Best Watercolor Paper

Best Watercolor Paper Reviews

Choosing the best watercolor paper is critical when you are experimenting with painting. The ideal watercolor paper can handle moist substances and offers multiple vibrant colors. Papers are normally substantial, weighing roughly 300gsm/140lbs; however, the student pages are thin.

Plenty of water reduces color materials, particularly ones that are just too thin, which might be an issue. The sheet rumples up is an issue that causes inconsistent color combinations in your outputs. However, painting sheets are primarily designed for color paintings. They are also compatible with various liquid mediums like watercolor crayons. While painting in the flat is preferable for washes, try using a tabletop easel to gain a vertical view of your work, and check our guide to the finest easels for more information.

The following list covers the finest watercolor paper for painters at all levels, from novices to pros. These suggested models are appropriate for a wide range of paintings outputs. Watercolor paper is often available as frigid push (or otherwise) & cold-pressed varieties, depending on the manufacturer’s technique. Cold-pressed papers are much more tactile and absorbing, making them ideal for various uses.

Cold press materials are smooth and better at displaying detail, making them ideal for more accurate works. Conventional watercolor sheets are made of soft, viscose, or a combination of the two. These Cellulose sheets are less expensive; however, filament sheets are better resolution since they are tough and durable, rendering them suited for the completed piece.

If you want to enhance your drawing talents, you may use these painting approaches. Nevertheless, keep reading to discover the finest watercolor papers for yourself.

Our Top Pick:

Leading 13 Best Watercolor Paper Reviews

1. Saunders Waterford Watercolor Paper Block

Saunders Waterford Block 300gsm 177 x 254mm (7' x 10') 20 Sheets NOT

Saunders Waterford, outstanding quality of watercolor paper available in the market. This watercolor composition has a firm texture, while this is still a compression molding material, and the surface is light. The sheet is somewhat off-white.

Color is vibrant and sharp on this medium, and wet-on-dry textures are simple to achieve. It has good absorbency, keeps water effectively, and does not buckle easily. Also, paint does not pool until it is extremely saturated, but it really does stay moist for a long time and bleeds easily, resulting in seamless transitions. The application of layers does need certain persistence. It is accommodating and tolerates pulling out easily. Altogether, this will be an excellent pick for any completed work.

Pros

  • One of most tactile coarse pressed sheet;
  • I adore the texture’s intense sharpness;
  • The simplest brush to use is a dry paintbrush.

Cons

  • Size of the paper is an issue is not suitable at pulling pigment off.

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2. Arches Watercolor Paper Block, Hot Press

Arches Watercolor Paper Block, Hot Press, 9' x 12', 140 pound

Arches’ watercolor papers have such a solid reputation. For some valid performance, you will enjoy your painting outputs. This watercolor rinses the ground well and will not collapse conveniently. It allows the color to lie on the floor equitably. This is why an insulate paper has the quality of accumulating liquid just on-page.

Colors stand out particularly well and appear vivid. This sheet is good for more layers because the color does not lift or shift once dried. This cold press watercolor is surprisingly smooth, making it ideal for illustrative outputs and much more accurate work. It is a preservation material and best suited for finished work.

Pros

  • The finest watercolor papers just on market in general;
  • High-quality material surface and colour permeability;
  • Allows to customize the form, weight, and smoothness;
  • Obtained arts and craft business with outstanding customer service.

Cons

  • A bit classy, and may be out of reach for many buyers 

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3. Legion Mini Pad

Legion Yupo Polypropylene Pad, 5 X 7 inches, Medium 74lb, 10 Sheets (L21-YUP197WH57)

Contrasting standard watercolor sheets, Legion’s Yupo paper is a one-of-a-kind item available in the market. It is exceedingly smooth and constructed of polyethylene, a certain form of plastic. Although it can be wiped off from the surface, it is particularly tolerant. As because of being wiped off, this paper can be recycled. This facility helps to offset your expenses. This paper does not take stains, and therefore it dries slowly, which is not buckle. Also, this watercolor painting is easy to manipulate, enables the rejuvenation of potential dry colors – however, this makes stacking a careful operation. It’s a brilliant option for any job requiring a particularly flat finish or seeking a unique way to express themselves.

