This post may contain affiliate links. I’ll be exploring this a little later in this series – when I compare other watercolor paper brands against each other. Paul Rubens Watercolor Paper Pad, Premium Leather Cover Artist Quality Hot Pressed Paper for Watercolors and Wet Media Block, Acid Free & 100% Cotton, 7.68 x … To read how this site makes money click here. #1. It comes only in hot-press or cold-press, and is only available in 140-pound sheets of 22x30 paper, but the brand touts this papers extra sizing, the treatment that reduces absorbency. It is versatile enough for most aquarelle techniques that you’ll be learning. Designed for art students, the Strathmore 300 Series watercolor pad comes with 12 square sheets. You’ll find it easy to make detailed paintings such as food or botanical illustrations and portraits. Artists who want complete control over all aspects in the size of their planned painting. During the production process, quality watercolor paper companies will submerge the paper into a bath of a sizing agent. Founded in 1492, Arches has withstood the test of time and features one of the richest histories of any brand featured on our list. This painting done on student grade watercolor paper allows me to blend colors and use washes. It is all about convenience. My paper has always been Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed watercolor paper, usually 140 lbs. Seasoned watercolorists know just how important selecting the right watercolor paper can be. The sheets come in a pad, which comprises 30 sheets bound together with a glue. This experience reflects the excellent quality of their paper. Best Watercolor Paper for Artists As mentioned above, the best watercolor paper is archival quality. Professional-grade paper is usually handmade or mold-made using 100% cotton rag. The archival properties of this paper type are poor and not intended for long term display as they often have a neutral pH balance and contain artificial whiteners. Mary is a self-taught artist that has been painting for over 20 years. For those of you who plan on doing commissioned pieces, the paper provided by Arches is both acid-free and pH-neutral. In addition to the various weights of paper, you can use watercolor board, which is paper adhered to illustration board. Although it is not 100% cotton archival quality, the paper is acid-free and offers a decent absorbency. Card stock must be mounted in order to prevent warping. Here’s how they differ: When researching watercolor paper, you will find that it comes in many different forms which include the following: The number of sheets available in a pad or block varies from one brand to another. Texture, on the other hand, is a subjective matter based on personal preference and painting style.. First, you have hot-pressed paper, which has a smooth, hard surface. Beginners might end up buying the cheapest and worst ones, such as cartridge paper, to learn on. Beyond being a favorite with professionals, Canson is also a major sponsor of the Louvre and has supported several initiatives as a result (source). High-quality watercolor papers need pure cotton fiber and a process called sizing. While the paper has a nice tooth to it, it is not too rough and offers predictable results. However, heavier weighted papers greater than 300 g/m2 tend to have increased price points. For this hot press paper by Arches, this paper, which is made from 100% cotton, has undergone natural gelatin sizing. Here are a few common questions artists had about watercolor paper: Most artists agree that using watercolors on regular paper is a bad idea. We may receive a commission on products purchased through these links. Arches Watercolor Paper Pad, Cold Press, (350 gsm, 10″x14″), Absorbent surface that will work well for a variety of techniques, Perfect texture for washes and granulation, Archival, smooth surface ideal for detailed work, 100% cotton paper that supports multiple washes and lifting, Durable surface that doesn’t buckle with repeated washes, Spiral binding with strong chipboard backing, A natural white surface that shows accurate colors and holds multiple washes, Great for landscapes using flat and variegated wash, Interesting textures that work well with techniques like dry brush, An absorbent surface that supports multiple techniques, Professional quality, but not as predictable and study as Arches watercolor paper. Arches 100% Rag Watercolor Paper Bright White. Here are a few notable online retailers where you can purchase watercolor paper from: Selecting the best watercolor paper of 2020 proved to be a challenge. The starting item in the chart of the best watercolor paper is Canson XL watercolor review. Followed by three of the best watercolor paper brands – suitable for framing and even commissions. Paper labeled only as “acid-free” is usually made with wood pulp or other cellulose materials and may yellow over time. This consideration is of personal preference and one that you should think about before making your purchase. When I started to learn how to watercolor paint, I started out with cartridge paper. Watercolor papers come in different forms, qualities, surfaces, and weights, all of which respond differently to the paint and to various painting techniques. Just don’t forget to pack the water when you go outside! This artist-grade watercolor paper is great for watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and airbrushing. …and integrity. Cold press paper is the most versatile and recommended in most workshops. See more ideas about Watercolor, Watercolor paper, Watercolor paintings. I enjoy exploring art techniques, playing with colors, and capturing life around me through urban sketches and illustrations. The first two options are some of the best cheap watercolor paper in the market for beginners. Paul Rubens Watercolor Journal, 100% Cotton 140 lb (300 GSM) Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper, 20 Sheets Sized 7.6’’ x 5.3’’ Travel Art Journal for Beginners and Experienced Painters (Black) 4.5 … Secondly, Arches also makes this paper in several different sizes so you can get the right scale to fit your artistic needs. 