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. Lastly, Arches also allows you to choose between hot pressed, rough, and cold pressed paper varieties. In terms of its manufacturing process, the Arches Watercolor Paper Pad is up there with the best. Mounting tape comes in two main varieties – gummed tape and artist tape. When reviewing all the watercolor papers, here are the important features so you can easily compare them in a tabular format: When purchasing watercolor paper, you will want to keep the following in mind when making your decision: As you may have noticed in some of the reviews, watercolor papers can come in primarily three different varieties: Here’s a diagram that demonstrates the differences: From postcards to large scale paintings, watercolor papers come in many different sizes. At 20lbs and intended just for inkjet or laser printers, copy paper is at best used for very light use. While unable to absorb water nearly as well as traditional watercolor paper, many watercolorists like the smooth texture, particularly for detailed pieces or watercolors that are used on formal drawings. These are tips I wish I knew when I started out. What can I use if I don’t have watercolor paper available? 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. Bottom Line:  This paper is perfect for beginners. This allows the artist to do complex blending, washings, and more to really demonstrate their talents. The differing texture between the paper types allow you to find the right texture for your next painting (remember: hot pressed for detail, cold press for deeper texture and layering). The gentle blossoming of color when you touch a loaded brush on the wet paper, that’s because of sizing. Rembrandt Watercolor Paper Blocks hold 20 sheets of 140 lb (300 gsm) paper, glued on all four edges to prevent the paper from buckling while being painted on in the block. 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. In addition to the various weights of paper, you can use watercolor board, which is paper adhered to illustration board. Like gesso used for oil and acrylic paints, a watercolor ground can transform just about any material into a suitable surface for watercolor painting. Typically the greater the number of sheets, the lower the price per sheet will be. In this review and guide, we will be reviewing a selection of watercolor papers – including the highly touted Arches watercolor paper. Start with the best watercolor papers that you can afford. Watercolor papers come in different forms, qualities, surfaces, and weights, all of which respond differently to the paint and to various painting techniques. Saunders Waterford Hot Pressed, NOT, Rough 90lb, 140lb, 200lb, 300lb: Loose Sheets; Glued Block; Fat Pads; Hard Back Book; This exquisite, traditionally mould-made watercolour paper is superior quality and comes with an endorsement from the Royal Watercolour Society. When reviewing watercolor papers, especially those that are rough or have been handmade, you may notice a natural tearing along the edges. The spiral-bound paper is usually perforated so that you can tear it out easily. This painting done on student grade watercolor paper allows me to blend colors and use washes. If you buy light watercolor papers of high quality, you’ll have to stretch them out manually – a tedious process that I’m not going to go into right now. The 100% cotton cold press paper comes in a velvety, fine-grained texture, much smoother than the Arches cold press paper. Arches strike the perfect balance between texture and absorbency. The paper here did most of the work for me. 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. Bottom Line: Whether you are a college student or a thrifty shopper, this budget paper allows you to still have fun painting without having to worry about the cost. The texture allows your watercolor pigments to latch on easily, which in turn allows for dynamic color combinations you can get with traditional paper. This consideration is of personal preference and one that you should think about before making your purchase. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. 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 → Here’s what we liked about it: When using expensive art supplies, it’s hard to ignore the price every time you go to sit down and paint. Designed for art students, the Strathmore 300 Series watercolor pad comes with 12 square sheets. When browsing online stores for other inexpensive watercolor papers, we found that many off-brands compromised on weight. While there are machines that can reproduce this design flare, it largely harkens back to the day when watercolor papers were handmade. It is more forgiving, as the texture acts to smooth uneven brushwork. Watercolor paper rolls not only allow for greater control on the size of the surface that you plan to paint on but also equally provide tremendous value. Hot press is smooth. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Arches manufactures more sizes and weights of artist grade watercolor paper than any other paper company I know of. Browse the best watercolor paper for painting. Relying on cellulose fibers, this cold pressed paper from Canson can withstand a few layers from the wet media – allowing you to make dynamic and deep paintings. It would start buckling after two layers. Lastly, the size of the sheet will impact the price. Although it is not 100% cotton archival quality, the paper is acid-free and offers a decent absorbency. Advanced watercolorists looking for a hot press paper that allows them to showcase their detailed watercolor techniques. However, a canvas that has been treated with an absorbent ground such as those by Golden or Daniel Smith can be used as a painting surface with your watercolors. 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. Arches Watercolor Paper Block, Hot Press, (350 gsm, 12″x16″), #4. It is all about convenience. No mechanical grid if you are using 100% cotton. Arches cold press watercolor paper has a wonderful texture for landscapes, seascapes and other subjects that you paint when you want more depth. Works well with other media including color pencils, acrylics, markers, gouache, etc. 