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Best Watercolor Paper In 2023: The Very Best Paper For Your Art

The Canson XL Series watercolor pad stands out as the best watercolor paper for beginners with its heavy-weight papers and suitability to both dry and wet mediums. The Strathmore 400 and 300 series stand at 3rd and 4th places, respectively, due to their affordability and dual-sided texture.

Best Watercolor Paper

Starting to watercolor paint but have no idea about which watercolor paper to buy? Well, I don’t blame you because watercolor papers can be quite tricky to understand. No need to worry, though. Here is a list of the best watercolor papers you can find in 2023 to create beautiful watercolor art, whether en plein air or inside a cozy studio.

11 Best Watercolor Papers In 2023

1. Canson XL Series Watercolor Paper Pad - Best For Beginners

Canson XL Series Watercolor Pad, Heavyweight White Paper,...
  • Artists Love Canson XL! Trusted for decades by students,...
  • Heavyweight Cold Press Watercolor Paper: Each sheet provides...

The Canson XL watercolor paper pad is the best watercolor paper for students and beginners. For a watercolor paper pad, this watercolor paper is quite thick, having a paper weight of 300 GSM, or 140 pounds. Hence, this paper can withstand multiple washes and most watercolor techniques. 

This watercolor paper pad also has a unique fold-over feature, making it very convenient for students and beginners. The textured surface allows for all kinds of wet and dry mediums, including watercolor colored pencils, sharpie markers, graphite pencils, acrylics, watercolors, etc. 

Having a rating of 4.8 out of 5, with over 39,000 reviews on Amazon, this paper pad is an excellent option for student-grade watercolor paper. The only con I could find was that for a watercolor paper pad, it is slightly heavy due to the heavy-weight watercolor paper. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 30 sheets | Sheet Size: 9 x 12 inches

2. Canson Artist Series Watercolor Paper - Best Watercolor Paper Pad

Canson Artist Series Watercolor Paper, Wirebound Pad, 9x12...
  • Developed for Professional Artists — The Canson Artist...
  • Montval for Watercolor — Designed by the famous painter...

The Canson Artist Series watercolor paper features heavy-weight and cold-press watercolor paper pads. The paper works with all wet mediums and can withstand scraping, erasing, and repeated washes. 

The cold-pressed paper pad also comes with an innovative half-sheet filled with tips and techniques, which can also be reinserted into the pad and used as a bookmark. The papers are micro-perforated and true-size sheets. 

Buying this watercolor paper pad will give 20 sheets of 140 pounds/ 300 GSM weight, which are acid-free, and the paper size is 9 x 12 inches. 

However, this paper is basically student-grade and not professional-grade watercolor paper. It is made up of cellulose instead of 100% cotton. Hence, you might see some warping once you start using wet techniques on the paper. But this is a good cheap watercolor paper option you can buy if you are a beginner or for practice. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 20 sheets | Sheet Size: 9 x 12 inches

3. Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Journal - Best Value For Money

Sale
Strathmore 460-55 400 Series Visual Watercolor Journal, 140...
  • Heavyweight paper
  • Excellent for watercolor and collage

Renowned for its high-quality art materials, it comes as no surprise that this Strathmore watercolor journal is on this list. This is another heavy-weight watercolor paper that is a good option for watercolor painting and wet techniques. The sheets are cold-pressed watercolor paper, and the journal consists of 22 sheets wire-bound together. 

The papers can be used on both the front and back sides, you just need to let the first side dry once. The paper is thick enough for it to allow most wet techniques to be performed without any major warping or buckling of the paper. The texture of the paper is also pretty good, holding colors well and having minimum run-off. 

The affordability is what attracts beginners to this paper. You can easily use this if you are a beginner or require some cheap watercolor papers for practice. 

However, the one problem I found with this watercolor journal is its low absorbency. This leads to slow drying and low vibrancy at times. The papers are also not very durable, so you should just use them as student-grade watercolor papers. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 22 sheets | Sheet Size: 5.5 x 8 inches

4. Strathmore 300 Series Watercolor Paper Pad - Best For Multi-Media Painting 

Sale
Strathmore 300 Series Watercolor Paper Pad, Tape Bound,...
  • Strathmore-Watercolor Pad
  • A heavy-weight, cold press paper suited for watercolor...

Well, another Strathmore product for you. This Strathmore 300 series consists of 12 sheets of tape-bound cold-pressed watercolor paper. This high-quality watercolor paper is heavy-weight and ideal for beginners. 

