Watercolors attracts thousands of people with their unique effect, which can’t be mixed with other types of paint. However, for better results, watercolors require special conditions, such as special type of paper which can withstand a large amount of water and not to warp under this mass. In addition, the surface should not be smooth but slightly rough, so the pigments can evenly spread over the surface and not huddle together. Thus, WoWPencils has spent more than 45 hours in order to write reviews on the best watercolor paper. Stay with us!
Review of Good Paper for Watercolor Painting
UCreate Watercolor Paper 50 Sheets Package
The UCreate watercolor paper is super-heavyweight (140 lb), so it will definitely withstand any wet media. It is considered to be cold-pressed, and that is why its surface is not smooth at all. But still, all the media are applied neatly without any accidental blots that should be removed immediately.
The set consists of 50 white sheets, so it is really convenient for a group of people. Besides, it is really good for all level users including beginners who can make lots of mistakes and add more water than needed. On a separate note, the paper has a pretty common size – 9 by 12 inches, so it’s good even for sketches.
- It is suitable for the wet-on-wet technique
- It works fine for lettering and calligraphy
- It comes in a convenient size
- There may be some issues with layering and lifting off the paint
Strathmore Watercolor Paper (300 Series) Review
If you need just a small number of cold press sheets, then try the Strathmore watercolor paper set of 300 series. Here is a quick review that will help you make a decision.
The kit contains only 24 pieces in a pack, so you don’t have to pay extra money if you need just a few of these data carriers. The weight of paper sheets is 140 lb and their size is 9 by 12 inches, and thus they can be divided into smaller pieces if necessary.
In terms of durability, this type of paper is specially designed for media that involve lots of water, such as watercolors, so it doesn’t wrinkle or ball up. That is why if you aim to use other types of media, then you shouldn’t hesitate since this paper will work well. But note that its two sides are different: one is smooth and the other is textured. Besides, the paper has not a bright white tint but a creamy one, which is eye-friendly.
- A decent set of paper sheets for various types of media
- The colors are mixed well
- Two sides have different surfaces
- There may be some areas on the surface that repel water, so it may not hold paint properly
- The paint is difficult to lift up
Canson XL Watercolor: Best Watercolor Paper
The starting item in the chart of the best watercolor paper is Canson XL watercolor review. In fact, this type of paper also works for any type of media, and not only for watercolors – thanks to its high quality.
The sheets come in a pad, which comprises 30 sheets bound together with a glue. Consequently, for using you should flip the page over and it’s ready for use. Don’t worry, the other pages won’t tear off. Thanks to this type of binding, the pages are also easy to remove. The size of the sheets is 11 by 15 inches and the weight is 140 pounds/300 grams.
The main material is not cotton, but it’s cold press paper. Lots of people acknowledge its ability to hold lots of water, withstand blending colors, numerous washings and it’s good for layers, and can even to be used from both sides. In other words, it’s an affordable option for beginners and professional artist.
- Can be used from both sides
- The colors do not fade
- Cheap enough for constant use
- It doesn’t warp
- There can be some glossy spots which don’t absorb pigment properly
- There might appear to be some crumbles when applying water
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Journal
The professional artist would confirm that there is no such thing as too much watercolor paper sheets. Indeed, you should always have an extra pad for any occasion, for example sketching if you are going out. For this purpose, there is a Winsor & Newton pad that comprises 15 pieces of 5*7 inch paper. They are attached by a dual spring so it’s easy to remove them.
The paper itself is made of 100% cotton. It’s cold-pressed and it has 140 lb weight. The technology of making this type of paper implies that fibers are well weaved that provides greater strength. As a result, the surface can withstand numerous layers of paint and techniques of application. Moreover, it holds pigment nicely without any leaking through, so both sides can be used.
- It’s made of real cotton
- It’s significantly cheaper than competitors of the same grade
- The spiral allows removing a sheet of paper without damages
- The dark tones become lighter on the surface
Arches Watercolour: Fine Hot Press Paper
Arches Watercolour is a world-famous and beloved brand of art supplies that has quite long history dating back to 1492. Since that time, lots of painters and artists have used Arches products, especially the paper, for their masterpieces. Let’s have a look at this pad. This set of sheets is specially designed for watercolors.
In fact, this type of is one of the best options for drawing portraits.
The pages are glued together at the top side, thus they can be easily removed or flipped over for comfortable holding. Unfortunately, there are only 12 sheets, but they are worthy. The size is 9 by 12 inches and the weight is 140 pounds/300 grams.
It is made from 100% cotton with hot press techniques. In addition, there is one more procedure that makes this high quality, pouring the sheets in gelatin and drying them off. This feature allow the surface to withstand any amount of water and not wrap.