Pros

  • Executive levels of outputs;
  • Can easily be wipped off;
  • Enable in recycle;
  • Good absorption technology;

Cons

  • Drying take some times;

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4. Ampersand Aquabord (8 In. x 10 In.)

Ampersand Aquabord (8 In. x 10 In.)

Aquabords are a good choice for painting applications since they resemble a quality pad. This foundation board is often different from traditional paper, with grainy or ‘sharp teeth’ on soil surfaces. These are quite well adapted to floating frameworks, the same as oil screens. Also, these are most costly than other paper, which is best to use.

On this substrate, the particular colors pop brilliantly. Since it doesn’t absorb the moisture as quickly as typical paper, it dries up slowly and is ideal for wet-in-wet processes. Rinses will be even since the panels will not buckle. Firstly, this texture is still difficult because it does not act like conventional newspapers. Still, it is a good quality alternative for painters searching for the best watercolor paper from various applications.

Pros

  • Premium quality of water colour paper;
  • Professional quality;
  • Well dispersion and don’t get buckle;
  • Quality texture along with the outputs.

Cons

  • Drys up slowly.

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5. Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Block

Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Block, Cold Pressed 140lb, 9'x12', White

Winsor and Newton’s Professional watercolor paper is everlasting and so of an excellent standard. The surface is brilliantly bright and has a classic compression molding feel. This material is ideal for wet-in-wet methods since the color spreads quickly across. This should remain moist for a long time and develop blossoms rapidly – this may be bothersome to some extent. Still, it is quite efficient for those who prefer this particular characteristic.

One drawback is that it is prone to buckling when wet. Nevertheless, the texture is robust and does not allow the paint to lift, making it sturdy for layering. This material is a good choice for the completed piece, and it’s exceptionally effective for painters who use moisture approaches.

Pros

  • There are twelve pieces inside this rapid descent pad (on the short side);
  • High-quality blemish, timber sheets;
  • Chemical for long-term stability particularly;
  • Color temperature texture.

Cons

  • The consistency is a little soapy (possibly because of outside scaling), but the colours are brilliant and jewelike.

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6. Strathmore 483-7 Softcover Watercolor Art Journal

Strathmore 483-7 Softcover Watercolor Art Journal, 7.75' x 9.75', White, 24 Sheets

Strathmore’s watercolor graphic notebook is one of the very few watercolors usable on 300 gsm sheets, rendering it far more durable than others using thinner paper. The sketchbook’s cover is sturdy, transporting it around it and supporting the page as people operate on it.

The material is strong and therefore can tolerate a good volume of water for color sketching, though because it’s indigestible fiber, too much could lead it to bend. Watercolors happen soon on this paper, so it’s better for rapid sketches rather than more; detailed work.

Pros

  • This paper is acid free;
  • Rigid Bristol;
  • More prominent in outputs.

Cons

  • Rarely, might differ from other paper.

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7. FABRIANO Watercolor Postcard

FABRIANO Watercolor Postcard Pad 300g A6 15sheets (Cold Press)

These Watercolor cards are traditional, transmitting paintings through to the postal, and several businesses offer their versions. With beautiful, thick paper, this Fabriano envelope is among the highest grade offered in the market. One disadvantage is that the adhesive binding is a little flimsy, making it difficult to remove cards from the pads, breaking an edge while using a knife.

The surface quality is also excellent. The material does not readily buckle, retain moisture well, and has vibrant colors. Each postcard includes a handwritten addressing area on its backside, offering a sample of watercolor choice.

Pros

  • Student Grade
  • Acid Neutral 25 percent Cottonrag,
  • 75 percent Cellulose
  • Proportion both internally and outside
  • Both heated and cooled presses are provided.

Cons

  • The adhesive binding is a little flimsy.

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8. Canson 100510941 XL Series Watercolor Paper Pad

Canson 100510941 XL Series Watercolor Pad, 1 Pack, Multicolor

Canson’s XL pads offer high-quality paper for students. The sheet is cold-pressed but not so scratchy, and the shield form makes it easy to put the pads at the level. These sheets are a nice buy and of decent quality for the price.

The painting flows nicely on this paper, and the colors are vibrant. Nevertheless, it bends readily for a paper of this thickness and therefore does not need to handle heavy decontaminating. Aside from that, the surface is firm and solid. It handles mixed media nicely. These pads are easy to use, intuitive and cheaper to practice.

