pinterest G-6EBBFD7WT4

Different Watercolour Papers and How They Affect Your Painting

watercolour papers

Watercolor painting on quality watercolour papers are truly a treat for artists and enthusiasts alike. There are so many different watercolour papers available on the market, each with their own distinct properties that can affect your painting in various ways.

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the most popular professional grade watercolor paper to help you better understand how they can impact your painting.

60 Sheets Watercolor Paper White Cold Press Paper Pack for Kid Child Watercolor Drawing Student Artist (5 x 7 Inch)
  • Rich in quantity: you will receive 60 pieces of watercolor papers, size of watercolor paper measure approx. 5 x 7 inches; Made of heavy paper,...
  • Reliable to use: there are characteristics of good absorption of water, pilling resistance, rub resistance and durable enough to applied for a...
  • Watercolor paper: cold press good texture of watercolor papers are suitable for mixed media, such as wet and dry; These watercolor papers enable...

What Is Watercolor Painting?

Watercolor painting is a type of painting that uses water-soluble pigments. The pigments are usually derived from plants, minerals, or other natural sources. Watercolor painting is one of the oldest types of painting, and its history can be traced back to ancient Egypt and China.

Watercolour painting became popular in Europe during the Renaissance, and by the 18th century, watercolors were widely used by top artists such as J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. Today, watercolour painting is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

This is due in part to the growth of new watercolour papers and paints that make the medium more accessible than ever before.

how to choose watercolour paper

Consistency Of Watercolor Paints

The amount of water that is mixed with the paint pigment influences the transparency, flow, and drying time of the paint. More water results in a more fluid paint that is easier to apply to surfaces. Less water makes for a thicker paint that can be reworked and manipulated on the surface.

Some paints are labeled “staining” or “non-staining” which refers to how much the pigments will penetrate the paper fibers. Staining colors are more transparent and produce richer washes than non-staining colors.

The three primary factors that will change the consistency of your watercolor paints are the amount of water you use, the type of paper you are painting on, and whether the paint is staining or non-staining.

best watercolour paper

What Is A Watercolour Paper?

Artist-Grade Watercolor paper is a type of paper specifically designed for use with water-based paints. It is usually made from wood pulp or cellulose fibers such as cotton or linen, which are then bonded together with a sizing agent.

The sizing helps to prevent the watercolor pigments from seeping through the professional-grade paper and also gives the finished work a smooth finish. They also absorb water properly without affecting the surface.

Watercolor paper is available in a variety of different textures, weights, and colors. Artists can choose from hot-press, cold-pressed, or rough surfaces, depending on their desired effect.

Aside from the paper type, the paper weight is also important, as thinner student-grade or professional-grade papers may warp or buckle when wet. Watercolor papers are sold in pads or single sheets and can be found at most art supply stores.

watercolor on canvas

Types Of Watercolor Papers

When it comes to watercolor painting, the type of watercolour paper you use and its paper quality can make a big difference in the final result. It also has an edge compared to different papers. In general, watercolor surfaces can be divided into three main categories: hot press, rough surface, and cold press.

UCreate Watercolor Paper, Bulk, 140 Lb., White, 9" x 12", 50 Sheets
  • QUALITY PAPER: Super heavyweight 140 lb. student-grade watercolor paper has a smooth uniform finish on front and back and is an excellent choice...
  • VERSATILE: Sturdy sheets are ideal for both wet and mixed media techniques
  • ECONOMICAL: 50 Count pack of 9" x 12" sheets are a cost effective way for young artists to experiment new techniques and provide enough sheets...

Hot Pressed

Hot pressed watercolor papers are a type of smooth watercolor paper that is popular with artists who want to achieve highly detailed work. The smoothness of hot press paper is ideal for painting fine lines and detailed brushstrokes.

In addition, the evenly textured surface helps to ensure that colors remain true and vibrant. However, hot pressed paper can be more difficult to work with than other types of watercolor paper/surface (clay surface, Archival paper, hard surface i.e. wood), as it tends to absorb the color more quickly due to its very smooth surface.

As a result, artists must be careful not to overwork the paper and risk ruining their work. Despite these challenges, hot press versions offer a unique set of benefits that make them well worth the effort for many artists.

painting with watercolors on canvas

Cold Press

Cold pressed paper has a textured surface that is ideal for achieving delicate effects and subtle transitions of color. The paper’s absorbent fibers create a suction that pulls the colors from your brush, allowing you to achieve a wide range of tones and textures.

