What is Watercolor Paper?

Watercolor paper is a type of artist’s paper made specifically for use with watercolors. It’s usually given a special treatment to make it less absorbent so that the paint doesn’t bleed and muddle on the paper. This paper is available in a variety of grades and styles, and most artists try out a few different types before settling on one that they like.

Many art supply stores, as well as online retailers, carry this type of paper. When working with watercolor paper for the first time, it’s a good idea to go into a store and pick some up to feel the different textures. Once you’ve found a type that works for you, use your favorite search engine to see if you can find it for less money.

There are three main factors that influence the appearance and feel of watercolor paper. The first is how the paper is treated, the second is how the paper is processed after it is manufactured, and the third is the weight of the paper. When choosing paper, all three of these factors should be taken into account. Furthermore, artists should be aware that this product is available in both loose and bound formats, as well as various sizes. The paper can also be purchased as a watercolor block, which is glued on all four sides and functions as a portable clipboard full of paper.

The fibers of most watercolor paper are coated with gelatin, which prevents them from absorbing water as readily. The paper tends to be of higher quality when the gelatin is mixed in with the fibers before it is made. Other manufacturers apply a coating after the paper has been scratched or gouged, which can be problematic if an artist scratches or gouges the paper.

Many businesses still use paper screens to hand form watercolor paper. Deckled edges are created along the edges of the paper when it is pulled out of the screen. These edges are soft and wavy, and they are preferred some artists because they do not affect the paper’s quality. Deckled edges can be dyed to contrast with the piece or to be more ornamental with a light hand.

After the paper has been removed from the screens, it can be cut and packaged as is for sale, resulting in “rough” watercolor paper. Paint and pigment can pool in the pits and grooves, resulting in a rougher finished piece. It can be further processed rolling the fibers to relax and smooth them. Cold pressed paper is rolled with cold rollers, whereas hot pressed paper, which is the smoothest, is rolled with hot rollers.

If you use well-labeled watercolor paper, you’ll be able to tell which processing technique was used, if any. The label will also include information about the paper’s weight. The combined weight of 500 sheets of standardized paper determines the weight. Heavier paper is less likely to curl and warp, though it will need to be stretched before use if it contains a lot of rag. The paper is moistened and fastened to a dry board to stretch watercolor paper, which is pre-treated so that it does not shrink when painted.