When it comes to creating stunning watercolor paintings, choosing the right paper is crucial. The quality and characteristics of the paper can significantly impact the final result of your artwork. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best watercolor paper available in the market, discussing their features, advantages, and how they can elevate your artistic expression to a whole new level. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, read on to discover the perfect watercolor paper that will unleash your creativity and bring your watercolor paintings to life.
Let’s dive in and find the best watercolor paper!
Quick Preview: Best Watercolor Paper
Arches Watercolor PadBy Arches
Meeden Cotton Watercolor Paper Textured Surface Watercolor PadBy Meeden
Paul Rubens Watercolor BlockBy Paul Rubens
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper BlockBy Winsor & Newton
Strathmore 298-103 400 Series Watercolor PadBy Strathmore
Arches Watercolour Paper PadBy Arches
Brustro Artists Watercolour PaperBy Brustro
Zen Sangam Express your MindBy Zen Sangam
Artios Artists’ Watercolor PaperBy Artios
Our Pick Of Best Watercolor Paper
Arches Watercolor Pad
|Sheet Size||9 x 12 inches|
|Product Dimensions||12″L x 9″W|
|Item Weight||12 ounces|
The first on the list of best watercolor paper is Arches Watercolor Pad. These watercolor pads are known for their high-quality watercolor paper. The paper is made from 100% cotton, which is a preferred choice for watercolor artists due to its durability and ability to handle watercolor paint well. The paper is also acid-free and pH-neutral, which ensures its longevity and prevents yellowing over time.
The pages in Arches Watercolor Pads are typically tape-bound on one edge, which allows for easy removal of sheets when a painting is complete. This binding style is convenient for artists who like to work on individual sheets and then remove and frame them later. Arches is known for its stringent quality control processes. Each sheet in a pad is expected to meet high standards, ensuring consistency in texture and paper quality across the entire pad.
Arches Watercolor Pads are suitable for various watercolor techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and glazing. The paper’s absorbency and texture make it an excellent choice for creating vibrant and detailed watercolor paintings.
Meeden Cotton Watercolor Paper Textured Surface Watercolor Pad
|Product Dimensions||7 x 1.18 x 10 inches|
|Item Weight||10.6 ounces|
The next on the list of best watercolor paper is the Meeden 10×7″ Cotton Watercolor Paper Textured Surface Watercolor Pad. It is a specific product designed for watercolor painting. The paper in this pad has a textured surface. The specific texture can vary among different watercolor paper brands and products, but textured paper is often preferred by artists because it adds depth and interest to watercolor paintings. The texture can help create effects like granulation and blending.
The pad typically contains multiple sheets of watercolor paper, often held together by glue or wire binding. The number of sheets in the pad can vary depending on the product and package. Watercolor paper is often acid-free to ensure the longevity of the artwork. Acid-free paper resists yellowing and deterioration over time. This watercolor pad is intended for use with watercolor paints, but it can also be suitable for other water-based media such as gouache or ink washes. It’s suitable for various watercolor techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and layering.
Paul Rubens Watercolor Block
|Sheet Size||7.6-x-5.3-inch Inches|
|Product Dimensions||7.6″L x 5.3″W|
|Item Weight||4.8 ounces|
The Paul Rubens Watercolor Block is a specific product designed for watercolor painting. Paul Rubens is a brand known for offering high-quality art supplies, and their watercolor blocks are no exception. The paper in the Paul Rubens Watercolor Block is typically made from 100% cotton or a high-quality wood pulp blend. Cotton paper is favored by many watercolor artists for its ability to absorb water and paint effectively, but Paul Rubens also offers wood pulp paper options that are often more affordable while still providing good performance.
A watercolor block consists of a pad of paper with sheets that are glued on all four sides. This design prevents the paper from buckling or warping when it absorbs water, allowing you to work on your painting without needing to stretch the paper beforehand. Once your painting is complete, you can carefully remove the sheet from the block using a palette knife or similar tool. Watercolor paper, including that used in Paul Rubens Watercolor Blocks, is typically acid-free. Acid-free paper is essential for ensuring the longevity of your artwork, as it resists yellowing and deterioration over time.
Paul Rubens products often provide a balance between quality and affordability. While they may not be the cheapest option on the market, they offer good value for the quality of materials you receive.