In addition, the paper’s rough surface provides excellent tooth, making it ideal for drybrush techniques. Cold press paper is available in a variety of weights, sizes, and colors.

When choosing a paper type, it is important to consider the style of painting (plein air, pan pastels, heavy washes, smooth washes, etc.) you will be doing, the art supplies (mixed media, watercolour paints, Blick art materials, watercolor boards) you’ll be using as well as the amount of fine detail you want to include in your work.

For example, heavier paper weights will be less likely to buckle when wet than lighter papers and will provide more support for detailed artworks. Conversely, a lighter weight paper will be easier to manipulate and will allow you to achieve more spontaneous effects.

Ultimately, the type of paper (cold press, hot press, other papers) you use is a matter of personal preference and should be chosen based on the specific needs of your project.

can you watercolor on canvas

Rough Surface

When it comes to watercolor painting, the type of paper you use can make a big difference in the final result. Rough surface versions have a textured finish that can add an interesting effect to your painting.

The texture of the paper can also help to absorb excess pigments and prevent your colors from running or bleeding. If you’re looking for a unique way to add interest to your watercolor paintings, rough surface types are worth exploring.

Just be sure to choose a heavy-weight paper that won’t buckle or distort when wet. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful paintings on rough surface watercolor paper.

can you paint watercolor on canvas

What’s The Difference Between Regular Paper And Watercolor Paper?

When it comes to paper, there are all sorts of different types to choose from. Different types of paper are suited for different purposes, and one type that you might come across is watercolour paper. So, what’s the difference between regular paper and watercolour paper?

Well, regular paper (rag sheet/rag paper) is usually made from wood pulp, while watercolour paper is made from 100% cotton fiber. This makes watercolour paper much more durable and resistant to tearing. In addition, watercolour paper has a rough surface that helps the pigments adhere to the paper.

And finally, watercolour paper is thicker than regular paper, which prevents warping when wet media is applied. So, if you’re planning on using watercolors, make sure to pick up some watercolour paper!

How Do You Choose Watercolor Paper?

There are a few things you’ll want to take into account when choosing watercolour paper. The first is the weight. Next, you’ll need to decide on the size of the sheet. And lastly, you also need to consider your budget.

Here are some of the other things to consider when you’re out to buy watercolour paper:

how to paint watercolor on canvas

Soaking and Stretching

It’s probably best if you want to work on light watercolour paper. Using water when you paint using an effective technique will create uneven expansions (deckled edge) and creases and cause you to lose paper.

In finished paintings it can become unnatural, so you will discover the paint settles in the holes the cocklings create. Watercolor sheets require stretching to avoid that. The stretching method involves washing and attaching the sheet of paper onto a rigid board to avoid the paper buckling under water.

This is done so that its fibers are expanded. Remember that it is important to pre-stretch your top sheet. Make sure to soak the paper in water. The thickness of the paper determines how much time the paper is kept soaking.

saunders waterford watercolor paper


Professional watercolor paper has three different weights. The weight indicates the thickness of the paper. The standard paper size is 24lbs which is absolutely not the ideal size for use in watercolor panels. Light – 90 lb – 190 gram. Heavy – 140 lb – 300 g.

Many experienced painters advise against going above medium-high. All heavier than 140 lbs and 300g (like 300 lb and more) are required for art.


Watercolor papers are available in various formats: sheet pads, block pads, or individual papers. Most commonly used for school work pads come either on one side, so you could tear out the sheets at a moment or wire bound.

Sheet Pads

Watercolor paper is usually sold as large sheets that are easy to tear out and frame. The watercolor paper is glued on all sides and the top of the pad so that the pages stay flat when wet. The watercolor pads come in a wide range of sizes, from A4 to A3.

saunders waterford

Block Pads

A watercolor block is a stack of watercolor paper that has been glued together on all four sides. The watercolor blocks are ideal for painting outdoors as they don’t buckle when wet. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the pages falling out of the pad.

Individual Sheets

Watercolour papers are also available as individual sheets. The advantage of buying watercolour papers as individual sheets is that you can choose the size and type of paper that you want.

