A great article about choosing the right paper for your paintings.

Rough, Cold Pressed, and Hot Pressed paper all have different qualities that affect your watercolours; hot press paper, for example, is very smooth, and so is great for detail and shows your colours more vibrantly - whereas rough paper is better for looser paintings with fewer details and big washes. Cold Pressed is a compromise between these two.

I restricted myself to hot press water colour papers for years, wanting the accuracy & detail that they make possible.

One day at a conference someone from Fabriano got us to lay the three surfaces side by side and run a loaded brush across them in a single path. It blew my mind to see how as the texture increased the colours vibrancy increased in unison - dramatically!

It makes sense in retrospect - translucent colour collecting in the ‘valleys’… but I have never gone back to HP.

@wednesday I think it depends on the paper - I've had a few hot pressed and rough watercolour papers that do beautiful washes but really lack vibrancy, the colours come out muted on them. But cotton rag paper particularly is wonderful for watercolour and overall produce more vibrant results.

@Curator oh, yes, I should have said: it was Fabriano Artistico, not their ‘studio’ that’s only 25%. Still a nice paper though.

I have tried the same experiment with Arches too, which is also 100% rag. Same result.

If anyone has a favourite hot press they think can hold colour as well as either of those cold press surfaces, I’d be keen to give any recommendations a try. Saunders maybe?

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