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Watercolor paper: Features to choose the right one for your needs

Choose The Right Watercolor Paper That Fits Your Needs.

Watercolor paper foundamentals - Artguilds

There are many types of watercolor paper on the market, but the question is only one: what is the paper that will give you the result you are looking for?
As soon as you know the answer to this question, your choice will become automatic. To do so, you need to know which are the characteristics of the different types of painting paper on the market.

Watercolor paper - Art Guilds

Watercolor Paper: Weight Or Gsm – Why it is so essential?

Many people confuse weight and thickness, thinking that these two terms are synonymous.
This is absolutely not the case: thickness expresses the actual size of the paper, while the weight corresponds to the value in grams per square meter of the paper, and its density.
For example Bible paper has a weight of 30 grams per square meter, photocopy paper reaches an average of 80 grams per square meter. For painting paper, on the other hand, it is difficult to fall below 150 grams per square meter.
The choice of weight is crucial for any type of technique, but it becomes a particularly important criterion when we talk about the watercolor paper. We are dealing with very wet colors, and with water that will tend to deform the sheet. According to your style and technique, you can choose albums with more or less high weights. Those who work at speed and with little water can use sheets of 200 grams.
Those who use more water will have to use weights equal to or more than 300 grams.

Watercolor Paper: Smooth Or Rough one?

Which watetcolor paper to choose between smooth and rough albums?
Again, the choice depends on how you will use that medium.
Smooth watercolor one is excellent for more technical work and, in any case, for more detailed drawings. When it comes to using a pen and pencil in the technical field, then, there is only one choice.
Rough watercolor type, on the other hand, is more artistic support, given the irregular structure of the support, which guarantees blurred effects.
Another to ask yourself to choose the right paper is related to the work detail and size.
If you make detailed paintings, the smooth one is preferable, while rough paper is perfect for larger paintings and drawings. All these, however, are general rules, which every artist can break and adapt to his or her own needs.

Watercolor paper - Art Guilds

Watercolor Paper: Painting Formats

Some artists love to paint in their studio, others love to immerse themselves in nature, and others keep everything they need to paint in their bags everywhere.
For each case, there is a different size required.
The choice starts with the classic painting album that usually contains 20 sheets.
They can be spiraled or glued on one side block. This last choice is well suited to travel sketches.
The choice of sizes is generally wide, both below and above the classic A4 format.
For those who have particularly large works in mind, the choice should fall on roll painting paper, which allows them to obtain the desired dimension from time to time.

A Special Case: The Choice Of Watercolor Paper

What distinguishes the types of watercolor paper?

Watercolor painting is, more than the other techniques, conditioned by the type chosen.
Acrylic colors, to give you an example, can be used with satisfaction on practically any type of support.
The watercolor technique, on the other hand, is harder. If you choose the wrong album, you should can put your work at risk – and this is especially true for beginners, who often find it difficult to dose the water correctly.
What distinguishes the types of watercolor paper is primarily the material used for their production. There are two main options: cotton, and cellulose paper. In between this two choices, there are mixed papers, made partly of cellulose and partly of cotton, which have the advantage of lowering the typically high price of 100% cotton sheet.
But why do all watercolorists want to use cotton paint sheets?
Simple: its characteristics are optimal for all wet techniques, especially watercolor.
100% cotton albums are characterized by neutral ph paper.
It has strong resistance to aging too.
Where pure cellulose support tends to yellow with time, the cotton paper does not. Water absorption is also calibrated and homogeneous, and color absorption is equally homogeneous, thanks to the typical gluing of these sheets.
Unlike low-quality watercolor onescotton and blended sheets deform only slightly when wet, and then return to their original shape after drying.

If you already started learning watercolor, you should find very useful this book review: “Yuko Nagayama: “You Can Paint Vibrant Watercolors In 12 Easy Lessons”

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Written by Dea_Callahan

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