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. During the production process, quality watercolor paper companies will submerge the paper into a bath of a sizing agent. Fabriano Artistico, Cold Press, (350 gsm, 9″x12″) – Extra White, Everything You Wanted to Know About Watercolor Paper, Start with the best option that you can afford, I learned the hard way that this doesn’t work. Traditional canvas that is left untreated (raw) or primed with gesso is incompatible with watercolors. In this article, I’m going to walk you through my picks for the best watercolor paper for beginners. Therefore, you will need to bring a board with you. Bottom Line: This heavyweight paper from Bee Paper is a great alternative to traditional sketchbooks and pads. 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. When creating artwork, it’s important to be aware of the related supplies as they could be used for certain pieces. This experience reflects the excellent quality of their paper. With poor absorption properties and a flimsy body, copy paper should never be used as a trusted surface. If you are starting out, you might be looking for affordable paper to practice on. Thanks to its cylinder mold made design, each sheet provides a consistent experience which allows for predictable results. Brands such as Daniel Smith manufacture a variety of grounds that are worth considering. Averaging $2.50 per sheet, it will likely be best used for planned pieces rather than simply doodling. One of Arches’ strongest offerings will be the variety of size, weight, and paper options available. It is acid free and won’t yellow. Anything less than 300 g/m2 will require taping down the paper to prevent warping. How To Make An Acrylic Painting Waterproof, 10 Best Drawing Mannequins That Hold A Pose: A Review & Buying Guide, 7 Best Sketchbooks To Quickly Capture Your Ideas & Imagination, 10 Best Pencil Erasers That Will Cleanly Remove Marks, 10 Best Pencil Cases For Artists Who Want Perfect Organization, 7 Best Electric Sharpeners For Artists That Cut Perfectly, 8 Best Light Boxes That Are Super Bright For Artists, 7 Best Drawing Boards For School, Drafting & More, Available in several different sizes, weights, and paper types, The fine textured surface allows for great control, Find the perfect paper to meet your requirements, Mold made manufacturing process provides consistent results, Acid free body makes it suitable for commissioned works, Small sizes make it perfect for field sketches, Made from cellulose fibers and is acid free, Block form allows for easy and safe transport, Perfect surface texture for beginners to explore their watercolor paints, Paper quality is good considering the price, Susceptible to pilling when layering heavily, Smooth finish is ideal for portrait and detail work, Great for layering and won’t pill thanks to 100% cotton composition, Gelatin sizing allows for greater control and prevents warping, Well-made and perfect for testing techniques, Inexpensive price makes it a good paper for all skill levels and ages, 30 sheets per pad allow for plenty of practice. Does watercolor paper need to be wet prior to painting? For this hot press paper by Arches, this paper, which is made from 100% cotton, has undergone natural gelatin sizing. Arches paper is reliable, of excellent quality, and lasts for years without yellowing. watercolor paper of premium quality will not absorb an unnecessary amount of water and will let you have a good grip on the pigments you place When looking for the hot press paper, then most watercolorists agree that Arches makes the best paper surface out there. I couldn’t erase the pencil marks as the paper would tear. Here are some common alternatives to watercolor paper: Hot pressed and with substantially less weight, drawing paper is intended for use with graphite or charcoal. It simply means different weight papers have different gum sized surfaces as explained above. If you like more control you can use hot press watercolor paper. Bottom Line: If you are looking for a step up from some of the beginner brands, then Legion Stonehenge will make sense for you. To determine which paper is best for your needs, first, it is useful to understand the characteristics of paper … …and integrity. This is referred to by watercolorists as having a deckled edge. Here, I’m going to help you find the paper most suitable for your style, experience, and budget. However, the machine texture shows through in spots. It is actually pressed in a press like an iron. You could say I had an obsession with the combination of the pencils, the watercolors and the paper. However, heavier weighted papers greater than 300 g/m2 tend to have increased price points. Followed by three of the best watercolor paper brands – suitable for framing and even commissions. When I started to learn how to watercolor paint, I started out with cartridge paper. Watercolor paper comes in three different “finishes” or textures: hot press, cold press, and rough. Artists who want complete control over all aspects in the size of their planned painting. Anything less than 300 gsm is considered lightweight paper. However, we found that most modern student grade papers are acid-free. The prices of this paper are significantly higher and typically range upwards to $4 for a single sheet. Arches Watercolor Pads contain paper made with natural cotton fibers on a cylinder-mold machine. Like copy paper, construction paper is rather thin and not the best surface for painting. Bottom Line:  For the artist who wants to go beyond the four walls of their studio, this watercolor block not only will perform well, but is also an affordable option. Beyond being a favorite with professionals, Canson is also a major sponsor of the Louvre and has supported several initiatives as a result (source). Its terrific performance coupled by a rock-bottom price per sheet not normally exhibited in this category makes for a sound choice. Secondly, Arches also makes this paper in several different sizes so you can get the right scale to fit your artistic needs. Artists who want to capture their work en plein air. Like our Content?Share It With Other Artists. This not only adds strength to the paper so you don’t have to stretch it prior to painting but will also allow for crisp and more controlled results. While the paper has a nice tooth to it, it is not too rough and offers predictable results. Whether you intend to use watercolor paint from tubes or pans, a palette provides you with a clean mixing surface in order to provide sharp and crisp results. Furthermore, Legion doesn’t add any optical brightening agents or chlorine, which lessens its impact on the environment when made. