History of Watercolor Paper
First, some interesting facts about paper, that I found at http://www.watercolorpainting.com/papers.htm
The oldest surviving piece of paper in the world was discovered by archeologists in 1957 in a tomb near Sian in Shensi province, China (Temple 1986). It is about 10 cm square and can be dated precisely between the years 140 and 87 BC.
In the price section I will be referring to some of the different brands of paper, that are a part of history of paper-making, such as Arches, Fabriano and Canson.
Fabriano (Italy) began papermaking in 1283 when paper production flourished with the use of recycled linen rags for pulp.
The Arches (France) paper mill was founded in Lorraine, France, in 1492. Arches papers are still made in the original 1492 mill. Arches is now part of the Canson family of paper products.
Since 1557, the Canson paper mill in France has produced fine artist papers. A tradition started by the Montgolfier family (most famous for the invention of the hot air balloon in 1783 – made of paper, of course) and carried on by the family Canson.
Differences in Watercolor Paper
There are quite a few options for machine rolled watercolor paper outside of the manufacturer that make a difference to watercolorists (hand made paper is whole other ball of wax). The most important are:
- paper weight (eg, 156 lbs, 300 lbs)
- finish (eg, cold press, hot press, rough)
- packaging (eg, block, individual sheets, roll)
The higher the paper weight the less warping the paper will do. It is recommended that you stretch paper that is less than 140lbs before using (others recommend stretching anything less than 300lbs, but I typically paint on large sheets of unstretched 156lb and have almost no problems).
The different paper finishes all have different texture. Hot press is very smooth, cold press a little more texture, and rough is, well, rough textured. For watercolors, I prefer rough paper.
The packaging of paper completely depends on what size paintings you will do and how much paper you need. Blocks of paper are very convenient especially when they have glued edges. The glue keeps the tension in the paper, and they do not need to be stretched. However blocks are typically in smaller sizes (I can’t find anything bigger than 18×24). For larger size paintings, I can not recommend enough spending the money and getting a roll. Rolls have the disadvantage of beign 156lb or less (please let me know if you find 300lb rolls).
Price of Watercolor Paper
Below are some prices I found online in January 2011. All paper listed should have a deckled edge, which I prefer over matted or straight edges.
Arches is my go to paper. 80% of my watercolors are on Arches paper. I prefer to buy paper by the roll, so I can cut whatever size I want.
Roll of Arches rough watercolor paper 51″ x 10 yards, 156 lb:
- $147.73 – http://www.dickblick.com/products/arches-watercolor-paper/
- $149.53 – http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/paper/watercolor-paper-and-boards/arches-watercolor-paper/arches-watercolor-rolls.htm
- $166.99 – http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_products.cfm?classID=1611&subclassID=161114&brandname=Arches
Sheets, Arches Rough 22″ × 30″ 300 lb:
- $43/per 5 – http://www.dickblick.com/products/arches-watercolor-paper/
- $44.80/per 5 – http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/paper/watercolor-paper-and-boards/arches-watercolor-paper/arches-100-rag-watercolor-paper-bright-white.htm
- $53.09/per 5 – http://www.cheapjoes.com/store/navigation.asp?cat=4830&page=2
- $56.78/per 5 – http://www.misterart.com/paper-boards/paper/watercolor-paper/arches-watercolor-paper.html
- $59.95/per 5 – http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_products.cfm?classID=1611&subclassID=161113&brandname=Arches
- $64.78/per 5 – http://www.artsupplywarehouse.com/finelineDisplay.php?id=131003
Arches 40 in. x 60 in. white, 1114 lb. rough:
- $54.91/per 1 – http://www.misterart.com/paper-boards/paper/watercolor-paper/arches-watercolor-paper.html (out of stock now)
- $498.49/per 10 – http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Paper/Watercolor-Paper-and-Boards/Arches-Watercolor-Paper/Arches-100-Rag-Watercolor-Paper-Natural-White.htm
And here is some of Arches competition:
Canson 100 Watercolor Sheets, Rough 22″ × 30″ 300 lb:
- $34.25/per 5 – http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/paper/watercolor-paper-and-boards/canson-100-watercolor-blocks-and-sheets.htm
Lanaquarelle Watercolor Sheets, Rough 22″ × 30″ 300 lb:
- $80.59/per 10 – http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/paper/watercolor-paper-and-boards/lanaquarelle-watercolor-paper.htm
- $99.99/per 10 – http://www.cheapjoes.com/art-supplies/4835_lanaquarelle-watercolor-paper.asp
Waterford Watercolor Sheets, Rough 22″ × 30″ 300 lb:
- $74.99/per 10 – http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/paper/watercolor-paper-and-boards/waterford-watercolor-paper.htm (out of stock till 02/07/2011)
Fabriano Artistico Traditional White, Rough 22″ × 30″ 300 lb:
- $59.10/per 10 – http://www.cheapjoes.com/art-supplies/5425_fabriano-artistico-traditional-watercolor-paper.asp
I hope this will help you to find paper that you need.
Comments to this post with with best offers links are welcome!