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

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
Password
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

Our Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-02-2018, 08:34 PM
GardenGirl27 GardenGirl27 is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 5
 
Acid free paper

I'm just starting out, and really can't even afford good paints, but I really cringe at the thought of paying over a dollar a sheet for good paper. If I used paper that is a mix of wood and cotton, but it was acid free, would it still yellow? And if so, what if it is not displayed?
Thanks in advance!
Reply With Quote
  #2   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-02-2018, 09:18 PM
MarialenaS's Avatar
MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
A Local Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5,985
 
Hails from Greece
Re: Acid free paper

Hi and welcome to this forum.
At this stage what you need most is to get an affordable paper to practice a lot on it and not necessarily the most expensive or most archival ones.
The majority of acid free papers don't become yellow over time. The difference between a cotton paper and a paper that is made of wood pulp is in its absorbency and the effects that can give you but this is not something that should bother you right now especially by the time that your finances can't support such purchases on art materials.
So go for any acid free paper over 200-220 gsm, or get any affordable watercolour sketchbook that you'll be able to find at your local market and start painting.
If you tell us of course where you are living, we will be able to suggest you some products. But if you don't, the above suggestions are ok for a start.
Reply With Quote
  #3   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-02-2018, 09:33 PM
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: Acid free paper

Welcome! Marialena beat me to the punch! And I will offer a different perspective, but bear in mind that we agree in the main: paint on what you can afford. It's much better to practice on what you can afford than not paint at all because the paper's too costly. So, if you need to economize, do it and keep on painting. We'll be here to cheer you on no matter what you're painting on!

When it comes to paper, exposure to light isn't the issue. Non-archival paper will destroy itself wherever it is. If you've ever pulled an old yellow newspaper article out of a drawer, you know what I mean.

If the paper claims to be acid free, you're probably fine for keepsake purposes. Do you really need your practice paintings to last a hundred years though? Possibly not! And I'm not criticizing at all if you do. I keep all my stuff, good bad and indifferent, and really wouldn't mind if it remains an intact record of my progress for generations to come. (Probably no one's going to care though! )

Your bigger problem may be usability. You'll hear more than one artist here, myself included, recommend that spendy all-cotton paper to start out on. It really truly does make a difference in my opinion, that will give you a huge boost early on.

I suggest this: Treat yourself to just ONE big sheet of 100% cotton. Those usually run about $6 USD. Tear this down into 16 postcards. Paint both sides! Better papers are just as good on the back as the front, so use that space. Now you can do 32 little paintings/sketches/practice exercises on that good paper and get a feel for it. Even if you end up at $7 with tax, that's still less than $0.22 per painting. Not so bad, right? Chuck a quarter in a jar every time you paint a side, and you'll have enough for the next sheet before you're done!

After that, you'll have a grip on technique and how things "feel" when you work. Then you'll be able to practice on wood pulp paper for economy's sake, and know whether a given result is the nature of the paper, vs. you as an artist. That matters, because you can tear your hair out when your wash looks different than the one in the video lesson, and it's not you being a failure. If your paper is different than the one in the book or video, the results will differ. It's the nature of paper, they all paint differently. And different is not bad! Just… different.

If you've already got your paint, use it up and enjoy on whatever paper you can! And if you haven't bought your supplies yet, consider spending less on paint (Cotman vs Winsor Newton) and put the difference into a sheet or two of better paper. I am confident you'll be glad you did.
__________________
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

Last edited by Cyntada : 01-02-2018 at 09:40 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 12:05 AM
janinco's Avatar
janinco janinco is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Colorado
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,295
 
Hails from United States
Re: Acid free paper

I would look for Strathmore 400 series 140 lb watercolor paper. You can get it in pads or sheets.
https://www.dickblick.com/products/s...ercolor-paper/
All the Michaels and Hobby Lobby stores carry it if you're in the US and you can use a 40% off coupon.

It's acid-free/archival and while it's not considered one of the top papers, it's way better than most student grade and will give you a feel for how the paint will behave on more expensive paper.