Arches Watercolour is nice option for students and artists, they don’t need to worry about painting safety while they are working, everything will stay without any distortion.
- The pigments lay down perfectly
- It consists of 100% cotton
- Perfect for layering
- There are only 12 sheets
- The paper has a strange odor
Strathmore Paint Pad: Great for Kids
If there is a growing artist in your family who usually uses watercolors, then you should have a look at the Strathmore Paint Pad, which is ideal for kids drawings. In fact, this would be nice for working with markers, too.
This pad consists of 20 sheets which are tape bound. This means, that each page can be flipped over and removed without a lot of effort. The size of each pages is 9 by 12 inches and the weight is about 80 pounds, which is not enough for professional use, but ideal for children’s art.
It’s not made of cotton, but this doesn’t affect the fact that it can withstand deformation while a young artist is creating. It is recommended to use only one side with watercolors, while the other side can be used for dry media, such as for pastels.
- The colors do not bleed through
- Resists lots of layers and water
- Running out of the pages too quickly
Fabriano Artistico: Perfect for Colored Pencils
The Fabriano Artistico Aquarello pad is another pad for watercolors. However, this time, users of watercolor pencils will be more interested in this product.
The pad comprises 25 pages of hot pressed sheets, which have a size of 5 by 7 inches. Their weight is 140 pounds/300 grams. It is made of 100% cotton, and both sides are available for illustration. The shade is not bright white and not yellowish, just right. Your eyes will not experience any pain or unpleasant symptoms.
Despite being designed for watercolors, it is also suitable for any type of media and types of pigmented tools, such as tempera, gouache, acrylics, etc. In addition, if you want to use it for printings, Fabriano Artistico would work for this purpose, as well.
It is a student grade paper of very good quality, but professionals also prefer to have such a pad for their drawings or sketches.
- The surface is smooth for wonderful pigment spreading
- This is inexpensive cotton paper
- Some watercolors may look a little pale
Strathmore Ready Cut: Top Artist’s Choice
If you are not fan of having a whole pad with you, but need just a few pieces of paper, then this product is ideal for you. Indeed, lots of professional artists prefer to have one of these sets, since it doesn’t require additional effort to separate individual pages from the whole pad, thus the edges are even.
This set comprises 25 pages of 5 by 7 inch 100% cotton hot pressed paper. The weight is 140 pounds/300 grams. The surface is smooth for various types of media, even for wet-on-wet and even for mixed media. However, it’s rough enough to leave pigment on the surface and spread over as you like.
This is another student grade paper used by professional artists quite often due to its comfort and features.
- It works nicely with layering and blending
- The borders are even, without any jagged edges
- There are some areas that make the pigment lay down unevenly
Bellofy Watercolor: Good Quality
The Bellofy Watercolor pad is another sample of how the ideal watercolor paper should look.
First of all, it should be mentioned that there are 50 sheets of cold-pressed papers in the pad, which are glued together and can be easily removed from the pad. The size is 9 by 12 inches. Although the weight is lower than the previous samples at 130 pounds/190 grams, it’s doesn’t mean that Bellofy Watercolors are not good enough for any type of media. In fact, these features are enough to hold lots of water without bleeding through and leaving evident signs on other side. Moreover, other types of media such as markers or acrylics also work fine on this surface.
Summarizing, Bellofy Watercolor is cheap watercolor paper that has the same features as the standard weight paper, and its capabilities are suitable for any type of media you choose.
- It can hold lots of water
- The colors do not bleed through
- It tends to warp
- It has a grayish color
Art-n-Fly: Perfect for Beginners
The Art-n-Fly pad of watercolor paper sheets is good for everyone who wants to try their hand at art, particularly working with watercolors. Indeed, the structure of this pad specially designed for beginners so it’s comfortable to hold and detach your drawing for framing. However, if you wish to leave the pages in the pad, the only thing you need to do is to flip the current page over and the next is ready for new experiments.
The pad consists of 30 pages of cold pressed sheets, which are 9 by 12 inches and weigh 140 pounds/300 grams, which is enough for the wet media you want to work with. To be sure, Art-n-Fly will definitely hold your drawing without any deformation. But, be prepared, since the color is not bright white as you expect, but it’s slightly yellowish or beige. It’s not so bad for student-grade paper, since the main purpose of this it to hone beginner’s skills.
- The pigments of any type of media spread nicely over the surface
- It can hold lots of water
- Only one side is textured and can hold the water-based media
- The shapes and their borders may become uneven
Bee Paper Watercolor: Best Student Grade Paper
Now, it’s time to review the big size, thus Bee Paper Watercolor is one of those sets which comprises large-size sheets for your art and gives you more free space for your masterpiece.
