Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Watercolour Surfaces - taking the rough with the smooth

With such a large range of materials available to the budding artist it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start.  There is a huge choice of surfaces on offer and the artist will usually settle on a brand after some experimentation.  Here we look at the types of paper available for painting with watercolours.

Langton Watercolour pads from Daler Rowney

The paper is normally made from 100% cotton and is acid free, the Langton paper above is a combination of cotton and wood pulp. 

The thickness or paper weight is described in lbs or gsm (grams per square metre) and weights range from 90lb (190gsm) up to 300lb (638gsm).  The lighter weight papers typically need to be stretched prior to use to prevent buckling or warping when the paint is applied.

There are 3 finishes for watercolour paper and board. 

Rough surface of watercolour paper
'Rough' has a textured surface with a prominent tooth.  The pools of watercolour collect in the indentations to create a grainy effect. 

Cold-pressed (NOT) surface of watercolour paper
'Cold-pressed' (or NOT) has a less textured surface and is the most popular surface for watercolour artists. 

Hot-pressed surface of watercolour paper
'Hot-pressed' watercolour paper has a smooth surface with a fine grain, it is good for applying washes as the paint dries quickly and evenly.  The paper is suitable for watercolour, print making and fine detail illustration.

If you would like to view the range of watercolour papers and board, please visit the George Weil website.