A Note On Size

You probably didn’t know that “sizing” was referred to as watercolour papers. Almost everyone’s watercolors are likely sized by adding gelatin onto the paper to control the absorption and spread. Sometimes these gelatins are added directly to paper mixture.

Generally speaking, watercolors are not spread on paper unless they have proper spacing to avoid the spread. It’s a tool for controlling the painter. Different brands have different size sizes and therefore variations may occur.

watercolour paper rough or smooth side


The texture of watercolour papers can have a big impact on the look of your paintings. Rough papers tend to produce softer, more diffused colors, while smooth papers produce sharper, more defined colors.

Some artists prefer to work on rough paper because it allows them to achieve a more natural look. Others prefer smooth paper because it gives them more control over their colors. The type of paper you choose should ultimately be based on your personal preferences and painting style.

However, it is worth trying out different types of paper to see what effects they create. You may be surprised at how the texture of watercolour papers can change the way your colors look.

what papers to use for watercolour


Watercolour papers have two general grades: student grade and professional grade. Students grade. Usually made from cellulose and pulp. This absorbs water less than 100% cotton which is why you have a different outcome in the finished work.

Typically machinery manufactured. This process produces different types of surface textures. The cold press student grade usually has a lower texture compared to the cold press of the professionals

What Is The Best Watercolour Paper For Beginners?

Watercolor paper to start with – 140 pound Cold Press watercolor paper. 140# paper is widely used and it is easily found and fairly affordable — even much better than heavy paper main grades— and will remain well withstand heavy washdowns.

Stonehenge Aqua

Stonehenge Aqua White Medium Weight Block, 140lb, Coldpress, 15 Sheets for Wet and Dry Media (9X12)
  • 100% cotton
  • Coldpress Textured 140# (300gsm)
  • Medium Weight Block glued on 4 sides

If you’re looking for a high-quality watercolor paper that will give your paintings a professional edge, look no further than Stonehenge Aqua. This paper is made from 100% cotton fibers and has a unique ‘ cold pressed ‘ finish that makes it ideal for art with watercolors.

The machine-made sheet is also acid-free, surface-sized, and archival quality, meaning it won’t yellow or deteriorate over time. Plus, the four deckle edges give your paintings a distinctive look that will really make them stand out.

Strathmore Windpower

Strathmore 300 Series Watercolor Paper Pad, Tape Bound, 9x12 inches, 12 Sheets (140lb/300g) - Artist Paper for Adults and Students - Watercolors, Mixed Media, Markers and Art Journaling
  • It is acid free and buffered to neutralize acid compounds absorbed from the atmosphere or formed through natural aging
  • We offer a complete range of these papers in surfaces to compliment any technique and level of expertise
  • This item is manufactured in United States

Strathmore Windpower Watercolor paper is made with 100% recycled post-consumer fiber. The paper has a natural white color and a beautiful vellum finish. The paper is acid-free and chlorine-free, and it’s designed to resist fading and yellowing.

This paper is ideal for watercolor art, because it’s strong enough to withstand multiple washes of paint. It’s also suitable for other wet media, such as inks and markers.

The Strathmore Windpower Watercolor Paper is available in a variety of sizes, so you can find the perfect size for your project. And because it’s made with recycled materials, you can feel good about using this paper knowing that you’re helping to protect the environment.

Saunders Waterford

Saunders Waterford is a type of watercolor paper that is known for its high quality and durability. The paper is made from 100% cotton paper and is acid-free, making it ideal for painting. It also has a smooth surface that is perfect for creating fine details.

Saunders Waterford is available in a variety of sizes and weights, so you can choose the perfect watercolour papers for your project. The paper can also be purchased in bulk, which saves you money in the long run.

Hahnemühle Cezanne

Hahnemühle’s Cezanne Watercolor paper is a great choice for artists who want a high quality, sustainable paper. The paper is made from 100% cotton rag and is acid-free, making it ideal for watercolor paintings.

It is also chlorine-free and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning they source it from responsibly managed forests. The paper has a smooth finish with a slight texture, which helps to hold the paint in place.

Finally, its excellent absorbency makes it ideal for wet-on-wet techniques. Cezanne Watercolor paper is available in a variety of sizes, making it a versatile option for artists of all levels.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top