You can doodle, sketch and draw as much as you want on any random piece of paper or even an old newspaper lying around and still get good results. Not so much for watercolors.
Even if you are using the best watercolor paint in the world, if you apply it on some random scrap of paper laying around you will quickly see that the water will simply wrinkle the paper and the ink won’t dry well properly.
Regardless if you an absolute beginner or a professional, everyone needs special paper when working with watercolors.
Criteria Of Paper For Watercolor Painting
The best paper to use for watercolor painting is very similar to the ideal paper for watercolor pencils. You want some paper that can handle a good chunk of water without wrinkling.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when buying paper for watercolors. The first important factor is the weight of the paper. This decides how the paper can absorb the water without undergoing damage. Although you don’t need to remember concrete numbers to decide which paper to buy, keep in mind that generally the heavier the paper the better.
Assuming you have paper that is sufficiently heavy, you next want to look at the texture of the paper. This indicates how long the paper takes to absorb a certain amount of water. Cold pressed paper gives a rough texture that can soak up water very fast. On the contrary, hot pressed paper is very smooth and will take a longer time to absorb the same amount of water. This comes down to personal preference. If you like to take your time when mixing colors, choose hot pressed. If you can’t wait for the paint to try on the paper, choose cold pressed.
Finally, you might come across the term acid-free paper a lot. If the paper contains acid it will slowly start to change color and become brittle over time. A disaster for your artwork! However, if you are just a beginner and looking to do some practice, then finding acid-free paper won’t be very important.
Recommended Paper for Watercolors
For beginners that are new to watercolors, we recommend the Canson XL watercolor pad. This paper is cold pressed using sustainable processes and you can apply water on it several times without worry. It is totally acid-free and comes with 30 sheets that are 9 inches by 12 inches in size.
For the serious artists amongst us, consider the watercolor pad by Arches.This paper is hot pressed, unlike the one mentioned above. It is completely made out of natural cotton fibers and handles watercolor paint like no other. It contains 12 natural white sheets that are 9 inch by 12 inch in size and is completely acid free.
Read our Ultimate Guide to Watercolor Painting!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best watercolor paint for beginners?
- Which brushes should beginners use for watercolor painting?
- Which watercolor pencils do you recommend?
- Which water brush pen is best for accurately blending watercolors?