The pages have a paper weight of 300 GSM, or 140 pounds, being decently thick. This means you can try multiple wet techniques of watercolor painting on this rough paper without any possibility of warping or buckling. 

The texture of this cold-pressed paper is also very good, maintaining the vibrancy of the colors used as well as having minimum spillage. This makes this watercolor paper pad an excellent option for mixed-media painting and art journaling. 

Apart from watercolor paints, you can also use tempera, acrylics, gouache, and poster paints on this paper. Additionally, the back side of the rough cold press paper is smooth, making it perfect for detailed and fine paintings. Moreover, the acid-free papers ensure the longevity of your work. 

However, this one has the same problem as the previous Strathmore watercolor paper series: low absorbency. This makes the paper less durable and unsuitable for professional work. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 12 | Sheet Size: 11 x 15 inches 

5. Strathmore 483-7 Softcover Watercolor Journal - Best For Artists 

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Strathmore 483-7 Softcover Watercolor Art Journal, 7.75" x...
  • Intermediate level paper for watercolorists of all levels.
  • Natural white color and cold press surface make it ideal for...

This Strathmore watercolor journal is an intermediate level paper for all watercolor artists, which is reflected in the price of the journal. The cold-press watercolor paper has a strong white color with a rough surface ideal for lifting and scraping applications and even washes. 

The cover of this journal has a soft, velvety texture and a rich brown color. The pages are durable, and the Smyth-sewn binding helps the pages lay flatter. Additionally, the paper is pretty thick, having a paper weight of 300 GSM, or 140 pounds. 

The one problem you could expect is having some delivery issues. Other than that, this is a pretty good option for watercolor painting. Additionally, the size of the journal is also small and light enough to be carried on the go. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 24 sheets | Sheet Size: 7.75 x 9.75 inches

6. U.S. Art Supply Watercolor Paper Pad - Best For Student-Quality Watercolor Paper

U.S. Art Supply 9" x 12" Premium Heavyweight Watercolor...
  • 2 Pack of 9" x 12" Professional Heavyweight Watercolor Pads....
  • Watercolor pads have thick, heavyweight, 140 lb, 300 gsm,...

The U.S. Art Supply watercolor papers are another beginner-friendly watercolor paper set. The papers are cold-press, acid-free, and heavy-weight. The cold-press textured surface makes the sheets ideal for various watercolor painting techniques. 

These papers are versatile and have a neutral pH, making them suitable for wet, dry, and mixed-media painting. The thick pages can withstand multiple layered washes with no bleed-through. Additionally, apart from watercolors, you can use acrylic paints, colored pencils, pens, markers, charcoal, and pastels on this paper without any bleeding. 

For me, this paper pad can be regarded as a student-quality paper. That is why it is also quite affordable. So, I recommend this cold-pressed watercolor paper for practicing your watercolor paintings before you move on to more expensive watercolor paper. 

You will also find that the paper tends to become bumpy after using wet-on-wet techniques. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 24 sheets (12 sheets x 2 pads) | Sheet Size: 9 x 12 inches

7. Artisto Watercolor Paper Pad - Best Travel-Friendly Option

Sale
Artisto Watercolor Pads 5.5x8.5”, Pack of 3 (90 Sheets),...
  • High-Quality Paper: Having been proven and tested, our...
  • Each sheet measures 5.5x8.5 inches, Acid-Free (pH Neutral)...

The Artisto watercolor paper kit consists of 30 sheets per pad, available in an affordable package of 3 pads. This cold-pressed watercolor paper pad is acid-free and has a neutral pH, working brilliantly with both wet and dry mediums. 

The pages are spiral-bound, meaning they lay flat and are easy to turn. Additionally, every page is micro-perforated, meaning you can easily remove that page without affecting your watercolor painting or the other pages. 

Being so affordable, this watercolor paper set is perfect for beginners and practice. The size of the journal is also perfect for travel, being very pocket-friendly. 

However, the absorbency of these papers is not very good, with the texture being slightly off. This causes the watercolors to lose their vibrancy. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 90 sheets (30 sheets x 3 pads) | Sheet Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

8. U.S. Art Supply Watercolor Book - Best Hard-Cover

U.S. Art Supply 8.5" x 8.5" Watercolor Book, 2 Pack, 76...
  • Pack of 2 premium 8.5" x 8.5" square natural linen-bound...
  • A total of 152 premium quality watercolor, drawing, and...

This is an affordable pack of 2 U.S. Art Supply watercolor books, each having 76 sheets. All 152 watercolor papers are reasonably heavy-weight, having a rough cold-press paper texture. All the watercolor sheets are acid-free and are of a nice white color. 

