Table of Contents:
Watercolor is a medium that seems like it has a mind of its own. One minute it’s giving you luminous and soft transparency and the next it’s creating a bold, hard edge. Its versatility is what makes it such an enchanting medium for watercolorists but it’s also what makes it a challenge to master.
One way to get a handle on this elusive medium is by choosing the best paper for the effect you want to achieve. To help make that decision easier for you, we’ve put together this article explaining the different types of watercolor pads that Arteza offers. We think pads are the most convenient way to use and store watercolor paper. They are adaptable to all kinds of painting situations, whether you’re on location or in the studio.
Watercolor pads come in a variety of sizes and bindings. You’ll want to choose one that works with your art and work style. Here are 7 of our most popular pads of paper for artists from beginners to pros.
Premium Watercolor Paper Pad, 9”x12”, 32 Sheets, 140 lb (300 gsm)
This paper is ideal if you like to work with different mediums such as watercolors, brush pens, pens, colored pencils, and gouache.
This paper can be considered universal. At 140lb (300gsm) it is heavy enough for watercolor painting and wet-one-wet techniques as well as other fluid mediums—gouache, brush pens, acrylics—without buckling or warping. It is the best paper to work with water because it takes longer for the water to be absorbed, which allows you to control the water on the paper longer. Since it’s cold-pressed paper, it has a slightly textured surface that makes it suitable for conveying textures and other effects when creating watercolor drawings, sketches and paintings.
DIY Frame, Watercolor Pad, 11”x14”, 20 Sheets, 140 lb (300 gsm)
This is an ideal paper for you if you want a great presentation of your art right after you’ve finished it.
This pad pulls double duty. It’s an art paper with a medium grit for excellent color retention and once you’re finished with your work, you can fold it into a frame! Having a medium texture allows you to layer the paint for glazing and gradient techniques. It’s strong enough to withstand moisture and allows you to add details with a thin brush or watercolor pencils. It has scored fold lines that make it easy to turn your work into framed art for displaying or giving to a friend on the spot. It has a medium-size format that allows you to do detailed artworks plus paint with big brush strokes.
Expert Watercolor Pad, 100% Cotton Cold Press Paper, Double Sided, 9”x12”, 14 Sheets, 140lb (300 gsm)
This is the perfect pad for you if you’re searching for high-quality cotton, double-sided watercolor paper.
Paper made from 100% cotton is the preferred paper by many watercolorists. It absorbs the paint well, while maintaining the vibrancy of the colors. This cotton paper is mold-made, so it is very strong and holds water well, which allows you to work in several layers. This is a very useful quality for creating complex soft transitions, for example in portraits or botanical illustrations. It also produces beautiful, soft watercolor stains and gradients. It dries quickly, making it possible to perform and control each spot of color during the process and direct it as you need. The pad’s double-sided sheets allow you to create an image on each side without bleed-through.
Expert Watercolor Paper Pad, Cold Press, 9”x12”, 32 Sheets, 140lb (300 gsm)
This is an ideal paper for you if you work with gouache or like to work fast.
This is a thick painting paper with a slightly nubby texture. The pages are a little larger to give you plenty of room for larger paintings or multiple versions of your subject. It has good absorbency and is able to withstand a large number of glazes. It's also very suitable for wet and dry techniques, making it ideal for mixed-media projects. The glue-bound pages are easy to remove for instant display or sharing with others.
Expert Watercolor Paper Pad, 5.5”x8.5”, 30 Sheets, Pack of 3, 140lb (300 gsm)
These pads come in a convenient format that allows you to use them on-the-go for urban sketching, nature journaling or while enjoying a cup of coffee in your favorite coffee shop. These are handy pads that fit nicely in your art bag or backpack for making quick sketches or small paintings. Thanks to their gentle texture you can create soft strokes and smooth gradients.
Expert Watercolor Glue-Bound Pad, 100% Cotton, 9”x12”, 14 Sheets, 140lb (300 gsm)
This is the perfect paper for you if you’re searching for the best paper for watercolor layering, a beautiful finish with soft-looking strokes.
This paper is perfect for creating complex, multi-layered cityscapes, portraits, and illustrations. The texture, weight, and composition of this paper are ideal for using it with water-based paints. You can easily create delicate transitions. The paper perfectly holds and absorbs water, which helps to regulate the drawing process.
Watercolor Spiral-Bound Hardcover Pad, 5.5”x8.5”, 64 Pages, Set of 3, 140lb (300 gsm)
This is an ideal pad for you if you’re looking for a portable watercolor pad choice with lots of pages.
The spiral binding on this hardbound watercolor book lets you flip over the previous pages and have a solid surface in which to work. The hardcover keeps your work protected and is the perfect travel companion. These particular pads come in a set of three, so you’re never without one and can paint whenever inspiration strikes. The heavy-duty paper absorbs moisture, dries quickly and can take watercolor techniques of all kinds without damaging the paper.
Now that you’ve learned about our most popular watercolor pads, we hope you have a better understanding and know why artists of all ages and skill levels use them. If you’re a watercolor artist, we know you’ll want to try them out to see for yourself which one works best for you. We’d love to hear which one you like best, so leave us a comment in the section below.