I started out painting with Prang watercolors (about $3 for a set of 8 colors) and Strathmore paper. The Prangs behave more like tube paints but aren't lightfast (several of the colors disappear or fade badly in sunlight). It's a good way to decide if you like watercolor enough to invest in more expensive materials.

Jan
__________________
TwoStone Studio
Reply With Quote
  #5   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 12:37 AM
GardenGirl27 GardenGirl27 is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 5
 
Re: Acid free paper

Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions! I live in the USA (mn to be exact)
I don't really how good I am or can be... I did one really nice(at least to me lol) painting with some mixed media paper and daler rowney simply watercolors(from Wal Mart). I very lightly, but very detailed, sketched out a blue jay, and painted him. I didn't really get taught how to properly use watercolors, but I really liked it. So I thought I'd learn the right way and get a dvd. Purchased Craftsy's Painting with Watercolor dvd by Kateri Ewing. Tried following along with the projects and they looked horrible. I mean I expected it, she did say student grade paints (if you want to call Simply that) weren't going to give good results but this was worse than I thought! So now I am trying to balance the difference between good paints, brushes, and paper.
I do like the thought of using really small pieces of good paper to test it out. I hadn't thought of it that way. Afterall I probably won't be displaying any of my first attempts
Again I really appreciate everyone's reply! Its great to hear from the experienced!
Reply With Quote
  #6   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 01:25 AM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is offline
Lord of the Arts
San Diego
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,987
 
Hails from United States
Re: Acid free paper

The issue isn't yellowing, that isn't material, even after 4 years of practice nothing I am doing merits to last 20-30 years. I started learning this and I had no money, my first investment was in a strathmore pad and a set of reeves which I used for 2 months, until I could save up for a tube of WN ultramarine and cotman which I used for the next 2 months.

The issue is the sizing, and the durability of the paper. The way watercolor works isn't that you paint ON the paper, you paint WITH the paper. The paper controls how washes work and how the paint itself behaves, its blotter paper which is designed to get really wet and still hold together, but that is balanced by the sizing.

Good sizing (the glue which is on on our paper) keeps the paint on the surface where it's bright (and not dull), but is also really durable even though it's wet paper. As you paint the sizing dissolves at a balanced rate - fast enough to absorb those puddles and water, but slow enough that your color stays where you want in ( or moves in a pleasing manner ).

If you have perfect technique, you can paint on anything. If you use cheap paper, the sizing isn't going to be as good - for example on montval it works well when you first get it wet, and perhaps a brush stroke or two, but then it dissolves and your paper turns into blotter paper. The other issue is it pills up when you scrub it. If you know this, you can do washes quickly, avoid fussing, and you can get great results, but at the same time this is really hard to achieve for a beginner.

It's like learning to ride a bike when you've never done it before, it's really hard. That is why your parents will get you one with training wheels. This is what good paper is like, training wheels. It lets you over work it and not look bad. If you are too slow ( and a beginner is going to be too slow ), it does not dry so fast that your last stroke leaves a line, but instead you have time to continue the overall shape or soften it. It does not pill up if you need to scrub something up.

I would suggest buying 2 parent sheets of arches - since you are in the USA the prices are very good. A 3 pack if that is available. This should run you about $8 a sheet, perhaps $25 for the three pack, perhaps a bit less. ( look for sales ). You don't have to get arches, but it's the papers labeled 100% cotton which have the good sizing, the cheap papers don't except for bockingford, which is a wood pulp paper with good sizing, which should well for you ( but its an import so it's not as cheap as you'd think )

Cut these parent sheets into 16ths. That is 7.5"x5.5" in size. You can buy sketchbooks that size and pay $15 for only 15 pages and the paper is far worse. Use both sides of these pages. Use these to figure out techniques like washes, or to practice doing paintings. Use one or two of these a night if you are painting every night. By cutting them down that size your cost per page is far less than $1.

