Painting & drawing blog

WATERCOLOUR PAPERS COMPARISON

Whatever your budget, choosing the right watercolour paper can be a bit of a minefield! Even once you’ve worked out which qualities are important to you it can be hard to identify which brands conform to them as paper manufacturers are not always forthcoming about their ingredients and methods. This is particularly true of the budget ‘student’ ranges, and less so of ranges made by the famous specialist paper mills. In this post I’ve assembled as much information as possible on the well-known papers  to help you to choose the best one for you.

Watercolour papers

I’ve noted whether or nota paper is known to use a gelatin size or non-animal based one (this may be starch or a polyvinyl acrylic) not only because vegetarians or vegans may wish to avoid gelatin but also because – conversely – some artists prefer and seek out a gelatin-sized paper. If you have any corrections please let me know! For explanations of the different criteria and how they might affect your painting, see this post on watercolour paper.

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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