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Block
|Brand||Winsor & Newton|
|Product Dimensions||16″L x 12″W|
|Item Weight||1.94 pounds|
The next on the list of best watercolor paper is the Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Blocks. These are made from high-quality, 100% cotton watercolor paper. Cotton paper is preferred by many watercolor artists due to its exceptional ability to absorb water and paint, which results in vibrant and long-lasting colors.
Each block consists of multiple sheets of watercolor paper that are glued along all four edges. This binding style prevents the paper from buckling or warping when water is applied, allowing artists to work on their paintings without the need to stretch the paper. After completion, you can carefully remove the sheet from the block using a palette knife or similar tool.
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Blocks are designed specifically for watercolor painting. They are suitable for various watercolor techniques, such as wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, glazing, and more. As the name suggests, these paper blocks are intended for professional artists who require high-quality materials for their work. However, they are also suitable for intermediate and advanced artists who are serious about their watercolor painting.
Strathmore 298-103 400 Series Watercolor Pad
|Product Dimensions||8.5″L x 5.5″W|
|Item Weight||4.9 ounces|
The last on the list of best watercolor paper is the Strathmore 298-103 400 Series Watercolor Pad. It is a reliable and versatile choice for watercolor artists. While it may not be made from 100% cotton like some premium watercolor papers, it is still a quality product that can deliver excellent results in watercolor painting and is budget-friendly, making it suitable for artists at different skill levels.
The Strathmore 298-103 400 Series Watercolor Pad is specifically designed for watercolor painting but can also be used for other water-based media such as gouache and ink. It is suitable for various watercolor techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, glazing, and more.
Strathmore 400 Series watercolor paper is acid-free, which means it is designed to resist yellowing and deterioration over time. This ensures the longevity of your artwork. Each pad contains multiple sheets of watercolor paper, usually bound together with glue or wire binding. The binding keeps the paper securely in place while you work and allows for easy removal of finished paintings.
Our Pick Of Best Watercolor Paper in India
Arches Watercolour Paper Pad
|Color ||Natural White|
|Body Material ||Paper|
|Net Quantity||12 Count|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||25 x 10 x 15 Centimeters|
|Weight ||340 Grams|
The first on the list of best watercolor paper is the Arches Watercolour Paper Pad. The Arches Watercolour Paper Pad is a popular product among artists and watercolor enthusiasts, offering high-quality watercolor paper in a convenient pad format. The sheets in the Arches Watercolour Paper Pad are typically bound on one edge, similar to a sketchbook. This binding style allows for easy removal of individual sheets when a painting is complete. It’s convenient for artists who prefer working on single sheets and then removing them for framing or display.
Arches is known for its rigorous quality control processes. Each sheet in a pad is expected to meet high standards, ensuring consistency in texture and paper quality across the entire pad. These sheets are suitable for a wide range of watercolor techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, glazing, and more. The paper’s absorbency and texture make it an excellent choice for creating vibrant and detailed watercolor paintings.
Brustro Artists Watercolour Paper
|Body Material ||Paper|
|Item Weight||100 g|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||21 x 29 x 10 Centimeters|
|Net Quantity||24 Watercolour Papers|
The next on the list of best watercolor paper is the Brustro Artists Watercolour Paper is a product specifically designed for watercolor painting. Brustro Artists Watercolour Paper is typically made from high-quality, acid-free cellulose or wood pulp. Each pad typically contains multiple sheets of watercolor paper, bound together with glue or wire binding.
The binding keeps the paper securely in place while you work and allows for easy removal of finished paintings. The paper used in Brustro Artists Watercolour Paper is typically acid-free and pH-neutral. This ensures the preservation of your artwork by preventing yellowing and deterioration over time. Brustro Artists Watercolour Paper is designed specifically for watercolor painting but can also be used for other water-based media such as gouache and ink. It is suitable for various watercolor techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, glazing, and more.
Zen Sangam Express your Mind
|Brand ||Zen Sangam Express your Mind|
|Body Material ||Paper|
|Product Dimensions ||21 x 14.8 x 1 cm|
|Item Weight||300 Grams|
Zen Sangam Express your Mind comes in a pack of 24 sheets of A5 size. These are 300 GSM 100% lignin-free cellulose cold-pressed watercolor paper. These papers have durable surfaces with a rough grain texture that is ideal for light layering using wet media.
The ivory cartridge natural shade sheets provide Longevity to Paintings. Zen Sangam Express Your Mind watercolor papers are suitable for beginners and art students to practice watercolors, gouache, acrylics, ink, and other wet media techniques.
