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Watercolour | Importance of Paper Choices

The choice of paper when using watercolour is very important; we examine 6 papers here, using the same colour on each: Hookers Green. We paint washes and linear marks on the papers to show the varying effects. First, copier paper. This paper absorbs water straight into the surface so it wrinkles (or cockles) quickly and will tear easily. Cartridge paper is stronger, but still very absorbent, also streaking and cockling. Bristol board doesn’t absorb the paint at all, it sits on the surface which makes it a poor choice. When using paper for watercolour, such as 300 g cold-pressed watercolour paper, the paint takes longer to dry so you can use it longer and create a wash. It is strong enough to support multiple layers of paint and water, as is 300 g hot-pressed watercolour paper. Hot-pressed paper is smooth, making it good for even brush strokes and fine detail. Finally, rough texture watercolour paper is good for texture and granulation effects and holds up to water and pigment well. As you can see, the choice of paper is a critical early step to using watercolour paint.