They absorb the watercolors really well, are good for blending, and cause no bleed-through. The rough texture of the cold-pressed paper makes it ideal for various watercolor painting techniques. 

This book is also an excellent option for a travel art-book because of its durable and sturdy linen-bound hardcovers. The included elastic band will make it easy for you to bookmark your favorite pages as well as keep your book closed. 

Since the paper weight of this book is 230 GSM or 110 pounds, the pages have a smooth surface in comparison to the other options on this list. 

However, I did find that the paper tends to wrinkle or buckle a little if you apply a watery layer on top of it. Apart from that, this is a good option for a student-grade watercolor paper. 

Paper Weight: 230 GSM | Sheet Count: 152 sheets (76 sheets x 2 books) | Sheet Size: 8.5 x 8.5 inches

9. Leather Village Watercolor Paper Sheets - Best Light-Weight Paper Option 

Watercolor Paper- 8 X 6 inches - Mixed Media Watercolor...
  • CONVINIENT LOOSE VINTAGE DECKLE EDGE PAPER : Sketch paper...
  • THICK 150 GSM HANDMADE ACID FREE PAPER : Add a vintage touch...

The Leather Village watercolor sheet pack is a set of 50 loose watercolor paper sheets suitable for sketching as well as watercolor painting. The beautiful hand-deckled edges of this set will give your watercolor paintings a slightly vintage look. 

Made from 100% virgin cotton, the sheets are acid-free and show minimal bleed-through to the other side. Additionally, you can use both dry and wet mediums on this paper, including watercolor paints, acrylic paints, gouache, colored pencils, sharpie markers, etc. 

The creamy color of this paper, coupled with the deckled edges, will give a nice, antique look to your paintings. All of this makes this set an excellent option as a watercolor paper for beginners. 

However, the watercolor paper weight is only 200 GSM, meaning you might see some warping and buckling after you use watercolors on the paper. 

Paper Weight: 200 GSM | Sheet Count: 50 | Sheet Size: 8 x 6 inches

10. GenCrafts Watercolor Paper Pad - Best For Dual-Textured Sides

GenCrafts 100% Cotton Watercolor Paper Pad - A4 8.3x11.7" -...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Heavyweight cold pressed watercolor paper...
  • DUAL-SIDED: Each thick sheet of paper comes with a smooth...

The GenCrafts watercolor paper pad consists of 20 heavy-weight watercolor papers, all having a thickness of 300 GSM. Each thick sheet has a cold-pressed paper rough side and a smooth surface on the other side. The rough watercolor paper side is perfect for blending and watercolor techniques. The very smooth surface, on the other hand, is perfect for creating detailed drawings using watercolor paints. 

The natural white sheets have the standard A4 size and are bound by glue on one side. Hence, you can easily remove a page after your painting has been completed. The 100% acid-free paper allows for the usage of both wet and dry mediums. 

Being 100% cotton paper, it absorbs the watercolors well and makes blending and mixing pretty easy. However, the paper did tend to warp or buckle after applying washes on it. 

All in all, this is a good choice for student-grade watercolor paper. 

Paper Weight: 300 GSM | Sheet Count: 20 sheets | Sheet Size: 8.3 x 11.7 inches

11. Tavolozza Watercolor Sketchbook - Best Watercolor Sketchbook

TAVOLOZZA 8.5" x 8.5" Watercolor Sketchbook, Pack of 2 (80...
  • Value 2 Pack - Premium 8.5" x 8.5" square natural...
  • Dual-Sided - Each sheet of this watercolor pad set features...

The Tavolozza watercolor sketchbook has an ultra-durable hard cover, coupled with an elastic closure and a ribbon, making it an extremely good option for a travel art book. The size is also pretty pocket-friendly, standing at 8.8 x 8.5 inches. 

The pages have a paper weight of 230 GSM, or 110 pounds, with each page being dual-sided. The front side has a smooth surface and fine texture, which is suitable for various dry mediums, like sketching and colored pencils. The back side, on the other hand, has a cold-pressed rough texture, making it ideal for water absorption and wet mediums. 

An ideal gift for artists, you can use many different mediums on these pages, including pastels, ink, watercolors, acrylics, etc. All this makes it perfect for beginner to intermediate artists. 

However, as you might have expected after seeing the paper’s weight, it does tend to buckle after the application of watercolors. 

