Monday, June 25, 2007

Watercolor Paper

Okay, here's a question for all you lurkers out there, it's time for you to click on the Comments and leave a comment. We know you're out there. :-)

I spent a lot of time in the art supply store today, buying over a dozen large sheets of watercolor paper for a BIG project I'm starting work on tomorrow. I'm committed to this paper for this project, but is it the right paper for me? The saleslady in the paper department introduced me to many, many flat files of different kinds of watercolor paper. It's not that I'm a moron, I know the difference between hot-pressed, cold-pressed and so on, I'm just not sure what paper is a good match for me...

QUESTION: What watercolor paper do you use?
What brand?
Hot-pressed, cold-pressed, rough?
Watercolor block, pad or sheet of watercolor paper?

Good qualities / Bad qualities about the paper you're using?

Do you ALWAYS use the exact same watercolor paper or do you toss it up a bit?

I am desperately seeking a watercolor paper that I can say, "This is the watercolor paper I will marry!!"
But I haven't found it.
I sometimes think I've found it and then I break-up with it and never make eye contact with it again.

Come on, give me some suggestions and advice.


  1. I use, and I am obsessed with, Strathmore watercolor board. I use a micron pen along with watercolor and it handles both very well. Nice and smooth is how I like it! One of my professors told me once I used watercolor board I would never go back to paper...and it's true! Another great thing is it wont buckle, although it will curve slightly when you start using a lot of water. You just have to make sure to watch where the color runs and tilt the board to stop it. Also, if you don't want to send the whole board, the top layer (where your drawing is) peels off.

    Give it a try!

  2. Hello, Abby!
    Do you have a web site or examples of your work online?
    Watercolor board....very interesting!

  3. why don't you contact a supplier (or several, while your at it) and ask for a variety of samples?...

    best of luck!

    Great blog, by the way. It's one of my favourites.

    there's this illustrator that uses watercolor a lot: Irisz Agocs. she might be able to give more sound advice than me.
    she has a blog too:

  4. I use Winsor Newton watercolor paper. It is the closest to my all time favorite, Whatman watercolor paper. The most I can say about it is this: After I have stretched it and it has dried, it takes the paint very well. The look of the paint on the paper is what I was looking for. I realized what kind of paper I wanted after reading about Edmund Dulac and seeing how his work looked. I wanted to see my color look like that on paper. In researching Dulac, I found out he used Whatman, so I tried it, and loved it. Alas, I cannot purchase more Whatman, as it is all sold and the mill went out of business many years ago.

    Sorry for the long post, but I would say that finding artists' whose watercolors match what you are looking for may be a starting point.

    Frank Dormer

  5. Some great suggestions here.

    Sil - I am a big Irisz fan. She gets some great watercolor textures with her paper and paint.

    I'm glad you like our little blog!

    Frank -- I saw Winsor Newton watercolor paper at the art supply store yesterday. It'll be my next purchase!
    Don't you hate it when your favorite art supply is discontinued? Happens all the time!
    Charles Schulz learned the company that made his pen nibs was going out of business, so he bought their entire stock!

  6. I loved Whatman paper but alas it is no more. I made the mistake of buying some 'Millford' paper which is said to be a replacement for Whatman. Don't bother it,s awful. I'm still looking for my perfect paper.

  7. I was given some watercolor supplies by a friend who lost her husband who enjoyed watercolor painting. He seemed to be a great collector of papers. There is a block of Whatman in there. How would you compare Whatman to Arches? I think of Arches as a hard surfaced paper. Lana is soft. There is also some Sanders Waterford paper which I have not tried. I know that paper is very personal. I like to do a lot of layering, some lifting. I work primarily wet on dry with a lot of paint in my brush, using saturated color.

  8. how I miss whatman paper...will try winsor newton...have tried arches but was not impressed