The other option is getting an arches pad from blicks, they are 12 sheets of 9x12 at 10.90 right now - usually these run my about $15-17. Ideally you can get it in the store or avoid shipping fees. ( but a 9x12 is about a sixth of a parent sheet, so two parent sheets are often about the same price, and some brands parent sheets can be as low as $5 ) Be very careful as pads of 12-15 pages go for as much as $80 (for a block), they charge a huge premium for how it's assembled, often parent sheets are far cheaper

I would also get some cheaper paper to go with it, I used Canson XL watercolor, which I could get a pad of 30 pages for $5-$6 at walmart. I found strathmore to be far more expensive for any given level of quality, I never finished that pad ( which was quite expensive at $12 ). I never liked strathmore, not because of how it worked, but that there always seemed to be cheaper options at higher levels of quality, it's better student grade papers were so close to what I could get 100% cotton artist grade papers for often just teeny bit more. This was true for me, but you will have to price compare, and compare each papers quality for yourself.

So what I did was practice first on the cheap paper a given technique. I would read what was described here ( lots of lessons and tutorials and step by steps on these forums ), and kind of just use this cheap paper to figure out my game plan, and I didn't mind wasting this paper at all. Then I would do the same thing again on the arches paper, and I would note how it worked differently. Note that this requires you to be patient too, to let it dry, and observe carefully that process and how it looks when you make your mark, and when it dries. If you are trying to do a gradient wash which is smooth, the cheap paper won't work at first at all, but the arches kind of will since its sizing is helping you. Once you figure it out and do it successfully, now you can go back to the cheaper paper and repeat it until you can do that gradient on ANY paper.

After you know the basic techniques, then you just want to keep some sheets of arches there for comparison. You can use the cheap paper for most of what you do, especially if you have really good technique, but use the arches every once in a while to see the difference. They say you need to paint a 100 paintings before watercolors clicks, but that is how much you need to practice on any given paper.

Last edited by briantmeyer : 01-03-2018 at 01:27 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #7   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 01:44 AM
MarialenaS's Avatar
MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
A Local Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5,985
 
Hails from Greece
Re: Acid free paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by janinco
I would look for Strathmore 400 series 140 lb watercolor paper. You can get it in pads or sheets.
https://www.dickblick.com/products/s...ercolor-paper/
All the Michaels and Hobby Lobby stores carry it if you're in the US and you can use a 40% off coupon.

It's acid-free/archival and while it's not considered one of the top papers, it's way better than most student grade and will give you a feel for how the paint will behave on more expensive paper.

I started out painting with Prang watercolors (about $3 for a set of 8 colors) and Strathmore paper. The Prangs behave more like tube paints but aren't lightfast (several of the colors disappear or fade badly in sunlight). It's a good way to decide if you like watercolor enough to invest in more expensive materials.

Jan

I'm in for both. And I would recommend also the Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media paper at 190 gsm that it is 100% and available also in the wired bound journals in a great price. And don't get fooled by its weight. It is super strong and reliable paper for any use.
But I'm surprised that you say that Prangs are not lightfast. I 've tested literally a bunch of them ( I was gifted several boxes from different production eras) and most of them didn't fade after three months on my window. Greek light is notoriously bright, so if they were that fading as it is rumored, then they would have disappeared from the swatches but they didn't. Only a couple of these colours faded slightly but soo little that it would have been impossible to detect it if I hadn't compare the exposed with the none exposed to the light swatches side by side.
3 months of exposure on bright light is more than enough to figure our if the paints are lightfast or not because it isn't either way recommended to expose even framed paintings under light. Who is going to paint something and then put it on the window?
Reply With Quote
  #8   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 02:52 AM
Yorky's Avatar
Yorky Yorky is online now
Administrator
ORMSKIRK, Lancashire
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 93,383
 
Hails from United Kingdom
Re: Acid free paper

It is important that you use decent paper, more important than paint quality starting out. I'm sure the Strathmore recommended is fine, or Bockingford 140 Cold Pressed if you can get it. Paint goes on entirely different on decent paper, and you will make progress quicker. Cotman paints are fine starting out.

