watercolours with this paper, although I don't mind using watersoluble pencils.

This was drawn with Copic multiliner and markers. Works well.


The Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper works well for media such as graphite, coloured pencils, pastels, pen and ink, markers. However for pen and ink work, I can get cheaper paper that's as smooth. But if you want thicker paper for pen and ink work, this paper is great.

Working with water-based media is more tricky. I've only tested watercolour though. Not sure how gouache or acrylic will perform.


Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials | Jackson's Art (UK)

Will the 500 series with cotton be better? Even when is it marketed as "mixed media"? I was going to buy the 400 journal for watercolor, but then I saw that it was not cotton on your review

And then I realized that the 500 series is not 300gsm..... All I want is a good cotton 300gsm hardcover journal :( oh well

In reply to by Kamilla (not verified)

The Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media Journal is not good for watercolour. The paper is not treated to handle watercolour. But it's very good paper for all other media.

In reply to by Teoh Yi Chie

S.M. 500 Series Mixed Media has several variants, including this 350lb pad:… A prominent online artist & teacher, Roz Stendahl, appreciates this series of paper for light-to-medium washes. But you have to pay attention to the exact product, since there are so many variables: 500 series, MxMed, 100% Cotton, Weight, Surface, etc.

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