Pros

  • Mold is well-made and works for all wet medias;
  • Features Watercolor papers produced in France that is robust and cold pressed;
  • Retrieval, wiping, and frequent washings do not harm the face;
  • Genuine Proportion Particle Pads;
  • 20 pages of alkaline 9 x inches papers, weighing 140 pound/300 ounce.

Cons

  • Once the material gets too moist, it twists.

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9. CansonMontval Watercolor Block

Canson Montval Watercolor Block, Cold Press Acid Free French Paper, 140 Pound, 9 x 12 Inch, 15 Sheets

The Canson is available in a variety of forms in the market. This piece gets the strength to remain erect on just about any easel, from moderate winds to stronger gusts. Whereas the width and arrangement of these stones are superb, the roughness and color absorption are noteworthy. This makes the Canson suitable for both expert and novice artists. While using this, you’ll be able to experiment with a selection of colors and drawing styles when out in the wilderness.

Color absorbent facilities are among the most important concerns for freehand drawing. Canson considered this while designing their water-color papers. It seems practical that these sheets have been intended to be long-lasting. Although, neither harsh nor hard polished output is expected. The paper keeps the color well, with little overflow, dispersion, and the right density. The width of the pages prevents them from deteriorating in a wet wash.

They’re portable, but they’re compact as well as long-lasting as some of the other watercolors on the market.

Pros

  • Small and portable, easily transported anywhere;
  • Ideal for freehand drawing painting;
  • 300gsm dry pressing sheets have a really varied feel;
  • Available in several dimensions to meet every manner of use.

Cons

  • It’s not as robust as it like it to be.

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10. U.S. Art Supply 9″ x 12″ Premium Watercolor Paper Pad

U.S. Art Supply 9' x 12' Premium Heavy-Weight Watercolor Painting Paper Pad, 60 Pound (300gsm), Pad of 12-Sheets (Pack of 2 Pads)

An ideal product for beginners who started to work with Water-colour Pad. At the same time, some of the watercolor sheets are more expensive in the market and simple. You may use to practice a variety of watercolor methods. Try new schemes of categories, and polish your artistic talents.

These pages are acid-free, pH balanced, and cold-pressed, allowing you to utilize them for many artistic projects. The pages are thick enough to work with, weighing 300 gsm. Nevertheless, the fact is of student quality that contributes to the low cost of these pages.

Pros

  • Alkaline, pH balanced, compression moulding surface;
  • Pure white; heavy surface;
  • Ideal for wet painting with water colors and mixed media.

Cons

  • Sometimes colour may differ for its heaviness.

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11. UCreate Watercolor Paper, White, Package

UCreate Watercolor Paper, White, Package, 140 lb., 9' x 12', 50 Sheets

Beginners often feel intimidated when working with professional-quality art products. Are you looking for watercolor paper for beginners? Then check out this pack of student-grade watercolor paper.

The thickness of the paper does not disintegrate with multiple washes of watercolor paints. You can expand your choices of materials since it also works well with acrylics and gouache. When you try Copic markers with this paper, the inks do not bleed through the paper or feathers.

With a smooth texture, you can control handling your brush to add details to the watercolor painting. Consider this package of academic watercolor if you’re a beginner. The sheet’s smoothness somehow doesn’t deteriorate with the washing of paint, making it suitable for students of any age. It also performs with acrylic and washes. All you need is to broaden your color options. Once we tested Copic colors on this paper, we discovered that they worked nicely together. Because the colors would not flow through that and flake, you will have great control over your paintbrush to give more information to your watercolor paints when it has a smooth finish.

Pros

  • Balanced with all composition regarding its built quality;
  • Pure contrast with outputs;
  • Perfect for the beginners;

Cons

  • Sometimes colour may differ due to the disproportion of mixing.

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12. Arteza Watercolor Paint Set 

Arteza Watercolor Paint Set, Set of 25 Water Colors, Vibrant Pan Paints with Brush, Art Supplies Kit for Artists & Adults, for Travel Painting, Sketching, and Illustrating

Your build confidence to have a variety of watercolor that reacts nicely to the paint in that instance. You can do plenty of sketching on the surface of this watercolor sheet.

On a single side, each sheet is spotless, and you can utilize it in more tasks with this paper. This is constructed with true cotton with rough surface lining. Since it allows you to render modern features and spectacular strokes, you might consider it an “all-purpose” watercolor paper.

