Watercolor painting is often avoided by amateur artists because of its unforgiving nature, but that doesn’t mean you should put down your brush. Watercolor painting doesn’t have to be scary and with the right tools, including paper that is specially designed to work with watercolor paints, you can be a master artist in no time. Or, at least a pretty good artist. It is still kinda tricky.
It’s essential to use paper specially designed for the demands of watercolor painting for several reasons. We selected acid-free paper for our list because it’s long-lasting and won’t become brittle or yellow over time. The three watercolor pads on our list are all cold pressed paper as well, which is suitable for all levels of watercolor painters because of its rough and textured surface which helps to hold the paint and create a luminous finish. Watercolor paper won’t warp or buckle from the wetness of the paint and it’s also designed to absorb both the water and the paint, which regular paper isn’t thick enough to do.
If you’re ready to take the leap into the wonderful world of watercolor paint, these are three pads that we recommend for starting (or continuing) your artistic endeavors.
1. ARTEZA 5.5×8.5” Watercolor Pad
Have a pad for practicing, sketching, and final projects with the ARTEZA 5.5″ x 8.5” Watercolor Pad, which comes in a set of three and gives users the options to have pads in multiple locations or use each pad for a different painting or drawing medium. ARTEZA paper is acid-free to keep paintings vibrant over time and is suitable for most wet and dry media.
Pros: The ARTEZA paper is cold pressed and has a slightly textured ‘toothy’ wash that is best suited for large, even washes and finer detail artwork. The notebooks feature perforated paper that is easy to remove.
Cons: The ARTEZA paper has a rough side and smooth side, with the smooth side not as conducive to watercolor paint.
2. Canson Artist Series Montval Watercolor Paper Pad
Made in France, the heavyweight cold press Canson Artist Series Montval Watercolor Paper Pad is mold made and performs well with all wet media, mainly watercolors. Each page is micro-perforated to make it easy to remove. Like the ARTEZA, the Canson Artist Series is 140 pound/300 gram paper but is considerably larger at 9″ x 12”.
Pros: The Canson Artist Series is ideal for watercolors and sketching with the ability to withstand repeated scraping, erasing and washes.
Cons: Featuring 20 sheets of paper in each pad, the Canson Artist Series is the smallest pad on our list.
3. Canson XL Series Watercolor Pad
Ideal for practicing and sketching, the Canson XL Series Watercolor Pad is an affordable pad that still boasts Canson’s high-quality cold press textured paper that will give amateur and seasoned artists a large canvas to use while getting the feel of their paints and trying out new techniques. Like the Canson Artist Series, the Canson XL features 9″ x 12” pages but also comes with an extra 10 sheets.
Pros: The Canson XL is made with durable, acid-free paper that is appropriate for use with watercolors, acrylics, pen, pencil, charcoal, markers and more.
Cons: Unlike the first two options, Canson XL does not include perforated sheets for easy removal.