Choosing Watercolor Paper

Venice Bridges17

The watercolor paper you choose will make a big difference on the quality of your painting. When selecting watercolor paper, you need to test brands and weight of the paper. Also keep in mind watercolor paper comes in cold press, hot press, and rough.
I prefer cold press because it has enough tooth for texture. Hot press is very smooth with very little tooth. Rough I would use in some cases depending on what I am trying to accomplish.
The paper is very important when painting with watercolors. A cheaper paper can create many unexpected problems. The watercolor pigment does not respond well on cheap surfaces. It’s also important that the paper be acid-free and long-lasting.
The selection you choose will boil down to personal preference. The seven categories here are some factors you should consider when making a selection: (1) quality, (2) production, (3)content, (4) weight, (5) texture, (6) tinting, and (7) form.

Watercolor paper mostly comes in white or cream. The white and cream allows light to reflect off its surface. This gives a transparent watercolor paint a luminescent look. I also leave the white of the paper in the compositional design of my painting.

You can also apply a thin wash and create your own tint to create and effect or mood.

I prefer 100% cotton which makes it strong but pliable. Paper made from cotton is often referred to as “rag paper”.


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June 2016
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