Paper Weight: 230 GSM | Sheet Count: 80 sheets (40 sheets x 2 sketchbooks) | Sheet Size: 8.5 x 8.5 inches

Quick Comparing Of Watercolor Papers

Top Watercolor PapersPaper WeightSheet CountSheet Size
Canson XL Series Watercolor Paper Pad300 GSM30 sheets9 x 12 inches
Canson Artist Series Watercolor Paper300 GSM20 sheets9 x 12 inches
Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Journal300 GSM22 sheets5.5 x 8 inches
Strathmore 300 Series Watercolor Paper Pad300 GSM12 sheets11 x 15 inches
Strathmore 483-7 Softcover Watercolor Journal300 GSM24 sheets7.75 x 9.75 inches
U.S. Art Supply Watercolor Paper Pad300 GSM24 sheets (12 sheets x 2 pads)9 x 12 inches
Artisto Watercolor Paper Pad300 GSM90 sheets (30 sheets x 3 pads)5.5 x 8.5 inches
U.S. Art Supply Watercolor Book230 GSM152 sheets (76 sheets x 2 books)8.5 x 8.5 inches
Leather Village Watercolor Paper Sheets200 GSM50 sheets8 x 6 inches
GenCrafts Watercolor Paper Pad300 GSM20 sheets8.3 x 11.7 inches
Tavolozza Watercolor Sketchbook230 GSM80 sheets (40 sheets x 2 sketchbooks)8.5 x 8.5 inches

Buying Guide For Buying Quality Watercolor Papers

Watercolor papers are specifically designed for watercolor painting, having the right water absorbency levels and the right texture. However, anyone dipping their toes into the world of watercolor painting might not have any idea about choosing the right watercolor paper. If you are one of those people, don’t worry! 

I bring for you this handy watercolor paper guide, which will help you figure out what pointers to look out for when buying watercolor papers. I am sure this will help you make the right decision and unleash your artistic skills on some deserving watercolor paper. 

1. Paper Grade/ Paper Quality

As you might have figured out after reading the product reviews of each brand, you can find two types of paper quality in the world of watercolor papers: student-grade and professional-grade watercolor paper, the latter also known as artist-grade watercolor paper. 

Artist-quality watercolor papers are made from 100% cotton fiber, are entirely acid-free, and remain durable for a long time. This is why artist-quality paper is also known as archival-quality paper. The acid-free nature helps these papers not to become yellow and brittle over time. Additionally, these papers are heavy-weight and don’t warp or buckle after the usage of watercolors.  

Student-grade watercolor papers, on the other hand, are more beginner-friendly, containing cellulose fiber. They are made with new painters in mind. They are not very durable; the colors tend to fade after a while. You will also see a lot of warping and buckling with these papers. No prizes for the person who guesses which one is cheaper. 

The paper quality you go for should depend on your artistic experience, skill, and, to a certain extent, the cost. In case you want to sell or gift your paintings, or you are a professional artist, you obviously should go for artist-quality watercolor paper. In case you are a beginner with a preference for cheap watercolor paper for practice and learning, student-grade paper is your best bet. 

2. Texture Of The Watercolor Paper: Hot-Press Paper, Cold-Press Paper, And Rough Paper

You can generally find three kinds of textures when it comes to buying watercolor papers: hot-press watercolor paper, cold-pressed watercolor paper, and rough paper. All watercolor paper manufacturers produce their papers differently, so there is no standard finish you can find. However, these are the three broad categories you can look for. 

Hot-press watercolor paper has the smoothest surface among the three types. It is not a popular option for watercolor painting, however. You might have noticed that there aren’t any hot-press paper options on this list. This is because the smooth surface tends to be too slippery for the watercolor pigment. Although, you can choose this smooth yet hard paper for a fine stroke. 

Cold-press watercolor paper is the most preferred for watercolor paintings. The more textured surface of this paper has just the right amount of tooth, making it suitable for almost all watercolor techniques. You can even use oil-based paints on cold-press paper. 

Last but not least comes the rough paper. As apparent from the name, this watercolor paper is the roughest out of all the three types. Its extremely toothy surface supports all kinds of watercolor techniques. However, you won’t be able to create detailed paintings on this rough paper. 

3. Watercolor Paper Weight

The weight of watercolor paper generally refers to the thickness of the paper. You can buy lightweight or heavy-weight watercolor papers depending on your needs and painting habits. 