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The rough (or toothy) cold pressed surface absorbs water quickly. Beginners might end up buying the cheapest and worst ones, such as cartridge paper, to learn on. The first two options are some of the best cheap watercolor paper in the market for beginners. The heavier the paper does not mean it is a better paper to paint on. Value. This is another excellent paper but it performs very differently from Hot Pressed paper. If you have watercolor paper that buckled after it dried, then you will want to follow these steps: Watercolor paper is expensive due to the extensive manufacturing process. This means it is acid-free and is made of 100% cotton rag. Whether you like to put down a wash or are more into masking, scraping, scrubbing, using salt, or simply plan on using mixing media, this Bee Paper can withstand the abuse thanks to its durability and thickness. Some artists like hot-pressed paper for detailed work, but others find it too slippery, making it difficult to control the paint. 100% cotton this paper is of an archival standard and is buffered to prevent discolouration of your artwork. However, unlike traditional paper, many brands refer to their weight in GSM (Grams Per Square Meter / g/m2) as they are often located in Europe. Mary started Createlet to expand on this goal and bring her teaching skills to a wider audience. A good quality paper suitable for your medium makes all the difference while learning new techniques. We hope that this guide proved helpful in your artistic endeavors in finding the perfect quality paper to meet your needs. I dry it flat. It is well-made and will showcase your talents beautifully. Blocks are a stack of sheets that are glued on all sides like the Arches block. 2. If your designs involve lots of paint and water, and you have tried other watercolor papers that buckled due to the dampness, then you got to give Strathmore’s paper a … Hot pressed paper has a smooth surface. One of the problems that many beginner artists have is they are afraid to use their supplies because they cost so much. 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?! Fabriano Artistico is one of the well known watercolor papers. Mary favors traditional media including oil, acrylic, and watercolors. Just don’t forget to pack the water when you go outside! Secondly, if you plan on using your new watercolor paper for field sketches, then a smaller size will be helpful when transporting. Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper. When considering the price, it is expensive and, therefore, may be a bit too expensive for novice artists. How I remember the difference is simple. When using nicer papers, many cannot help but tally up the price in their head and know that a practice piece may cost them a couple of dollars in supplies each time. From an archival standpoint, this hot press paper from Arches is great for a professional-level painting. Student artists that are still in the learning process and want to practice and experiment with new techniques. See more ideas about Watercolor, Watercolor paper, Watercolor paintings. This 12 sheet pad gives you the best cold press watercolor paper to learn on if you can afford it. The paper needed for this art style is Hot Press artist paper or multimedia paper. Canson XL Watercolor Paper (300 gsm, 9″ x 12″), #5. To read how this site makes money click here. Do you use a quick, watery style of painting where you want the colors to spread and mix on the paper? 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 traditional sweet spot that watercolorists prefer is 300 g/m2. The professional brands offer even and predictable sizing. Canson XL Watercolor Paper (300 gsm, 9″ x 12″) Watercolor paper that feels smooth to the touch – similar to Mixed Media or Drawing paper just way WAY WAY thicker – is called Hot Press Paper. Starting out with a thick, substantial paper makes it so much easier to master techniques. “Rough” is the name given to a very rough surfaced watercolor paper. Bottom Line: If you are planning to paint portraits or detailed pieces, then you will love the control and ultimately the results when working with this hot press paper by Arches. Art Ignition is reader-supported. Not only do the variety of surface types vary significantly from one brand to the next, but so do the forms, weight, prices, etc. That’s why the best paper for aquarelle painting is always 100% cotton. #1. For those of you who plan on doing commissioned pieces, the paper provided by Arches is both acid-free and pH-neutral. From the corner supermarket to your local arts and crafts store, it is incredibly easy to find. With a slightly textured surface and heavy body typically around 300 g/m2, it can withstand not only watercolors, but also acrylic, gouache, pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel, and other media. No texture to add shadows or interfere with the clean fresh look. Common sizes include 30 sheets, 15 sheets, and 12 sheets. Here are a few common questions artists had about watercolor paper: Most artists agree that using watercolors on regular paper is a bad idea. 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. Cold press paper is the most versatile and recommended in most workshops. Additionally, watercolor paper also has a much longer drying process which can have an impact on costs. Tool for the purpose affiliate commission decision that is left to the world! Is buffered to prevent discolouration of your artwork to keep in mind when making your selection the papers that reviewed... 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