If you are planning on working with watercolours, then you will need some quality watercolour paper to do your artwork justice. Traditional high quality watercolour paper is made from cotton fibres and sheets differ very little thanks to modern mould machines. Good watercolour paper is durable and absorbent thanks to the cotton fibres. Most paper is white or cream in colour as it allows light to reflect off its surface, which gives the transparent watercolour paint a luminescent look. But this isn’t to say that all watercolour paper is the same.
What do different types of watercolour paper mean?
It’s important to choose the right paper, as it can affect the way your project turns out. Factors such as weight and watercolour paper texture can make a huge difference to your artwork, so it’s definitely worth doing your research. When it comes to types of watercolour paper textures, there are three main categories to concern yourself with:
Hot Pressed (HP): Hot pressed watercolour paper offers a very smooth surface, meaning that if you work with very fine detail, it will not be interrupted by rough textures.
Cold Pressed (CP): This type of watercolour paper is often known as “NOT”, to mean “not hot pressed”. Cold pressed watercolour paper has a surface which is slightly textured and it’s versatility means it’s a popular type.
Rough: Rough paper is a more textured type of watercolour paper, perfect for creating landscapes where texture adds to the composition.
In addition, different watercolour paper pads can have varying weights. Heavier paper is thicker, meaning it can take more water and more working as you create your watercolour masterpiece. Watercolour paper is typically marked by how much 500 sheets weighs. Typical weight margins are 90gsm, 140gsm, and 300gsm. While 90gsm is more inexpensive, it will not be able to handle rough work. 140gsm watercolour paper pads are the most common, balancing durability with price, while 300gsm paper is the toughest you will likely need for watercolour paper.
How to stop Watercolour paper from warping?
Watercolour paper is very absorbent, meaning the fibres expand as you paint on them with your watercolours. As only some areas of the page expand, the page begins to “cockle” or bend, particularly if you are using lighter GSM watercolour paper. If this is happening to your watercolour paintings, don’t worry, as this is a completely normal behaviour in watercolour paper. To ensure that your painting dries flat rather than in this buckled position, try the following tips.
Stretch your watercolour paper
Buy pre-stretched watercolour paper blocks
Flatten your finished watercolour artwork
Whether you are a professional or amateur, we have a range of watercolour paper and pads that are perfect for all purposes. We stock pads and sheets of watercolour paper from top brands such as Daler-Rowney, Winsor & Newton, Bockingford and more in a variety of types and sizes to suit your next project.