Light-weight watercolor paper generally has a paperweight between 150 to 250 GSM (gram per square meter). You can buy this watercolor paper if you like to paint while traveling or if you like to take your art supplies with you wherever you go.  But these are the best for dry mediums, like drawing with a colored pencil or pen and light washes. Anything more than a thin layer of watercolor paint will cause the paper to warp or buckle. 

Heavy-weight paper, on the other hand, is more suited to heavier washes. The highest quality watercolor paper has a paper weight of at least 300 GSM. They don’t require any stretching to prevent warping or buckling. Moreover, they have a high water absorbency level, meaning the watercolors dry really quickly. 

While buying watercolor paper, you will see that heavy-weight watercolor paper is generally more expensive than light watercolor paper. So, if you are a beginner or just need some watercolor paper for practice or swatches, you can go for cheaper, lighter-weight paper. However, if you want the best watercolor paper for your watercolor art, go for heavy-weight papers since only those can withstand the fluid nature of watercolors. 

4. Watercolor Paper Substance

Various substances go into making watercolor paper. And yes, that does affect the look of your watercolor art. Common knowledge is that watercolor paper is made out of a mixture of water and cellulose, which comes from plants. 

However, artist-grade watercolor paper is made from cellulose fibers which are 100% cotton. This means these sheets can withstand a lot of water and do not warp, tear or buckle even after receiving multiple washes. With this cotton paper, you get both strength and flexibility. Furthermore, this paper is also known as ‘rag paper,’ and it is obviously quite expensive. This paper can support all kinds of watercolor techniques. 

Watercolor paper can also be made using wood pulp or a combination of cotton and other fibers. Student-quality papers are generally made using wood pulp. This affects the final painting, and these papers are certainly not permanent. Too much scraping or heavy washes might also cause tearing or deterioration of the paper. 

So, the substance you choose for your watercolor paper should, again, depend on your painting skills and habits. Professionals and artists should go for the best watercolor paper made up of 100% cotton. Beginners and students can go for the cheaper variation.

5. Format

Watercolor paper is available in many different formats, like watercolor pads, watercolor blocks, watercolor boards, watercolor canvas, watercolor paper rolls, and loose sheets. Each form is convenient in different ways. Let us talk about each of these in-depth so that you can make the best choice for your paintings. 

Watercolor loose sheets are available in packs, or you can buy them individually. These papers usually have a thickness of less than 300 GSM, meaning the paper might tend to warp or buckle a lot. So, you will have to stretch the paper before you start painting. This can be quite annoying if you are a regular painter. 

Talking about annoying stretching, a watercolor block contains papers that are pre-stretched and glued down on all four sides. Additionally, the paper is also reasonably thick. So, they are a good option if you don’t want any warping or buckling in your painting. They can, however, be more expensive. Also, keep in mind that removing each paper might be difficult due to the strong glue used. 

You can also get watercolor boards, which consist of watercolor paper being glued down on a board. Obviously, a watercolor paper board does not require any stretching, either. Just keep in mind the quality of the paper you are getting along with the watercolor board. 

Lastly, a watercolor pad supports plein air or outdoor painting. They are travel-friendly, meaning you can easily carry them wherever you want and paint on the get-go! Watercolor pads usually consist of student-grade watercolor papers, which are lightweight. This means they might require some stretching before you start painting. Removing pages is easy since pads are usually perforated or tape-bound on one side. 

6. Paper Manufacturing Method

There are generally three methods of watercolor papermaking: the hand-made method, the mold-made method, and the machine-made method. Each method produces a different kind of paper with different textures and quality. 

Generally, hand-made and mold-made papers are considered to be the best for watercolors. Often stated as archival paper or professional-grade watercolor paper, these two methods are preferred the most for watercolor papers. Their irregular texture makes them a favorite of many artists. Unfortunately, this also means that hand-made and mold-made papers are costlier. 

Machine-made watercolor paper, on the other hand, is a cheaper alternative. They tend to show a lot of warping or buckling upon the application of a wet wash. Hence, students and beginners can buy this paper for practice, while professionals can use this paper for rough paintings and swatches. 

7. Watercolor Paper Tint

You will notice that your watercolor paper has a slight tint or a bit of color to it. This tint can be whitish or creamy. This helps give your transparent washes a glowing look. You can also go for papers with no tint if that is what you prefer. 

You can also opt for differently tinted and colored watercolor papers to create innovative paintings. The different shades and tints will help give your paintings creative effects and definitive moods. 

Additionally, there is a watercolor brush technique involving leaving some white space while painting. Obviously, the tint of your paper will greatly affect the look of your white space and, subsequently, your painting. 

