Home Member Services Content Areas Tools Info Center WC Partners Shop Help
Search for:

Welcome to the WetCanvas forums. You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit our help center.

Go Back   WetCanvas > Explore Media > Watercolor > The Learning Zone
User Name
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

View Poll Results: Which three watercolour papers do you prefer?
Ampersand 12 2.13%
Arches 411 73.00%
Bockingford 47 8.35%
Canson Montval 60 10.66%
Cotman 8 1.42%
Fabriano 234 41.56%
Kilimanjaro 34 6.04%
Lanaquarelle 29 5.15%
Magnani 3 0.53%
Richeson 7 1.24%
Saunders Waterford 137 24.33%
Strathmore 74 13.14%
Twinrocker 14 2.49%
Velke Losiny 2 0.36%
Winsor Newton 33 5.86%
Yupo 22 3.91%
Other 85 15.10%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 563. You may not vote on this poll

Our Sponsors
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-16-2012, 07:37 PM
SSB SSB is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 847
Watercolour paper poll

Choose Three:




Canson Montval







Saunders Waterford



Velke Losiny

Winsor Newton



If possible, explain why you like the surfaces you chose.
Reply With Quote
  #2   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-16-2012, 08:32 PM
CharM's Avatar
CharM CharM is offline
A WC! Legend
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 40,693
Hails from Canada
Re: Watercolour paper poll

Hiya... This i.s a great idea for a poll! I wish that others were commenting about their choices, though...

I use Arches 140# cold pressed or rough. I like both the natural white and and their bright white. I prefer rough for most of my paintings because I like the deep tooth that allows for lots of texture. It seems to dry more slowly, also. Either the cold pressed or rough are great all purpose papers that can take a lot of abuse.

I use Saunders Waterford 200# cold pressed paper. The Centre where I teach watercolour orders this paper for our Students. It's really nice because it doesn't buckle easily. However, I'm not as much a fan of the creamy warm white colour of the paper.

I use Curry's 200# cold pressed paper, also. I think that it's manufactured by Saunders Waterford as it behaves and looks very similar.

I have a wonderful little Stonehenge pad that's velvety in texture, similar to hot press, but not quite as slick. It's great for quick sketches.

I have played with Terra Skin, which is a synthetic *paper* manufactured from pulverized stone. Yes, you read that correctly. It's considered a *green* product. It is bright white with a very slick surface that's similar to yupo but has a little more drag when you run your brush over it. You couldn't glaze anything on it even if you wanted to and colour lifts back to white very easily.

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. Leonardo DaVinci
Handbook Index ... Help for Newbies
Reply With Quote
  #3   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:20 PM
Mayberry Mayberry is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,189
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

I chose the two brands I've tried and liked so far: Arches cold press and Fabriano Artistico hot press. I really like them. I'll buy either one again when I run out, and I'll get whichever is cheaper at the time.

One brand I tried and did not like was Strathmore - it pilled a lot, and I didn't like the coarse mechanical texture.

I have some Twinrocker, but I cannot comment on it because I haven't used it yet! It's sure pretty though.

My 3rd choice was "other." I have a no-name watercolor spiral bound sketch pad, cost $1.50 for 15 sheets of A4 size paper. Or $1.50 for 25 sheets of A5. It's actually not bad stuff at all, feels about 90 lb weight, has a soft tooth. I use it for sketching and trying out colors. It takes a fair amount of abuse. I'm on my 3rd sketchbook of it. I doubt it's all cotton, so I won't use it for anything I want to keep "forever." But I really like having some paper that I can just play with and not worry about wasting money.
Reply With Quote
  #4   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-16-2012, 11:02 PM
Antiqueteacher's Avatar
Antiqueteacher Antiqueteacher is offline
A WC! Legend
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 27,527
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

I use Arches 140# cp sheets, but have used 300#. I like bright white. The 300# drinks paint. I started out with Strathmore spiral pads, but when I tried Arches. . .I was sold. I have used Fabriano Artistico. It was nice and I might use it again. Arches can take a beating and I make sure it gets its chance!

Interesting info! Thanks!!

Reply With Quote
  #5   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-16-2012, 11:37 PM
pumkin54's Avatar
pumkin54 pumkin54 is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 850
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

I voted Montval, Arches and Fabriano, although I don't actually have a preference yet. I started out on Montval and other inexpensive papers, primarily because I wasn't willing to invest a lot of money to practice painting washes and apples. Then I had a 40% off coupon for Dick Blick brick&mortar and grabbed a 5-pack of Arches for 20 bucks. Recently, another sale at my local art store got me a 10-pack of Fabriano for a whopping $25! So now I'm goofing with Fabriano. Since I usually have 3 or 4 paintings sketched, I use all three papers simultaneously or my sketchbook, a Pentalic field book.
Instagram | DeviantArt | Twitter

Reply With Quote
  #6   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 02:57 AM
Cyntada's Avatar
Cyntada Cyntada is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Behind the Orange Curtain
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3,397
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

Arches, WN, and Saunders/Richeson here. I had a piece of mystery paper when I got back into watercolor, paint just flowed like magic on it and I tested a lot of paper trying to find out what that was. Great learning experience; I eventually decided that the mystery sheet was Winsor Newton. In those early days, the flow of WN just seemed to make everything look better; when starting watercolor who wouldn't want all the help they could get?!? Even the Arches didn't work as well for me as WN and I do still like it best.

