Selecting Watercolor Paper
There are lots of different types of watercolor paper available on the market. It’s important to find the one that works for your painting style.
Be sure to scroll down to get the guide that provides details on my favorite brushes, paints and papers for beginners - plus where to buy affordably and learn watercolor techniques for free or cheaply. It’s fun to be creative.
Differences in Watercolor Paper
There are several thing to consider when searching for the right watercolor paper. It’s important to try out different ones to find the one that works best for you. You likely have a final result in mind and selecting the right paper can make a big difference.
Things to consider when selecting watercolor paper:
Absorbency - How long does the water sits on the surface of the paper? If you like to work with wet on wet or mix colors on the paper instead of your palette, you need the water & paint to stay on the very top surface of the paper. Otherwise you may end up with unintended blooms (though you may want this effect) where water drops and pushes the paint away from the center. Test papers with swipes of paint to see how long you can work the color on the surface.
Flow/Texture - How does the brush, paint and water flow across the paper? Is it scratchy and catches the pigment and bristles OR very smooth? Does that paper have dimples that will show up in your art? You may want the pigment to flow or you may want lots of the paper’s texture from the paper to show up in your painting. Flip the paper over and look at the texture on the back. It may give a different effect.
Workable/Erasable - How does the paper hold up to an eraser and adding/removing water as you create your painting?
Thickness - How “heavy” is the paper? It may weigh the same, but feel it between you fingers and try bending it.
Consider buying sample packs from art stores, buying single sheets or swapping paper with friends so you can see what works best for your painting style.