FAQs Related To Watercolor Papers

  • What makes watercolor paper different from other papers?

    Watercolor paper is manufactured specifically with watercolor paints in mind. It is generally thicker than other types of paper, having a standard thickness of 300 GSM or 140 pounds. This weight enables the paper to withstand multiple wet washes and not bleed through to the other side. 

    Watercolor paper also has a high concentration of cotton fibers in its composition compared to other types of paper. This is to increase the rate of water absorbency and reduce the warping or buckling of the paper. 

    Lastly, watercolor paper tends to have a more rough texture compared to other types of paper. Notice this the next time you use watercolor paper. Feel the bumps and the rough texture? This is also referred to as the ‘tooth’ of the paper. The rough texture helps the watercolors to absorb into the paper, reduces drying time, and allows multiple watercolor techniques. 

    Additionally, you can use other types of paints, like acrylic paint, oil paint, gouache, etc. You can also use various painting tools on watercolor paper, like a palette knife, a sponge, a pencil, etc. 

  • Which is better: cold-press or hot-press watercolor paper?

    Both cold-pressed and hot-pressed paper are suitable for different techniques and styles. The cold-press paper has a more rough texture and is more suitable for wet-on-wet techniques, wet-on-dry techniques, and many other watercolor techniques. The characteristic watercolor effect shows up the best on this rough surface. 

    Hot press paper, on the other hand, is more suitable for including fine detail in your paintings. The smooth surface allows for detailed drawings. 

    So, neither is necessarily better than the other. I suggest you experiment with both these papers before you make up your mind about which one is more suitable for your painting needs. 

  • Which side of the watercolor paper should I use?

    Technically, you can use both sides of the watercolor paper. Most watercolor papers are tagged as being dual-sided, meaning you can use both sides to create unique paintings. However, the texture of the two sides can be quite different. 

    The two surfaces of the watercolor paper are typically referred to as the ‘felt side’ and ‘wire side,’ which are a result of the manufacturing procedure. A hand-held mold with a wire mesh is used to create hand-made watercolor paper sheets. The pulp layer is dried by being sandwiched between felt sheets. This is actually what leads to the rough texture of both cold-press and rough paper. 

    I recommend experimenting with both sides to figure out which one works best for your painting style. 

  • What is the ideal thickness for watercolor paper?

    The ideal thickness of your watercolor paper generally depends on your painting skills, painting style, and your budget. If you want to purchase some watercolor paper for practice or you are a beginner looking for some beginner-friendly watercolor paper, you should go for light-weight watercolor paper. 

    The answer is the same for people looking for cheap watercolor paper. Light-weight watercolor paper has a weight between 150 – 250 GSM. 

    However, if you are serious about your watercolor skills or you are a professional, you need to get a heavy-weight watercolor paper for the best results. Don’t buy anything less than 300 GSM to prevent warping or buckling. 

  • How do I prevent the watercolor paper from warping?

    The best way to prevent watercolor from warping is to get paper having a weight of at least 300 GSM. This way, the high absorbency level, as well as the thickness, will not cause any buckling or warping. 

    But there are other ways you can reduce warping. One way is to stretch your watercolor paper. Do this by taping down your paper to a rigid board using some masking tape and soaking it in water. Leave the entire thing to dry completely. However, be careful with this method because it might weaken the paper. 

    If you see some buckling in your paper after painting, you can reduce that too. Place the watercolor paper painting side down on a clean and dry surface. Lightly mist the back side of the paper with some water. After that, place a heavy object on the paper and leave it overnight. This will significantly reduce buckling. 

  • How do I care for my watercolor paper?

    As you might know, watercolors don’t have a high lightfastness rating; meaning they tend to fade after a few years. You can delay this by framing your finished painting in a glass frame. Keep the framed painting away from direct sunlight and UV radiations. This way, your painting will last a long time. 

  • Verdict

    Since your watercolors deserve the best watercolor paper, here is the final verdict. The best beginner-friendly option is the Canson XL watercolor pad, with its convenience and heavy-weight papers. Along with the fold-over feature and the suitability to both dry and wet mediums, this is the best watercolor paper for beginners. 

    Coming right behind is the Strathmore 400 series watercolor journal, which is another student-friendly option. Being one of the most affordable options on this list, you also get dual-sided texture with this journal. Another similar option is the Strathmore 300 series journal, with its affordable price and good quality. 

    Well, we have come to the end of this article. If you still have any doubts, I insist on going through the buyer’s guide again to get satisfactory answers. Have fun painting! 

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