Watercolour paper is a basic material. Along with the brushes and the colours, they are a fundamental element to be able to work with this technique. And, while in other pictorial styles we can use other types of support, watercolour can only be painted on paper. For this reason, today we approach the different types of watercolour paper.

Watercolour paper: main features

One of the essential points of the watercolor paper is the grammage. With this, we refer to the weight of the paper, which is calculated in density per square meter. In addition, it is important the the degree of absorption, because we work with water. For this we must look at the grain, which is what determines its smoothness. A fine grain will allow us to paint more diffuse and longer, while the thicker will be more rough. Typically, 250gr and medium grain paper the most commonly used.

On the other hand, there is the paper size. The most used watercolour blocks are the A4. Each page is glued to the others by the sides, being necessary a cutter to separate them. This system allows the watercolour paper to be tightened, preventing it from wrinkling. In addition, it is a very practical way to paint since the own pad makes us stable support.

Watercolour paper for illustrators and artists

Types of watercolour paper

In the market you can find three types of watercolor paper:

  • Handmade paper: Undoubtedly the highest quality and beauty. They are handmade, page by page, and are usually sold one by one. This implies an extra cost compared to the other options, being recommended only for special work.
  • Brand Papers: An alternative to traditional handmade paper, but with a more competitive price. They are usually made by paper mills that produce watercolour products with different thicknesses and sizes. The advantage is that its characteristics are kept in the same series. They are usually sold by units or by blocks.
  • Blocs for watercolors: It is one of the most comfortable and recommended. They are ideal for classes or trips as they are easy to transport. In addition, they are sold in different sizes.

Comparative paper for hand watercolours

The grain of paper: what you must know

Thin-grained paper:

Generally, fine-grained paper is not very used in watercolour. Even so, it is usually used for works that require a very high detail level. We can draw each brushstroke without obstacles, being able to work with great ease.

We should not confuse the paper grain (texture) with the weight (paper weight). Too fine paper would ruin our work easily.

Medium grain paper:

The most used. It allows us to cover all types of projects, from those that require great detail to those of general lines. Most watercolor paper pads use this type of grain and are the most recommended for artists, regardless of their degree of experience.

So, this option remains the most versatile.

Coarse-grained paper:

In this case, it is a paper with a very marked texture. In fact, passing the hand over we can quickly detect the relief of the furrows. They are elaborated with lifter weights, which facilitates a great absorption of water. On the contrary, they are usually manufactured almost artisanal, which greatly increases the price. This explains that it is usually reserved this type of paper for special occasions.

Watercolour paintings and paper types