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View Poll Results: Which watercolor surface works best for you?
WC Papers & Boards 17 94.44%
Yupo - synthetic surfaces 2 11.11%
WC Primed Boards 1 5.56%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-16-2010, 10:46 AM
Blick Art Materials Blick Art Materials is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 548
11/16/10 Product Info's Tip of the Week: A Word On Watercolor Papers

A Word On Watercolor Papers

Watercolor papers are a unique type of paper, because they offer different surface options to choose from. And because they offer internal and/or external sizing, the paint can be manipulated for a number of applications. But don’t stop there…watercolor “papers” aren’t limited to cotton fiber! New, inventive surfaces have emerged to allow watercolor artists more options in their painting substrates, providing them more liberties in their art making.

Surface Textures
Cold Press is probably the #1 most commonly used surface quality and for good reason. With its subtle toothy texture, it lends itself well to many applications from more detailed, structured work to fluid washes. Cold Press papers are achieved by running the paper through rollers that are not heated to slightly flatten and even out the surface texture but still allowing some texture to remain.
Hot Press is ideal for fine detail work, such as Botanical paintings where high definition is critical. Hot Press surface qualities are achieved by running the papers through heated rollers, in that the paper is ironed out, so to speak, to obtain a consistently smooth surface.
Soft Press is the understated press option. Not commonly found in all brands, Soft Press offers a subtle union of Cold Press and Hot Press, in that it is slightly smoother than Cold Press yet not as fine as Hot Press.
Rough...notice there’s no “press”? That is because Rough papers are not pressed at all. They are left untouched to retain their highly textured surface quality. Rough papers offer an aged or worn appearance making them distinguishable from the pressed papers.

Not The Average Watercolor Paper
Synthetic alternatives to cotton papers have emerged over the last few years.
Yupo is machine-made 100% polypropylene, made in the USA. And because this material is inertly archival, there are no worries it’ll break down, yellow, or have any out gassing over time.
Ampersand Aquabord offers a clay coated hard board panel that has a surface quality comparable to a Cold Press paper but allows the color to be lifted with little to no residual pigment haze. Additionally, what makes this board so grand is that because it is rigid, it works well for heavy wash applications without fear of distortion.
Create your own surface with an absorbent ground.
Golden Absorbent Ground gives you the freedom to make virtually any surface a watercolor substrate.
This acrylic based ground mimics acrylic mediums, but it offers a surface quality similar to the porosity of paper. Applied over acrylic primed canvas, it allows you to create your own watercolor surface.
Watercolor Canvas, specifically offered by Fredrix, provides a canvas substrate that has been specially primed to accept watercolor applications.

All of these surfaces take some time and effort to get better acquainted with, as their surface response is quite different from traditional papers.

-Kristal F.
Product Information Specialist

For further assistance using art supplies, feel welcome to contact our Product Information Department at
1-800-933-2542 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Hours of operation: M-F, 8:00am-5:30pm CST.
- your friends at Blick Art Materials
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