Choosing Watercolor Paper-Hot, Cold and Rough pressed

I often get this question: “What paper do you use?” Upon further questioning, I often realize that the person should really have asked: “What paper do you recommend for x y and z?” Watercolor paper comes in many different forms and with many different capabilities. In this post, I will share all of my knowledge about watercolor paper. Specifically about Hot-pressed, rough-pressed and cold-pressed. Therefore, if you’re having trouble deciding on which watercolor paper is right for you, or if you are just curious and want to learn more about watercolor paper, please keep on reading.

There are 3 types of watercolor paper that I use: Rough-pressed, hot-pressed and cold-pressed. The 3 types of paper have different textures and qualities.

Rough-Pressed Watercolor Paper

Rough-pressed has a rough and usually uneven texture. This paper absorbs lots of water and is best for abstract paintings. This paper is great to use with the dry brushstroke technique. The dry brushstroke technique consists of using an almost dry brush with paint to make brushstrokes on the surface of the paper, thereby leaving some areas white and untouched. The dry brush technique can result in a nice sparkle in water scenes.

Cold-Pressed Watercolor Paper:

Cold pressed watercolor paper, is the paper I recommended to beginners in watercolor because cold-pressed watercolor paper is in between hot-pressed and rough pressed in texture. This means that the texture of cold-pressed watercolor paper allows for good water absorption and also allows for a little bit of details. Ultimately, if your preference is to use a lot of water when painting and then add some details that don’t require intricacy, cold pressed watercolor paper will be a great paper to use.

Hot-Pressed Watercolor Paper:

Hot pressed watercolor paper has a soft feel and a smooth surface. This kind surface is great for detail work and Gouache paints. Hot pressed paper is also great for illustrations with sharp and smooth lines, wet on dry washes and the tiniest of details. If you desire to make perfect wet on wet washes, and use enormous amount of water, this paper is not for you.

I must mention that I purposely omitted talking about non-cotton based paper, and that is because in my opinion cotton paper is the best. Every non-cotton paper that I have tried, has not been fun or adequate for great results. If you know of some good ones please let me know. I believe that choosing good quality paper, and the right paper for your style of painting is imperative for your success.

Published by Karina Gonzalez

Watercolor artist, lover of beauty and life.

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