Always thought Arches was the default "artist grade" paper, probably from a class I took long ago where the teacher expected us to use it. I do like it for its own sake though, prefer WN for reasons stated above, and recently picked up a huge pack of Saunders for $35 on sale, which thankfully I like too. Also have a piece of Twinrocker that was a Christmas gift and still haven't tried it! Time to just get over myself and enjoy the paper, and stop being so silly that a beautiful thing never gets used at all.

I use 140lb CP for everything. Did try a sheet of Arches rough and liked it, thought it did not seem drastically different. I was expecting some really dramatic texture and it just seemed slightly rougher than CP in practical use.

An important criteria for me is that the paper paints well on both sides. I paint far more in journals than on individual sheets, so one-sided paper is a wasteful nuisance in my world! Prefer the front side of WN and the back side of Arches, but both sides are fine to me.

Another paper that I like to keep around is the Arches top-bound pad (not the block). It's useless on the back, but less expensive too and really nice to have for tests, doodles, postcards, etc. I also have a Strathmore CP block which I hated for a while because it seemed to make everything look icky. Coming back it with more experience, it's not bad at all... just different. Slick and un-absorbent to me, so requires different handling. Would be wonderful for someone whose style needs that kind of paper!

That experience helped me conclude that the "right" paper is the one that gets you the desired results with the least effort; cheap, student, artist-grade, whatever. I don't even think it needs to be archival if you expect the work to have a short lifespan... full disclosure, this is a commercial artist talking.

Now, if asked what papers I do NOT like, this would be a very different list
CK =)
I take great comfort in knowing that my genuine typos will probably be blamed on some device's autocorrect.
DIY art supplies, sketches, and more: cyntada.com / @cyntada
Reply With Quote
  #7   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 07:46 AM
tommyjav's Avatar
tommyjav tommyjav is offline
Nelspruit, South Africa
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,216
Hails from South Africa
Re: Watercolour paper poll

My favorites are Arches, Fabriano and Saunders Waterford (in that order). For more than a year I could only buy Arches Rough 300g sheets, but recently bought Arches CP 300g and Arches HP 300g. I like the first, CP, very much, but haven't tested the HP yet.
Fabriano Artistico 300g is also quite nice, as is S.Waterford.
Have an A4 pad of Hahnemuele CP 300g that is very nice as well.
I also like my Moleskine sketchbooks, that is CP but less than 300g/sqm.
It's better to start painting late in life than never...
Reply With Quote
  #8   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:29 AM
Pars's Avatar
Pars Pars is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Rust Belt
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,785
Hails from United Nations
Re: Watercolour paper poll

Just an observation that in the US, Arches is the primary and often the sole paper choice at most art suppliers; hence, it is difficult to try and like or dislike other papers. Just back from a trip I had to call ahead to five art stores (in 3 towns) before I found what I wanted: Fabriano hot press.
Reply With Quote
  #9   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:10 AM
charliez's Avatar
charliez charliez is offline
Veteran Member
Cuernavaca, Mexico
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 530
Hails from Mexico
Re: Watercolour paper poll

Saunders Waterford, Fabriano and Bockingford in sheet form.

Strathmore, Fabriano and Guarro in blocks for practicing and playing...
C & C welcomed & appreciated!
WC Theory: handprint.com
Reply With Quote
  #10   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:58 AM
juliet45's Avatar
juliet45 juliet45 is offline
north yorkshire
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,143
Hails from United Kingdom
Re: Watercolour paper poll

I have only tried five watercolour papers.

I like Arches HP and Fabriano Artistico HP or CP for still life. They respond in different ways to the paint so I would decide on one depending on which way I wanted to work.

Although I voted for Bockingford as a good all-rounder I wouldn't choose to use it if I had Arches or Fabriano. I don't mind Saunders Waterford for landscape but I don't like how the paint responds when painting still life/flowers.

I got a sketch pad with Windsor & Newton paper once but would not use it again.
Reply With Quote
  #11   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 12:34 PM
DKB444's Avatar
DKB444 DKB444 is offline
Resting in Peace
United States
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1,595
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

I prefer these papers in this order: Saunders-Waterford 200 lb. CP, Arches 300 lb. CP, and Twinrocker.

I started with Arches 300 lb. two years ago when I started painting in watercolors after 30 years. I do not like to stretch paper so that is why I used the 300 pound. The Arches did really soak up paint and/or water like a sponge but it could handle the scratching with my x-acto knife very well.

