I always suggest to people who are trying out watercolour to experiment with different papers, and the best way to do this is to purchase a sample pack, which most suppliers carry. For a minimum outlay, you are able to PLAY with the different weights and surfaces.
I have been using an Archers 300 pound Hot Pressed paper for quite some time…but just this week, I tried something new – Saunders Waterford HIGH WHITE Hot Pressed and I like it.
I decided to use Ralphie, the 18 year old Jack Russell who belongs to my dear friends in Wiltshire, to help me with the test.
Using a photograph I took of Ralphie on my recent visit to Wiltshire, I made a rough sketch using brush and yellow ochre. As soon as my brush touched the paper, I knew I liked it…..
It has a slightly different feel to the Archers, but it’s good, and i have to say less expensive! I purchase my watercolour paper in full sheets – 22x30in (56x76cm) I find this to be more cost effective.
As I say, Rallphie is now 18 years old. I made a watercolour of him about eight years ago, because his owners thought he might not have too long to live…..well, he is still going strong.
When Ralphie was younger he was quite snappy, in the nicest of ways:)….but now he is very happy to wander around and be carried upstairs, and generally treated as someone of his age should be.
So a little more about the paper.
As in all professions, jargon is rife when it comes to art materials….and I find over and over again that many people are not clear about the differences with watercolour paper.
Paper is purchased by weight – i.e. if I say that I am purchasing a 140 pound weight paper….that means that the Ream of paper (500 sheets) weighs 140 pounds.
Watercolour paper comes in different textures. Rough – NOT/cold pressed – and Hot Pressed.
Put simply, Rough has a rough surface – Hot Pressed is very smooth, and NOT/Cold Pressed which is probably the most popular paper, falls in the middle.
Purchasing Sample Packs is the best way to experiment with the different weights and surfaces.