Artist Grade and Student Grade Watercolor Paper – What is the Difference?

posted by Misfit

THE GIFT OF CREATING…

The ability to create is a gift – that I believe we all possess.  Some sing, some write, some cook – but for me watercolor is the magic that captivates me and inspires me.    It’s a gift that I find myself constantly wanting to perfect and learn more about.   

Which is why I wanted to do this series – I paint nearly everyday – but do I really understand this magical portal in which I paint on?    This portal that makes my paints come to life?   That’s when I started asking myself –

WHAT IS WATERCOLOR PAPER MADE OF?

& what makes it so different from other papers?  

And of course the question we all want answered – 

WHICH PAPER IS THE BEST?

WHAT MAKES WATERCOLOR PAPER DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PAPER?

It’s pretty obvious – watercolor paper is definitely different from other paper – but what makes it different?  Well, after doing some research – I learned that most papers are made with a mixture water and Cellulose fibers or particles which can be made from the bark, wood or leaves from plants.   This type of paper is usually great for writing – but not so great with water.    

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARTIST & STUDENT GRADE PAPER

Artist grade watercolor paper tends to be made with cotton fibers – thus making it more pliable and able to take more water abuse.   This is where the term “rag paper” came from.   Cheaper watercolor papers – on the other-hand – tend to be made of a mixture of wood pulp or a mixture of wood pulp and cotton fibers.   Which is more pliable than regular paper but not as good as pure cotton paper.  

SO WHAT IS THE BEST WATERCOLOR PAPER OUT THERE?

Well, watercolor paper is always a matter of preference – later in the series I’ll be putting several brands I own to the test – but for now know that what you should be looking for is watercolor paper that has some form of cotton fibers in it.  This doesn’t mean you have to invest in artist grade paper – there are some really good student grade papers that use cotton in their products and sell it for a decent price.   But – just realize you do get what you pay for – so if you really want to push your paper to the max – an artist grade will be your best choice.

PAPERS USED FOR THIS POST

Mixed Media – Regular Paper – this is my favorite drawing paper

Student Grade Watercolor Paper – this is at the moment my favorite student grade watercolor paper.

Artist Grade Watercolor Paper – this is at the moment my favorite artist grade watercolor paper.

CLICK THE IMAGE FOR OTHER POSTS YOU MAY LIKE

LEARN OTHER WAYS WATERCOLOR PAPER IS DIFFERENT
LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOT & COLD PRESS PAPER
LEARN WHY STRETCHING YOUR PAPER IS IMPORTANT

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