Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Favorite Art Materials: Watercolor Paper.

As I promised, my second post about art supplies is dedicated to watercolor paper that I like and use often. Actually, it is the most frequent question I get asked regarding my work, so here's my experience to add to yours. See also the first part, which was about watercolor brushes.

There are plenty of different brands and sorts of paper on the market, and it often gets confusing to figure out which one suits best for your needs. It takes practice and experience to know the behavior of a particular paper and predict the results you are going to get. So after some trial and error I found paper which I'm more than happy to paint on (it doesn't mean, however, that I stopped trying out new brands, since I always keep my mind open about art materials).

1. Arches cold press 140 lb is the paper I use probably 80 percent of the time. This paper suits my painting style perfectly, and I love the way it accepts lots of water and pigment, producing lovely results. As an illustration, here's my watercolor made in wet-on-wet technique, on a paper from 9''x12'' block. I prefer blocks over sheets btw, since they are so convenient to use - no need to cut and tape.

2. Sennelier grain torchon 140 lb is another sort of paper I've been using a lot lately for small illustrations like these butterflies. Personally, this paper is more accommodating for wet-on-dry rather than wet-on-wet watercolor technique. The surface has a very nice, "upscale" feel and texture to it, and the only downside of this paper is that it's pricey.

3. Saunders Waterford grain torchon 140 lb is also a great paper to work with. You can see its beautiful texture on my painting "Hand In Hand", which is sized 9''x12''. The paper has a pleasant, slightly creamy tone.

4. Fabriano Artistico cold press 140 lb is last, but not least. A not to miss paper, in my opinion, since it's versatile and receptive to all watercolor techniques. Therefore, I'm considering to use it more often. This is one of my latest works, painted on Fabriano paper. "Morning Coffee", 9''x12''.

Of course, the above is not a full list of papers I've had a chance to work with. It just would be impossible to tell about all of them in one post. I've painted on different media, from watercolor canvas to paper made of hemp and lokta, and I'm in a constant search for new textures to try. Apparently, it can be equally delightful to paint on either expensive, classic watercolor paper or some sorts that aren't even meant to be used with watercolor. There are no limits to creative ideas, after all.

In the comments section, I'd love to hear about your favorite paper. Have you ever tried anything unusual to paint on with watercolor?

PS Next time I will tell about my watercolor palette, so stay tuned!


  1. Your paintings are gorgeous--I love your technique.

  2. I use Strathmore Watercolor Paper for watercolor painting. I like it much better than other paper that I have used. Much easier to use with a face much more like linen than rough or cold press paper. It doesn't tear and holds up when being scraped, rubbed, painted over, etc. And it is available at an economical price over here:

    Do you recommend any other places for purchase?

  3. Still trying them out, but I am a fan of Canson papers.

  4. I can't wait for the part 3 to be posted!!!