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #9   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 10:36 AM
Lapicero Lapicero is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 94
 
Re: Acid free paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarialenaS
I'm in for both. And I would recommend also the Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media paper at 190 gsm that it is 100% and available also in the wired bound journals in a great price.

I just got a journal with this paper and it's unreal. I have yet to paint on it but I enjoyed making a drawing on it with an dip pen.

Amazon sells it in rolls for just under $40 and that is a steal, IMO. I may have to add it to my arsenal.

As to cheaper papers that I use--I use Canson XL in my life drawing class because Blick often has it as BOGO and it's perfect for the style of 20 min sketches I do in my class. I don't like to paint on it though. I've had better success on Strathmore 400, Fluid and Canson Montval. Bockingford has to be the best cellulose paper. Harder to find in the US, but it can be gotten online. Two of my local stores sell it in sheets.

Stillman and Birn sell their papers in sheets. I have used their Alpha, Gamma, Delta and Zeta papers and I love them although I probably wouldn't use them for paintings, per se, as they feel more like sketchbook paper.

I agree you need 100% cotton at some point. Buying one sheet and tearing it or getting Arches pads (I get mine from Blick because the price can't be beat) works. I also like Blick's new Premier Blocks but they are pricey instore (although a moot point if you are Preferred Customer and get the web price). Also, Strathmore 500 Ready Cut is great. I would get packs of the 5x7 for under $10 a pack and play. They sell them in bigger sizes and the prices are just as reasonable. Lastly, Stonehenge Aqua comes in sheets and they are VERY affordable. A couple of my local stores sell the sheets and they are ~$5 a sheet. I had problems taping the hot press, but I loved painting on the cold press.
__________________
My Instagram
Reply With Quote
  #10   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 11:57 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: Acid free paper

While we're piling on Strathmore, I can highly recommend their Windpower watercolor pads also. It's a little slicker than all-cotton paper, and holds an ink line like a dream. These are available at Michaels, so watch for coupons and sales to get a good deal.
__________________
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
  #11   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 12:00 PM
CharM's Avatar
CharM CharM is offline
A WC! Legend
Pinehurst, Ontario
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 40,488
 
Hails from Canada
Re: Acid free paper

I believe you should try to purchase the very best quality you can afford. Living in the States means that you can order online, watching for sales.

So, the average price of 140# cold pressed paper is around $6.50 for a full sheet of 22 x 30". Arches, Fabriano, Langton, etc. Winsor & Newton paper is even less expensive. Buying paper in packs of 10 reduces the price even more. It's a big outlay initially, but saves you money over time.

Break this down, now, to workable sizes for you to practice on:

Half sheet - 15 x 22" = $3.25
Quarter sheet - 11 x 15" = $1.62
Eighth sheet - 7.5 x 11" = $.81
Sixteenth sheet - 5.5 x 7.5" = $.40

And, you can turn over each of these sizes and paint on the reverse.
__________________
Char

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. Leonardo DaVinci
Handbook Index ... Help for Newbies
Reply With Quote
  #12   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 01:23 PM
LatteForZoey's Avatar
LatteForZoey LatteForZoey is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 195
 
Re: Acid free paper

Not sure if OP is still watching the thread, but to answer the question: can I still use acid free paper and create beautiful paintings? Yes, absolutely. Is it as good as using cotton paper? Generally no. Which one should I use then? Whichever one you can afford, with a footnote.

