For my Copic coloring, I use Neenah 80lb cardstock. There are two different versions of Neenah cardstock – smooth and super-smooth. I have historically purchased from Ellen Hutson (#04701), and their cardstock is smooth. However, to save money, many people are buying from places like Amazon and JoAnn’s (#03249), who sell the super-smooth at a sometimes discounted price, especially with a coupon. I have often seen this question in the forum, and I have gotten emails about it… what is the difference? Is one better than the other? One of our members, Sherry, sent me some of her super-smooth cardstock so that I could do a comparison.
Because the coloring is kind of a long process, I’m doing this review with photos and text.
Just a couple of pre-test observations:
- The smooth is slightly thicker than the super-smooth.
- While the smooth is white, the super-smooth appears to be more of a bright white.
- You might assume that super-smooth is smoother, but they actually feel exactly the same with respect to texture.
I stamped both panels with a coffee cup that has a lot of space for coloring. I used Memento ink, and the ink was absorbed exactly the same on both cardstocks.
There is going to be some variation just because a human is coloring each cup individually. I tried to color each of the cups the same, but it’s impossible for me to copy the brushstrokes exactly. That being said, here are the two panels. Click on each for a larger version:
As I sit here looking at the samples, there is literally no difference. No difference in absorption, bleeding, blending, etc. Aside from the human coloring differences, you cannot distinguish the two. I did, however, notice one fairly noticeable difference… the back:
The color saturated the back of the smooth cardstock more than the super-smooth. I’m not sure how much this matters, but it’s kind of nice that it is an added bonus for the cheaper cardstock.
In summary, given that the coloring is the same, I would go with super-smooth. Although the smooth is a tiny bit thicker, the super-smooth is brighter in color, cheaper, and doesn’t soak through as much. The thickness of the cardstock isn’t enough to outweigh the advantages of the super-smooth. There you go!