2. This pad comes with 20 sheets in a convenient portrait size glued on all four sides. All the papers that we reviewed above are amongst the best collection of watercolour papers. In this review and guide, we will be reviewing a selection of watercolor papers – including the highly touted Arches watercolor paper. Student artists that are still in the learning process and want to practice and experiment with new techniques. The gentle blossoming of color when you touch a loaded brush on the wet paper, that’s because of sizing. It simply means different weight papers have different gum sized surfaces as explained above. Bottom Line:  Overall, if you are taking your water coloring seriously and want to see better results, instead of investing in expensive brushes or paints, watercolor papers provided by Arches are simply the best option that is currently available on the market. Art Ignition is reader-supported. Secondly, if you plan on using your new watercolor paper for field sketches, then a smaller size will be helpful when transporting. Your answer will be used to improve our content. You could say I had an obsession with the combination of the pencils, the watercolors and the paper. The smaller block sizes form allows for hassle-free travel outside the studio. Paper Type: Cold Pressed Paper, Hot Pressed Paper, Rough Paper. If you like more control you can use hot press watercolor paper. Imported from France, watercolorists have loved Arches paper for centuries. The only challenge is controlling the watercolor paint on the slippery surface – beginners might need some time to perfect it. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Additionally, watercolor paper also has a much longer drying process which can have an impact on costs. While not as high quality as some of the other watercolor paper pads that we reviewed, the Strathmore 300 provides a nice heavy weight (300 g/m2) and consistent texture so you can practice painting techniques without having to worry about the paper warping. Arches paper is reliable, of excellent quality, and lasts for years without yellowing. This can kill your confidence as an artist because many will interpret this as their fault and not that of the papers. Graded wash on cold press texture … the colors blend easily. From an archival standpoint, this hot press paper from Arches is great for a professional-level painting. For those artists unable to use watercolor paper, there are plenty of other options which include the following: linen canvas, cotton canvas, parchment paper, rice paper, and wood. When looking for the hot press paper, then most watercolorists agree that Arches makes the best paper surface out there. At roughly 200 g/m2,card stock can work in a pinch when it comes to light watercolor sketches. Additionally, copy paper may contain acid and is full of whiteners which may cause deterioration at a quicker rate. Works well with other media including color pencils, acrylics, markers, gouache, etc. Our recommendation is to always err on the side of caution and choose a larger size as it can be cut down to size. An inexpensive pad of watercolor paper will cost under $10 whereas a professional block of watercolor paper will cost upwards of $50. When I started to, If I Had To Choose One Option for Beginners …, #2. Sketching is my happy place. Sizing refers to using gelatin internally and/or as a coating. When creating artwork, it’s important to be aware of the related supplies as they could be used for certain pieces. One of the problems that many beginner artists have is they are afraid to use their supplies because they cost so much. The most standard paper for watercolor is typically 140lbs, but it will buckle and curl if not taped down or stretched, if you work with lots of wash techniques or cover large amounts of paper with water at the same time. Watercolor paper is classified into three surface textures: rough (very textured), cold press (less textured), and hot press (smooth). Anything less than 300 g/m2 will require taping down the paper to prevent warping. Aside from watercolor paper, here are a few other supplies you will want to have on hand when watercoloring: What use is paper if you don’t have anything to paint it with?! Whether you are buying through a retailer such as Amazon, Dick Blick, or Jerry’s Artarama, you will find that Legion makes their paper in several sizes along with both hot and cold pressed options. The first two options are some of the best cheap watercolor paper in the market for beginners. Over the years, I have tried many techniques and have occasionally worked on other papers, but by and large, I have been loyal to my paper and pencils. It is made from 100% cotton, has a neutral pH-level and is acid-free. Whereas, the cold-pressed watercolor paper is a coarse paper with a bumpy finish. When evaluating watercolor papers for beginners, the importance of archival quality, acidity, and absorbency start to diminish. Arches Aquarelle Watercolor Paper: One of the overall best watercolor papers in the market; High-quality paper texture and color absorbency; Lets one choose the shape, the weight and the texture of the papers; VIEW LATEST PRICE → Some artists will wet their surface with a brush prior to painting. How I remember the difference is simple. Therefore, you will need to bring a board with you. If you are just starting out as an artist and are looking for a paper to go with that isn’t too expensive, then there is no better choice than the Canson XL Series paper. And, won’t pick up any bad habits (by having to compensate for lousy paper)! Does this seem counterintuitive? In addition to our detailed reviews, we will also share with you some tips to keep in mind when making your selection. It is actually pressed in a press like an iron. Rather than running a tally in your head, the Cason XL’s incredibly low price per pad  (typically retails for under $6) will remove this mental block completely. Here, we wanted to highlight a few of the key differences between both of these grades and what they will mean for your artwork: Student grade papers tend to be sold in bulk quantities, and are largely reserved for artists who are still learning basic skills such as blending or washing. Whether you are painting with purely watercolors or are planning on working in some other media, the surface of the Legion Stonehenge should be able to withstand the toughest of your demands. This is a problem in that if you paint with these papers, they will quickly pill and warp when adding the tiniest bit of water. This controls the absorbance and spread of water. Arches manufactures more sizes and weights of artist grade watercolor paper than any other paper company I know of. 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