After trying a trial pack from Dick Blick, and receiving some wonderful advice about comparable papers here on a thread a few months ago; I now use Saunders-Waterford 200 lb CP, exclusively. However, I did really enjoy the samples of Twinrocker watercolor paper, but I have never bought any.

I still have a pad of Arches 140 lb. CP that I sometimes use now for working with gouache. The paper is whiter, but the cream color of the S-W has not affected my paintings very much since I now work in watercolor and gouache, either gouache only or gouache and watercolor in combination.

I am quite pleased with the switch to S-W 200 lb. because it works very well without soaking up too much paint and/or water, yet it stays wet enough so I can do fairly decent washes. It is also much easier to sketch on with pencil and/or pen and ink.

This will be an interesting thread to watch to see what other people use and their reasoning.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Reply With Quote
  #12   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 02:00 PM
virgil carter's Avatar
virgil carter virgil carter is offline
A Local Legend
Boerne, TX USA
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,307
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

Many interesting comments about paper. I've used 300lb CP Kilimanjaro sheets (and some blocks) for over 20 years and come to like and enjoy it. It's a personal thing. I still have several unused sizes of 140lb CP Arches blocks (which I picked up at a local art supply place for a random workshop or two years ago).

I've gotten used to the Kilimanjaro and really don't have much interest in trying other papers these days. Time to time, when I want to become really humbled, I'll paint on Yupo.

Over time, I've come to the point where I prefer to use individual sheets, regardless of whether I'm in my studio, painting plein air or traveling for a workshop or class, if practicable.

Traveling has it's own challenges for paper use, especially by air. Travelling by car, I use a carrying bag for paper only that is large enough to hold full sheets and thus I can carry full size and smaller size paper. All of my traveling painting equipment goes into a backpack, except for an easel which is strapped to the outside of the backpack.

Travelling by air is more problematic and I tend to pre-cut sheets and/or use blocks that pack more compactly than the large paper carrying bag. Of course, when flying, it's possible to check full sized sheets in a zippered case as checked luggage, with the added extra fee for the bag.

Sling paint!
Virgil Carter
Reply With Quote
  #13   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:58 PM
sashntash sashntash is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,034
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

My preferred papers are... in order...

Fabriano Artistico 140 lb CP Natural White
Arches 140 lb CP Traditional White
Saunders Waterford 200 lb CP

I reach for the Fabriano first because I have gotten used to it, but I still use Arches a lot. Also, I find that the Arches 140 lb CP has a very slightly rougher texture than the Fabriano Artistico 140 lb CP, so if I want a little more texture, I'll pick a sheet of Arches.

I have tried both Arches and Fabriano in 140 lb Rough and liked them, but prefer CP for general use.

I love the 200 lb weight of the Saunders Waterford, but don't like the creamy white color. Other than the color, it is wonderful paper and the perfect weight IMHO.

I sure wish that Fabriano Artistico and Arches were made in 200 lb !!! If they were, those would be my 2 exclusives

I have tried 300 lb CP (Arches and Fabriano) and I liked the weight, but it would take me some time to adjust to the difference.... and... the 300 lb is a lot more expensive than the 140 lb, so I'll stick to the 140 lb for now....
in beautiful North Carolina
Retired and loving every minute of it !!!
Time to play......
Reply With Quote
  #14   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:49 PM
pumkin54's Avatar
pumkin54 pumkin54 is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 850
Hails from United States
Re: Watercolour paper poll

I didn't realize Saunders Waterford was so popular. I'd been looking at it because it's 200lb and I'm anti-stretching and anti-buckling Out of curiosity, do most of you who use Saunders Waterford use it because it comes in 200lb? Or do you still use it in 140lb and just happen to really like the paper?
Instagram | DeviantArt | Twitter

Reply With Quote
  #15   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-18-2012, 09:14 AM
claude j greengrass's Avatar
claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,364
Re: Watercolour paper poll

Originally Posted by pumkin54
...Out of curiosity, do most of you who use Saunders Waterford use it because it comes in 200lb? Or do you still use it in 140lb and just happen to really like the paper?

I started out on Bockingford 140# CP/NOT as that is what my first tutor used in his class until one of the other students gave me a sheet of S-W 200#. I never looked back. Four or five other students also switched and I became a secondary paper distributor for a while. I've also used 300# and the misleading 260# 25 3/4 x 40 sheets which are actually equivalent to about 167# paper, so a little bit heavier than 140# but no where near the weight of 200# S-W. I've have tried, and I do like Two Rivers, and Twinrockers, but cannot afford either for daily use. I found Arches 140# and 300# too soft for my painting style.

200# Saunders-Waterford Rough is my paper of choice with 200# CP when I cannot buy Rough.

Anyone know where to buy S-W 200# Rough in the USA? (...and yes, I know where to buy 140# and 300# S-W Rough)
It is only on a basis of knowledge that we can become free to compose naturally. -- Bernard Dunstan
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:13 AM.

© 2014 F+W All rights reserved.