Artios Artists’ Watercolor Paper
|Item Shape ||Rectangular|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||41.9 x 29.7 x 5.1 Centimeters|
|Weight ||300 Grams|
The last on the list of best watercolor paper is the Artios Artists’ Watercolor Paper. These papers are thick and heavy-weight, making it ideal for wet-on-wet techniques. It can stand multiple washes without warping or bleeding through. These watercolour 300 GSM Paper have just the right texture making them a great choice for large and even washes along with creating finer detailing paintings.
Get creative with your choice of medium with these handmade painting paper sheets. Suitable for watercolor, acrylic, ink, gouache, and other mixed media. When the sheet is wet, the water is evenly distributed and smoothly absorbed, the watercolor paints are then spread evenly with a brush, without being instantly absorbed. Perfectly suits professional artists as well as beginners. These sheets make a great gift for professional artists, art enthusiasts, and students.
What is GSM in Paper?
GSM stands for “grams per square meter,” and it is a measurement of the weight or thickness of paper. It is commonly used to specify the weight of various types of paper, including printing paper, cardstock, and, as mentioned in the previous response, watercolor paper.
GSM measures the mass of a paper sheet in grams per square meter. In simpler terms, it tells you how much a one-square-meter sheet of paper weighs in grams. A higher GSM value indicates a thicker and heavier paper, while a lower GSM value indicates a lighter and thinner paper.
- A standard copy paper might have a GSM of around 80 gsm, making it relatively lightweight.
- Cardstock, used for greeting cards and invitations, often ranges from 200 gsm to 300 gsm, making it thicker and more rigid.
- Watercolor paper can vary widely in GSM, but common weights are 140 gsm, 300 gsm, and even 640 gsm for heavyweight watercolor paper.
GSM is an important specification to consider when choosing paper for a specific purpose, as it affects the paper’s durability, thickness, and suitability for various applications. Different projects may require paper with different GSM values to achieve the desired results.
Cold Press vs. Hot Press Texture in Watercolor Paper
Cold press and hot press are two common textures found in watercolor paper, and they affect how watercolor paints behave on the paper’s surface. Each texture has its own characteristics, and artists often choose one over the other based on their preferences and the specific effects they want to achieve in their paintings.
|Parameter||Cold Press Watercolor Paper||Hot Press Watercolor Paper|
|Texture||Cold press paper has a textured surface that resembles a fine-grained or slightly bumpy texture. It is created by pressing the paper between cold rollers during manufacturing.||Hot press paper has a smooth, flat surface. It is created by pressing the paper between hot rollers during manufacturing.|
|Absorbility||Cold press paper has a moderate level of absorbency. It can hold water and paint, allowing for some blending and layering of colors.||Hot press paper has less absorbency compared to cold press paper. It tends to resist paint absorption more, which means colors may appear more vibrant and transparent.|
|Versatility||This type of paper is versatile and can be used for a wide range of watercolor techniques, from wet-on-wet to wet-on-dry.||The smooth surface of hot press paper is ideal for fine details and precise brushwork. It provides a clean and crisp look to watercolor paintings.|
|Suitable for||Artists who enjoy a bit of texture in their work, those who like to experiment with various watercolor techniques, and those who want a balance between absorbency and texture.||Artists who prefer fine details, intricate work, and a smooth finish in their watercolor paintings. It is also favored for illustrations and botanical art.|
What Makes a Good Watercolor Paper
Good watercolor paper is essential for achieving the best results in watercolor painting. Watercolor paper differs from regular paper in that it is specifically designed to handle the unique properties of watercolor paints, which involve a lot of water and pigment. Here are the key characteristics that make a good watercolor paper:
- Weight or Thickness: Watercolor paper comes in various weights or thicknesses, typically measured in pounds (lb) or grams per square meter (gsm). Heavier papers, such as 140 lb (300 gsm) or 300 lb (640 gsm), are preferred for most watercolor techniques because they can handle more water without warping or buckling. Lighter papers may work well for certain techniques but may not hold up to heavy washes.
- Texture: Watercolor paper can have different textures, including rough, cold-pressed (also known as NOT), and hot-pressed. The texture affects the appearance and feel of your painting. Rough paper has a pronounced texture, which can create interesting effects with granulation, while cold-pressed paper is a popular choice for its balanced texture that works well for most techniques. Hot-pressed paper is smooth and ideal for detailed work or when you want a flat, even surface.