In the beginning, this is fantastic for novices since the textured side makes life easier to distribute in all forms of liquids and dye. You can see that it can be withstand masking liquid and multiple eraser rubs. This 300 gsm sheet weight maintains a smooth surface and withstands numerous paint applications without buckling.

You can withdraw a single document without terminating the remainder of the pad because pages are pasted together. Its size is ideal for drawing, which is appreciable. Also, these sheets are acid-free, and you don’t have to worry about them fading. This is a terrific item all-around pad for the wet surface.

Pros

  • Most themes convenience to apply liquids and colour;
  • Sturdy sheet and Multi-tasking paper for all round tasks;
  • Abrasive side can withstand numerous erasures
  • Designed with all forms of modern amenities;
  • No tension of fading;
  • Acid and other harmful chemical free.

Cons

  • On the other side, it is bumpy

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13. Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper

Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper 821722 300LB 100% Cotton Cold Press 11 x 14 Pochette, 8 Sheets

Special watercolor material for a pro, an enthusiast, or a novice. This paper material is just what you need for a completed watercolor painting based on the specifications.

The paper can receive fluids without bending. This is one of the finest sheets in the market right now. Surprisingly, the fact that the sheet is weighing 640 gsm. This paper and its material are cold-pressed and hold a considerable gelatin material. It is composed of hundred percent cotton. In simple terms, its level of durability lends itself to a wide range of procedures.

This is an excellent moisture watercolor canvas. Through this, you have complete control over your paintings, including the use of various mediums such as pencils and pastels.

You can produce various features and smoothly splashes with the grain. Your paintings would be most probably attractive to the sight due to the paper’s vibrant and well-saturated colors. Your artwork will remain popular because of the preservation qualities of the material.

Pros

  • Long-lasting paper and a range of uses;
  • No need to extend the sheet;
  • Acknowledges both moisture materials;
  • Ideal for intricate points and smoothly graded wash;
  • Reveals vibrant colors.

Cons

  • Difficult to get rid of from the block

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What to Look for Before Buying Watercolor Paper?

Buying Guide to Best Watercolor Paper

Selecting the correct water paper is habitually hard than it sounds. Even the most well watercolor artists face this impasse from time to time.

When you enter the supply store, there are so many different brands of materials on the shelves. Frequently, the item description on the package is insufficient. So, it can be challenging to determine which one provides the most dependable paper for your project, artistic style, or creative routines. In this part, we’ll provide you with several guidelines to help you make your next buy.

Texture

Warm or cold-pressed or coarse watercolor sheets are the most common types. There is no standardized texture because each manufacturer makes paper individually. A cold press made the papers more significantly different.

The cold-pressed newspaper holds a fine texture by nature, yet it is very clean. The sheet is a popular choice for plant watercolors paintings since it enables to visualize more details and a delicate, more pristine edge. On this surface, pens and markers glide easily. The colors are much brighter in terms of quality because far more pigments settle on top.

Cold-pressed paper can support many painting methods. At the same time, professional painters prefer this watercolor for canvas. It is an excellent medium for newbies to jump while continuing to other options. It allows painters to set fine details, though the roughness tends to flatten the edges.

Last but not least, there’s the coarse paper, which is top of all. This property makes watercolor perfect for dynamic splashes and drying brushes. This isn’t easy to achieve on a hot-pressed sheet.

Watercolor sheets are made in a variety of methods by paper producers. For beginners, hand-made and machine-made are indeed the 3 most prevalent. Handcrafted and mold-made items are more long-lasting and sturdy. Several paintings are for experts, although they are recurrently more expensive.

Machine-made sheets are less expensive, as they’re more susceptible to buckling and warping when getting wet. Since they are better for daily use, these would be speculative. You don’t have to compromise the projects even though you’re a teacher or a hobbyist. Professionals might use machine-made papers for their rough works.

Based on doing, both kinds of papers can be advantageous to everyone.

Content

You’ve surely observed certain manufacturers identifying their products as “100% cotton sheet” or “rag printing.” These sheets are sturdy and more elastic, and they do not disintegrate or break. However, Cotton makes up most of the specialist watercolor sheets after multiple washing.

