What Watercolor Paper Should I Use?

posted by Misfit
WATCH THE VIDEO TO SEE THESE BRANDS TESTED

So, let’s face it – there are so many watercolor paper brands out there and it can get really over whelming trying to choose the right one for you.  So today – I’m gonna do something that I honestly wished I have done years ago – if I had had the money to do so.   

AND THAT IS HAVE A BATTLE ROYAL – for Watercolor Paper Brands.   

THE PLAN

So – here’s my plan – I have 10 watercolor paper brands – some of which I’ve gathered over the past year – and some which I order over the past few weeks based on your suggestions.   I bought all of these brands with my own money.  And to try and make the playing field as even as possible – I bought only 140lb cold press watercolor paper and cut each of the papers into the same size – so they look nearly identical.

THE OBJECTIVES

Here are the objectives or criteria that I am looking for in each paper

  • WARPING/BUCKLING: Did the paper remain flat during the entire portion of the painting?
  • PAINT ABSORPTION: Did the paint absorb evenly into the paper?  
  • COLOR VIBRANCY: Does the color look vibrant – especially in the final illustration?
  • SMOOTH WASHES: Does the illustration have unwanted textures?
  • WET ON WET: Did the paper work well using heavy amounts of water?
  • GLAZING: Does the paper layer well over previous colors?
  • OVERWORKED: Is the paper ripping or peeling from being over worked from water?
  • CORRECTION: Is it easy to lift or correct mistakes?
  • OVERALL FEEL:Was the paper easy to paint on as a whole?

THE BREAK DOWN

Now that you know what I am looking for here is a break down of my favorite brands from the study and how each paper performed as well as my thoughts on each.

HERE’S ANOTHER COMPARISON OF THE BRANDS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

ARCHES WATERCOLOR PAPER

WATERCOLOR BEE PAPER

HAHNEMUHLE CEZANNE PAPER

SAUNDERS WATERFORD PAPER

WINSOR AND NEWTON

FABRIANO ARTISTICO PAPER

7 Comments

Cat April 1, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Do you think the use of the heat gun for drying purposes affected the outcome?

They say that the watercolor’s actual final color can be affected by the heat gun.
When I have dried something previously it has also affected the paper.

Just curious if you think without using a heat gun you would have other results.

Thank you for taking the time to put these head to head. I love the style that you are doing so!

Reply
Misfit April 4, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Hi Cat – to answer your question – yes the heat gun can totally affect the outcome of your paint. Sometimes I find my colors not as bright when using a heat gun – so I’m always weighing the overall appearance before using a heat gun. If I’m using super dark inky paint consistencies – I usually don’t mind using a heat gun b/c it makes my painting process faster. But when working with lighter colors – I have noticed the colors do fade more and sometimes don’t appear as vibrant. Hope that helps 🙂

Reply
Craig Bunker April 2, 2019 at 6:24 pm

Hiya Carrie – where is the spot to vote our “save this paper” selection? TYVM – Craig
Loved this video – I enjoy trying different papers.
I vote for Arches to continue in your battle of the paper series…

Reply
Misfit April 4, 2019 at 4:27 pm

Hi Craig – there should be a voting poll on the YouTUbe video in the upper right hand corner (you should see a small i there). If you click on it – it will show you other videos I suggest from my channel as well as a poll 🙂

Reply
Cristiane April 18, 2019 at 11:41 am

Too bad Bee paper isn’t available in France!

Reply
Victoria October 22, 2019 at 7:07 am

Hi Carrie,
I love your videos. So helpful for a beginner like me.
Can you please share where you shop for watercolor supplies on Black Friday? You mentioned in one of your videos that there are deep discounts . Thanks

Reply
Misfit October 22, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Yeah! I tend to shop Michaels, and Hobby Lobby for sales with coupons. However, the bulk of my professional supplies usually come from Amazon, JetPens and DickBlick online sites. These stores usually start posting Black Friday previews the week of thanksgiving and I try to find who has the best prices ?

Reply

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