- Material and Quality: Watercolor paper is typically made from cellulose or cotton fibers. Cotton paper is generally considered superior for watercolor painting because it is more durable, absorbs water and pigment more evenly, and stands up to erasing and scrubbing better than cellulose paper. High-quality watercolor paper is free of impurities and acid-free to ensure longevity and prevent yellowing.
- Sizing: Watercolor paper is often treated with sizing, which is a substance that reduces the absorbency of the paper. Proper sizing allows the paint to sit on the surface, preventing it from being absorbed too quickly. Sizing also contributes to the paper’s ability to handle multiple layers of paint without excessive warping. Good watercolor paper should have consistent sizing that doesn’t cause puddling or beading of the paint.
- Color: Watercolor paper comes in both natural white and bright white. Natural white paper tends to have a warmer, slightly creamier tone, while bright white paper is more neutral and works well for capturing vibrant colors. The choice of color can affect the overall look of your painting.
- Archival Quality: If you want your watercolor paintings to last for generations, it’s important to choose archival-quality paper. Archival papers are acid-free and made to resist yellowing or deteriorating over time.
Best Watercolor Paper Brands
- Arches: Arches is one of the most popular and widely recommended watercolor paper brands. It’s known for its high-quality, 100% cotton paper that is durable and holds up well to wet washes. It comes in various weights and surface textures (cold-pressed, hot-pressed, and rough).
- Meeden: Meeden is a brand that produces various art supplies, including watercolor paper. They offer a range of art materials designed for different artistic needs and preferences.
- Paul Rubens: Paul Rubens is a brand known for producing various art supplies, including watercolor paper.
- Winsor & Newton: Winsor & Newton produces a line of watercolor papers that are well-regarded for their performance. They offer a range of surfaces, including cold-pressed, hot-pressed, and rough.
- Strathmore: Strathmore offers a range of watercolor papers suitable for different skill levels. The 400 Series is a good choice for intermediate artists, and it’s available in various formats and sizes.
Best Watercolor Paper Brands in India
- Arches Watercolor Paper: Arches is a renowned brand worldwide and is often available in art supply stores in India. It’s known for its high-quality 100% cotton paper that is suitable for professional artists.
- Brustro Watercolor Paper: Brustro is an Indian brand known for its art supplies. They offer a range of watercolor papers, including both cellulose-based and cotton-based options.
- Zen Sangam: Zen Sangam is an Indian brand known for its art supplies. Highly recommended for wet-on-wet watercolor techniques. Zen Sangam is a vegan-friendly brand and all of our paper products are acid-free & chlorine-free.
- Artios: Artios is a brand offering Artist supplies for creators of all levels. Every Artios product is specially handmade by skilled artisans and makes a great gift for professional artists, art enthusiasts, and students. Artios watercolor papers are thick and heavy-weight, making it ideal for wet-on-wet techniques. It can stand multiple washes without warping or bleeding through.
What is the best type of watercolor paper?
Some of the best watercolor papers available in the market are Arches Watercolor Pad, Meeden Cotton Watercolor Paper Textured Surface Watercolor Pad, Paul Rubens Watercolor Block, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Block, Strathmore 298-103 400 Series Watercolor Pad, Brustro Artists Watercolour Paper, Zen Sangam Express your Mind, and Artios Artists’ Watercolor Paper.
What GSM paper is best for watercolor painting?
GSM is the acronym for ‘grams per square meter’, and in general about 200gsm paper should be suitable for most watercolor paintings. Anything under is likely to buckle and warp when painting heavy washes.
What is watercolor paper?
Watercolor paper is a specialized type of paper that is specifically designed for use with watercolor paints. It is distinct from other types of paper due to its unique properties that make it suitable for the particular demands of watercolor painting.
Can you print on watercolor paper?
Yes, you can print on watercolor paper, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind such as Printer Compatibility, Paper Weight, Paper Size, and Ink Compatibility.
How to flatten watercolor paper?
Watercolor paper often needs to be flattened after it has been subjected to wet media, as it can warp or buckle during the painting process. Some of the methods to flatten a watercolor paper are Tape or Glue Method, Ironing Method, and Humidification and Weight Method.
When it comes to choosing the best watercolor paper, several factors need to be considered. It is essential to select a paper that is suitable for your desired painting technique and provides the right absorption and texture. Moreover, considering the weight and quality of the paper is crucial for achieving long-lasting results. By investing in high-quality watercolor paper, artists can enhance their creativity and ensure their artwork stands the test of time. So, take the time to explore different brands and types of watercolor paper to find the one that suits your artistic needs. Happy painting!