Watercolor paper comes in all kinds of different textures, sizes and weights.
Watercolor painting is a really fun and creative way to make art. Did you know that the type of paper you use can make a big difference in how your painting turns out? In this article, we'll explore five fantastic reasons why using 100% cotton watercolor paper is a smart choice for your next art project.
My watercolor paper journey.
There are so many paper brands out there, it's hard to decide what fits you best. Cold pressed, Rough or Smooth, cheap or expensive. And does the prize really make a difference?
Yes and No. In general, 100% cotton paper is more expensive than wood pulp cellulose paper. But between the two, there is still a significant price range depending on the brand.
I have owned many different kinds of watercolor paper. When I started out, I went for cellulose. ( Always 300 g/m2 or 140lb ) It was more affordable, and I could buy them in a big pack. As I was learning to paint with watercolours, I found myself frustrated. It just didn't apply as beautiful as the paintings I saw on tutorials. Paper started pilling, layering was terrible, wet-on-wet didn't flow, and worst of all, the paper buckled really bad.
So I bought another brand, and another brand. Slowly, it went better. As I got better. But it still didn't feel good enough. Until I finally took the leap. I got some extra birthday money and bought my very first 100% cotton watercolor paper.
1 | Soaks up Water Beautifully:
One of the most significant advantages of 100% cotton watercolor paper is its excellent ability to soak up water. The cotton fibers naturally absorb water, allowing the pigments to spread beautifully on the surface. This ensures vibrant colors and effortless blending. Additionally, the paper's water-holding capacity prevents unwanted warping, providing a stable surface for your artwork.
2 | Durable and Strong
Have you ever has pieces of paper peeling while you're painting? Those tiny paper pieces that get stuck in your brush and ruin your art piece? With 100% cotton watercolor paper, you don't have to worry about that. It's super tough and can handle lots of painting without falling apart. The long cotton fibers make it extra strong, so your artwork will stay in one piece for a long time.
3 | Preserves Your Art's Beauty
Have you ever seen paper turn yellow or get damaged over time? Preserving your artwork's longevity is crucial, especially if you want to display or sell your pieces. Cotton watercolor paper boasts a timeless quality. It is acid-free and pH-neutral, meaning it won't yellow or degrade over time.Your artwork will maintain its original vibrancy for generations. This archival characteristic makes it a reliable choice for long-lasting, high-quality results.
4 | Works with Different Painting Styles:
Whether you like to paint with big, watery strokes or create intricate details, 100% cotton watercolor paper can handle it all. Cotton watercolor paper accommodates various watercolor techniques with ease, making it incredibly versatile. Whether you prefer traditional techniques, wet-on-wet washes, or detailed layering, this paper adapts to your artistic style. Its texture, whether smooth (hot-pressed) or textured (cold-pressed), allows for a range of effects and expressions in your artwork.
5 | Forgiving
Using 100% cotton watercolor paper is like a breath of fresh air. The colors glide smoothly, and you can easily fix mistakes or change things around. When you use high-quality paper like this, it makes your painting experience so much more enjoyable.
Did you know...
That cotton paper comes in different kinds of cotton?
Cotton linters - The purest form of cellulose. The fibers are nice and long making sure it can handle a lot of water. Most of the cotton watercolour paper is made with cotton linters.
Cotton Rag - Cotton rag is what you mostly see with handmade Indian paper. They're made with recycled cotton textilles.
Cotton linen - Some brands even add recycled linen to their cotton blend. These make the paper even stronger. This is what you mostly see in super thick paper like 600+ gm/s - 300+lb.
So know you know the 5 reasons why we love 100% cotton paper, and why you should consider trying it out. I'm not saying "100% cotton is the shit and all wood-pulp paper sucks". There are still great non cotton paper brands out there that I also like. I'm going to talk about those in another post, where I show you my favourite paper brands.
Sample paperIf you want to try 100% cotton paper but don't want to commit to a whole pack, you can buy single sheets of Baohong paper from my shop.