Painting & drawing blog

WATERCOLOUR PAPERS COMPARISON

Watercolour papers

Whatever your budget, choosing the right watercolour paper can be a bit of a minefield! Even once you’ve worked out which criteria to look out for, paper manufacturers are not always forthcoming about their ingredients and methods. In this post I’ve assembled as much information as possible about well-known watercolour papers to help you to choose the best one for your work. This list focuses on papers which are readily available in the UK, but excludes some of the cheapest ‘student’ quality ranges. 

For each paper range I’ve noted whether the paper is made from cotton fibre or wood pulp fibre, what type of mould it is made on and what kind of sizing is applied to it. If you have any corrections please let me know! Vegetarians or vegans will want avoid gelatin sizing, whilst some artists prefer and will seek out a gelatin-sized paper because they prefer the way that it takes paint washes. You can read this post on watercolour paper to learn more about this.

ARCHES: AQUARELLE

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (gelatin)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

FABRIANO: ARTISTICO

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

ST CUTHBERTS MILL: SANDERS WATERFORD

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets or blocks

No Optical Brightening Agents

ST CUTHBERTS MILL: MILLFORD

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets or blocks

No Optical Brightening Agents

DALER-ROWNEY: LANGTON PRESTIGE

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

External sizing (gelatin)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

OBAs: no information provided

CANSON: MOULIN DU ROY

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

CANSON: HERITAGE L’AQUARELLE

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

External sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

WINSOR & NEWTON: PROFESSIONAL WATERCOLOUR PAPER

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (gelatin)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

LEGION: STONEHENGE AQUA

100% Cotton fibre paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets or blocks

No Optical Brightening Agents

FABRIANO: 5

50% Cotton fibre, 50% Wood pulp paper, cylindrical mould made

External sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

Optical Brightening Agents added

ST CUTHBERTS MILL: BOCKINGFORD

100% Wood pulp paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

ST CUTHBERTS MILL: BOTANICAL ULTRA SMOOTH

50% Cotton fibre, 50% Wood pulp paper, cylindrical mould made

External sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets or pads

Optical Brightening Agents added

FABRIANO: WATERCOLOUR STUDIO

25% Cotton fibre, 75% Wood pulp paper

Internal and external sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets or pads

OBAs: no information provided

WINSOR & NEWTON: CLASSIC WATERCOLOUR PAPER

100% Wood pulp paper, cylindrical mould made

Internal and external sizing (gelatin)

Available in loose sheets or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

DALER-ROWNEY: LANGTON

100% Wood pulp paper, cylindrical mould made

External sizing (not animal derived)

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

OBAs: no information provided

DALER-ROWNEY: AQUAFINE

100% Wood pulp paper, Fourdrinier machine made

Internal and external sizing, type not known

Available in loose sheets, blocks or pads

No Optical Brightening Agents

DALER-ROWNEY: SIMPLY WATERCOLOUR PAPER

100% Wood pulp paper, Fourdrinier machine made

Sizing: no information provided

Available in pads

OBAs: no information provided

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