On the other hand, watercolor sheets made from wood are available—other formulations blend alpha-cellulose (a type of cellulose found in wood pulp) with cotton.

You can accomplish further with 100 percent cotton sheets in terms of a range of tactics. It can withstand color peeling, erasing, scrapping, and cleaning before deteriorating.

Weight

When it comes to paper’s weight, it refers to the thickness of the sheet. Usually, this information is found on the cover of a paper or the packaging of the paper product.

The weight is a crucial factor to consider in conjunction with the texture because it tells you how much water the paper can take in. For example, mixed-media papers that weigh between 150 gsm to 250 gsm can take in light washes—any sheet more than will cause the paper to bend or warp.

Heavyweight watercolor papers with at least 300 gsm can take a beating. As such, the pigments will not move to the valleys formed when a wet paper distorts.

Format

Watercolor papers are commonly sold as loose sheets, pads, and blocks. Functional in many ways, these formats are more than just fancy.

To give you an idea, a watercolor block offers convenience because the papers are pre-stretched and gummed on all sides. As a result, it effectively prevents distortion even if the paper is made of wood pulp. The only issue is detaching a page can be hard because of the strong glue.

Watercolor pads suit the needs of peripatetic artists as the sizes fit in most bags. Meanwhile, students and professionals who need more papers for their projects may prefer reams of loose sheets. The only challenge with pads and loose sheets is that these papers may need stretching.

Other Important Factors to Consider

What is a Watercolor Paper?

Unlike blending cards and printer papers, watercolor papers are heavier and more textured. In comparison, the weight may vary, watercolor paint paper’s most tangible properties. Contents and production also contribute to the overall quality of the paper, thereby affecting how artists paint.

How Does It Work?

When you touch watercolor paper, the first things you notice are its texture and weight. Unless you are a paper geek, you may not even realize what it is made of or how it was made if you did not read the label or pay close attention to the grains.

Everything you see and feel on the paper, including the “invisible ones,” works together to make pigment and water control possible. The weight is responsible for ensuring that you do not soak up your paper. Otherwise, the sheet will disintegrate like a tissue you wet with water.

However, the weight alone cannot hold the water or pigment in place. With the texture, the paint you put on the paper will easily disperse in the directions you want. Of course, the control level will depend on how rough or smooth the paper is?

Who is This For?

Anyone who wants to use watercolor could be a parent or a teacher to buy for their children. Perhaps, you are professional artists who earn a living from making art. Maybe, you are just looking for a new hobby to try or an art student exploring new materials.

Understandably, terms like “professional-grade” or “artist quality” can sound intimidating, especially if you are relatively new. These only refer to the quality of the paper and not the type of consumer.

A professional-grade watercolor paper is not exclusively for expert artists. Even creative individuals with well-established careers do not use expensive sheets all the time. All of the famous artists started learning the basics using machine-made student-grade papers.

Likewise, hobbyists and beginners are also welcome to buy professional-grade paper for their finished artworks. Also, they might be a frame or give it as a gift.

What are the Different Types of Watercolor Paper?

One of the good things about having many brands in the market. You can choose the one that is suitable for your style or your project. Regardless of the format, production, and content, the watercolor papers are classified as:

  • Hot-pressed paper;
  • Cold-pressed paper;
  • Rough paper.

Why Do You Need Watercolor Paper?

Paper distortion is the bane of every watercolor painter. When a paper buckles, it will form a valley where the pigments will settle. Sometimes makes it hard for you to manipulate the medium. This happens when the paper you use lacks texture, weight, and other elements like gelatin sizing.

Subsequently, you can buy the fanciest set of brushes and paints if you want to dance with your paper. Hence, it is important to use watercolor paper even if you only practice.

Conclusion

Watercolor paper is a broad theme that the heart cannot learn overnight. Veteran artists know that it takes years of watercolor painting to master the use of materials. If the technical aspects of watercolor art paper confuse you, remember that there are online resources like this to guide you. Although nothing can replace the first-hand experience, reading about watercolor paper gives you a better idea of approach your art projects. After all, your choice of materials will affect the output.

Lastly, keep in mind that you are not limited to the brands we highlighted above. We all have our definition of “the best watercolor paper,” be it cold-pressed, hot-pressed, or rough paper. You are on the right track as long as the paper quality suits your style and vision.

Last update on 2022-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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