A variety of drawing surfaces is used by landscape design professionals. Some have a short life. Others must be stronger because the drawings are meant to be permanent or must endure repeated handling and folding. Some of the surfaces are for original drawings whereas others are for copies. Some are best suited to pencil; others are more suitable for ink, felt pen, colored pencils, or other media. A brief summary of the drawing surfaces and their uses follows.
Drawing paper A heavy, opaque surface, it is used for sketching and for one-of-a-kind drawings. It takes pen and pencil equally well. Markers are likely to bleed and run on it. The smoother finishes are less absorbent.
Vellum Translucent paper surface, vellum is manufactured in several weights and qualities. Vellum is a surface on which drawings are originated or traced. The most lightweight vellum has a limited life. It is used for first-draft drawings and sketches. Heavier grades are used to trace designs that are to be presented to the client or contractors. Because it is translucent, vellum can be copied in a diazo duplicator, which is one of the most common ways to reproduce drawings in quantities.
Mylar film A translucent plastic surface, it is used like heavyweight vellum to make final tracings for presentation and duplication. Mylar film is more expensive than vellum. It is frosted on one or both sides, necessary for ink or graphite to adhere to the surface.
Drafting cloth A translucent surface of plastic with a thin layer of linen bonded to it. The cloth side is the one drawn on. Drafting cloth is the most expensive drafting surface. It is used where strength is important.
Reproductive paper, film, and cloth Sensitized materials that permit positive duplication of drawings done in pencil or ink on vellum, film, or cloth. Use of the paper requires a copying machine like the diazo duplicator. Special-effect papers are available as well.