The set comprises five individual sheets that are 22 by 30 inches. Their weight is 140 pounds/300 grams, and they are made of 100% cotton with the cold press technique. All these feature allow this type to be one of the most wonderful student grade papers for watercolor that withstand a large amount of water, and holds and spreads pigments wonderfully.
- The set comes with individual sheets
- The colors remain vivid and vibrant
- It’s not good for lifting colors
- It is quite fragile
ARTEZA: Cool for Watercolor Painting
If you are an insane fan of watercoloring who produces lots of paintings in a day, then you should probably have run out of paper already! You need to have another set of sheets for watercolors and you don’t like the previous samples? Then check out Arteza pads – these would be ideal for you!
In fact, the set consists of two packs. Each pack comprises 32 pages which are glued, making it easy to remove sheets without lots of effort. They are 9×12 inches, and their weight is 140 pounds, which is equal 300 grams. These parameters make the Arteza set the coolest watercolor set for lots of trials and experiments.
Furthermore, the texture of the surface allows pigments to spread evenly and be absorbed without any unexpected outcome.
- It absorbs paint very well
- Good for both wet and dry media
- The surface may become wrinkled
- Some pages may be too smooth for cold press type
Bee Paper Creative: Ideal for Alcohol Markers
There is only one sample in this chart which comprises pages with spiral binding rather than the glue strip. In fact, this type is quite comfortable for use, especially if you hold it in one hand don’t want the flipped over page to disturb you by flying around. In addition, this type of binding allows you to leave the working pad on a flat surface, and the other pages won’t bend.
Furthermore, the perforated edges make the pages easy to remove.
There are 30 sheets of 5.5 by 8 inches and they weigh 140 pounds/300 grams. The paper is 100% cotton, created by cold press, which can withstand any experiments, even such aggressive pigmented tools as alcohol markers.
- Works wonderfully with any type of media, blending and layering, especially alcohol markers
- The pigments lay down perfectly
- The fibers may wrinkle under water mass
- Some rich pigments may bleed through the paper
You might also want to have a checklist of features that should be looked for before purchasing watercolor paper.
Do you think there is no information to complete your knowledge about the best paper for watercolors? There are some frequently asked questions and the answers to them will probably help you fill in some knowledge gaps. In addition, if you still don’t know what is watercolor paper and what is the difference between the regular canvas, then continue reading!
What Is Watercolor Paper?
It is cotton or pulp made paper that can be used to apply watercolor paints. This type of shouldn’t warp or buckle under lots of water 💧. The pigments should spread evenly and not to fuse together.
Why Use Watercolor Paper 📃?
This type of paper is specially designed to withstand large amounts of water applied on the surface. It shouldn’t wrinkle, buckle or warp. The other types may become too fragile and rip.
What Is the Difference Between Cold Press and Hot Press Watercolor Paper?
Hot 🔥 press watercolor paper usually has a smooth surface with no significant tooth, while the cold press has quite a rough surface and big tooth.
What Is the Difference 👀 Between Watercolor Paper and Regular Paper?
In fact, the answer would be partially the same as for why watercolor paper is needed. So regular paper does not have enough thickness to withstand a large amount of water, thus it’s likely to be damaged under lots of water.
Is Watercolor Paper Good for Copic Markers?
The watercolor paper may be an option for Copics 🖍, since it’s thick enough to not allow pigments to bleed through.
Do you want to show your knowledge of art to your girlfriend or mates? Or you are just wondering about particular things that keep you up all the time? Then you should certainly check this list of interesting facts about watercolor paper, they will let you sleep safe.
- While other types of paper are designed to have both sides available for drawing, there is only one side on watercolor paper that can hold lots of water. The other side likely can’t withstand a large amount of water.
- Despite the manufacturers producing watercolor paper and usually identifying it by its weight, the weight doesn’t stand for the real weight of paper, but rather, its thickness.
- The consistency and the quantity of materials for watercolor paper may be changes from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the main ingredients are wood pulp or cotton. Some producers can mix these ingredients together, too.
- Although “watercolor paper” comprises the word “paper,” originally, paper was not used as a canvas for watercolors. The original material was 100% cotton.
- The weight of paper is measured by weighing 500 piece of paper, not by weighing one piece of paper.
- The newest versions of printers won’t work with watercolor paper, since the maximum weight they support is 90lb.
Watercolors are fickle paints, but they do bring lots of joy while working or even looking at the art. For sure, reading this article will help you to be a duck to water when choosing the proper type of paper for watercolors. Thus, don’t waste your time and start creating your masterpiece immediately. And if you are thinking about other art tools, then check WoWPencils for updates, you will probably find review of the device you want and you will never fail.