Now, this footnote is a little long-winded. First off, I can definitely list names of people on Youtube who use acid-free paper and get beautiful results. Christine Karron on Youtube (I think she has an account here on WC as well, but don't quote me on that! ) does beautiful portraits with Strathmore 400 series; if you go into gouache, James Gurney does phenomenal work in a simple watercolor sketchbook. However, the vast majority of watercolor artists will use some form of cotton paper. Why? Because it is simply the best and most efficient to work with. With acid free wood pulp paper like Strathmore 300 or 400 series, or Canson Montval, if you do a lot of wet on wet work, the paint won't flow as seamlessly. You'll get hard edges and blooms frequently. On cotton paper, you won't necessarily never get these problems, but you can drastically reduce the number of these instances, and eventually you'll figure out exactly how wet your paper must be in order to not cause these blooms. For multiple layers of watercolor work, cotton paper is still the most durable. For backgrounds or swaths of color that blend in seamlessly with the rest of the painting, cotton paper will get you there.

Another factor is the price. Of course everyone cringes at spending over a dollar a sheet when some normal computer paper costs less than even toilet paper. However, even if you do simple pencil drawings, you'll notice a huge difference when you switch from computer paper to pricier drawing papers. You can add more layers of graphite, and it tends to go on less scratchy. But no matter the medium, quality materials will always be an investment. When I did digital art back in the day, I thought, "Great! It's a one-time investment and I don't ever have to pay for anything else, and I can make as many drawings as I want." So I went on Amazon and bought the cheapest Wacom tablet I could find, which was still $50. The reality?

-Digital art programs (Photoshop, etc.) cost a metric ton
-Replacement nibs and microUSB cords
-Prints cost nearly as much as cotton paper

And this is considering that I was lucky in that my tablet is still holding up pretty darn well, while the average drawing tablet needs replacement every 3-4 years. Plus, as I've found out, I don't get as much enjoyment out of it as an art medium that's more tactile.

So if your current watercolor purchases looks something like this:

$10 pad of acid-free wood pulp paper
$25 paints
$20 brushes

I highly recommend reconsidering the allocation of your purchases. Even if it ends up being something like:

$13 Arches cotton paper pad (from Michaels or Hobby Lobby with a coupon)
$3 Prang
$5 value pack of brushes (perhaps those white Simply Simmons I see at Michaels all the time)

It will still be more effective at helping you learn the properties of watercolor. You might also be surprised at just how long watercolor supplies will last you, too. I still have yet to completely use up a single 15 mL tube of watercolor paint, and I paint at least weekly!
__________________
-Zoey

Last edited by LatteForZoey : 01-03-2018 at 01:25 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 05:49 PM
GardenGirl27 GardenGirl27 is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 5
 
Re: Acid free paper

Thank you everyone for your marvelous suggestions! I have Canson XL Mixed Media pad, so maybe Canson XL Watercolor will make a difference?
I do think the value brushes I have now are not suitable though. So that is another investment I am looking in to. They are mixed media brushes, and although it says watercolor as well, they don't hold much water or paint..... Lol
Hopefully the next time a sale goes on I have enough saved up to follow these suggestions!
Reply With Quote
  #14   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2018, 11:23 PM
janinco's Avatar
janinco janinco is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Colorado
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,295
 
Hails from United States
Re: Acid free paper

I don't have my Prang set any more to show the strength of the original colors, but this was how my testing turned out (3 months in window). The paintings have been protected from light so I'm not sure how they would have held up in frames exposed to UV light. I had similar results with my Koi Sakura set. But they're both fun for sketching.

Jan

__________________
TwoStone Studio
Reply With Quote
  #15   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:53 AM
MarialenaS's Avatar
MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
A Local Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5,985
 
Hails from Greece
Re: Acid free paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by janinco
I don't have my Prang set any more to show the strength of the original colors, but this was how my testing turned out (3 months in window). The paintings have been protected from light so I'm not sure how they would have held up in frames exposed to UV light. I had similar results with my Koi Sakura set. But they're both fun for sketching.

Jan


I have the notion that the Prang light fastness results variate depending where the paints are manufactured.

These were my results after three months on my window. The paper changed colour but the paints not.





P.S. Sorry for the off topic but by the time that we advice other people here about the one or the other product we have to support with proofs our claims.
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 01:18 AM.


© 2014 F+W All rights reserved.