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How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper

If you were new to watercolor painting then you’d probably wondering what’s the right watercolor paper to use. There are different types of painting surface depends on the painting medium. With watercolor, there is a specific watercolor paper to use. Using the right watercolor paper is beneficial for an artist especially with watercolors. The right watercolor paper will absorb water from the paints without buckling out while painting.

How do you know if it’s the right watercolor paper for this medium? Is there a specific weight for a watercolor paper to use? Can you use a regular canvas for watercolor painting? Do you need to prepare your watercolor painting surface before painting?

How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper For Your Painting Session

How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper
How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper

Choosing the right watercolor paper for your painting sessions can be a dilemma. If you are a beginner with watercolor painting then you’d probably wondering what’s the right watercolor paper to use. Watercolor is a very easy and versatile medium, especially for beginners. Though you can use an ordinary paper for watercolor painting, it is best to always use the required paper. Watercolor paper specially designed to absorb enough water on your painting canvas. The paper also absorbs the water and prevent the surface from buckling out while painting.

The traditional watercolor paper that is used by most artists is the cold pressed one. There are three different types of watercolor paper to choose from. This range from hot press cold-pressed and the rough one. The most watercolor paper where weigh to achieve the artists desired effect for every painting session.

If you will be going on an art store you’d probably notice that there’s a lot of watercolor paper to choose from. There are four options of watercolor paper to choose from. You can start off using a single sheet of paper. Getting a block one is an option of well. There is a pad of paper the truth and the last one is the rolled one. All of these forms cater to the artist needs for watercolor painting.

Knowing that there are different forms of watercolor paper to choose from makes it easier for you to decide. All of this is produced to check which is the right watercolor paper for artists that suits their needs.

How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper
How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper

Once you are more experience with watercolor and understand the different forms, Then you can start buying in bulk or rolled ones.

The Best Watercolor Paper To Use

If you are looking for a quality watercolor paper then you can get the artist grade type. However, If you will be thinking of your budget then you can start off with the student grade paper. Just like in paints, artist grade quality paper is better than student grade. Especially with the absorption level of water in them.

Since you know that there are three types of watercolor paper, the rough cold, and hot press. Rough and cold press is commonly used by a watercolor artist. Because of the textured feel that they have makes them an artist choice. The rough and cold pressed paper has high absorbency level of water. On the other hand, hot press watercolor paper are usually smooth in texture.

Regular Canvas Over Watercolor Painting

Choosing the right watercolor paper depends on artist preference and needs. If you are using your regular canvas for acrylic and oil painting then there is proper preparation to do before using them with your watercolor paints. The transition from one painting medium to another means understanding the painting medium itself.

Using your regular canvas for your watercolor painting means you have to prepare it first. You have to prime it with gesso. As a regular canvas, it’s not that absorbent and watercolors may just slide over the painting surface. It is required to prime it twice for superior absorbency level. After your gesso is dried you can apply thin layers of ground on the dried gesso surface. The reason why most artists used thin layers is to prevent the ground from getting crack. The secret is the more ground layer you applied, the absorbent the surface will be. Just make sure that the first layer is dried before adding another one. Once the ground is completely dried, then you can start watercolor painting!

How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper
How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper

Once you are done with your watercolor painting, you can protect your painting with a spray varnish. That way, you can make your painting surface waterproof. This is to prevent any dust or possible damage that can happen to the painting. The varnish will do the job and protect your paintings.

Preparation Of Canvas Before Watercolor Painting

Knowing the right watercolor paper will do the job properly and make painting easier.

If you are using watercolor canvas then you don’t need to prepare it. You can directly pain over it just like watercolor paper.

If you will be using watercolor canvas for the first time then you will notice some differences. Watercolor canvas is very forgiving and the water absorbency level is high. Not like watercolor paper, canvas tends to be wet for longer than what you are used to.

Watercolor canvas is the right watercolor painting surface for an artist who likes using wet techniques. It is because it allows the artist to use more water and absorbs it properly. Lifting colors is better done with watercolor canvas than with paper. The watercolor canvas allows the artist to fix any mistake too. That also depends on the chosen color by the artist. The number of colors used for a certain area that needs to be correct or fix.

How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper
How To Choose The Right Watercolor Paper

Another advantage of the watercolor canvas is you can hang your canvas painting once you are done.

There are three different forms of watercolor canvas to choose from. You can get a canvas on board, on pads and even stretch canvas that suits you best. They are the new innovation for the creative art world.

Remember that if you will be using a ready-made watercolor canvas, it is best to prepare it first. Especially if that canvas is for acrylics or oil painting. Even if it is primed with gesso, better be on the safe side. That way, the painting will be as smooth as you deserve it.

But if you are a beginner for watercolor painting medium, you can start off using the right watercolor paper first. Then transitioning yourself to watercolor canvas will be the next level. That way you can see the difference between using watercolor paper and watercolor canvas. Most watercolor artists use spray varnish once their painting is done. Especially if they are using watercolor canvas. Remember that everything that was made for painting is not made to ruin anything. It is by proper precaution in handling that you attain the most of a certain product. You can try an experiment first with different painting materials to see for yourself which one works best for you.

Choosing the right watercolor paper for you is the first thing to check so that your painting experience will be fun and enjoyable. Don’t limit yourself with one material only. Be exposed to different types and different kinds of material for your painting medium.

No matter what type, brand or kind of watercolor paper you use as long as you’re comfortable with it that’s all that matters. Ignite that creative side on you with the right materials. Experiment more so that you can learn new techniques and be a master of your painting medium in your time. Remember that those experienced painters were once beginners like you. It is by perseverance and patience that they gained knowledge with the painting medium that they have chosen.


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