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Watercolor paper

Read my post about a basic watercolor set first.

If you want to continue painting with watercolor, you should know about the different types of watercolor paper because watercolor paper is very important!

Watercolor paper is made from cellulose and cotton. They are very different!

Cellulose paper:

  • It’s hard

  • It doesn't absorb watercolor paints

  • It dries very quickly

  • It’s cheap

Cotton paper:

  • It’s soft

  • It absorbs watercolor paints

  • It doesn't dry quickly

  • It’s expensive

It’s a good idea to try both types to see differences. I already recommend cellulose paper in my previous post.

As for cotton paper, you can find pads, albums, or loose big sheets. Always check if it’s cotton paper!

Cotton paper can be with different surfaces:

  • Smooth (hot press)

  • Medium grain (cold press)

  • Large grain (rough)

(Cellulose paper can be only cold press).

You can find this information on covers or ask for help if you want to buy a loose sheet.

For example ( this is a high quality cotton paper):

What paper should you buy?

It depends on your goal.

If you want to do quick sketches with 1-2 layers of watercolor, buy cellulose paper!

If you want to create many layers of watercolor and do a lot of wet-on-wet techniques, buy cotton paper!

What surface of cotton paper should you buy?

Again it depends on your goal. Universal paper and paper for beginners is cold press paper.

For fine details it’s a hot press paper. For textures it’s a rough paper.

It’s a good idea to try all of them and try different producers. After some attempts and practice you can choose your favorite paper and stick to it for a while.

My favorite paper is Saunders Waterford :

Saunders Waterford paper can in block and pads too.

In the meantime, enjoy my speed painting and stay tuned for Valentine’s day tutorial:

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