A: The best paper for watercolor is one that has a weight of 140 lb. or 300 GSM. There are various brands of watercolor papers available that come in these weights so you can get started on your paintings.
The heavier the paper, the more it weighs and the more water it will take without buckling.
Light paper is anything less than 140 lb/300 gsm and heavy is 300-400 lb/600-850 gsm. Heavy paper can be very expensive but is preferable for some artists because it doesn't need stretching unless you're using very heavy washes.
200gsm cotton paper is a perfect choice for daily drawing and for those of you who have experience with regular sketchbooks. 200gsm premium is also great for practicing watercolor techniques, gouache, pencils and even fountainpens.
GSM is the acronym for 'grams per square meter', and in general about 200gsm paper should be suitable for most watercolor painting.
Most experienced painters will advise you not to go below medium weight. Anything lighter than 140lb / 300 gsm requires the paper to be prepared before painting either by stretching or taping down the paper to a board.
You need to Stretch Watercolour Paper if you are using a 140lbs / 300gsm Watercolour Paper or lighter or if you are applying a heavy watercolour wash to your paper. By Stretching your Watercolour Paper first, it prevents the paper from buckling.
No. GSM is just a thickness rating, but watercolor needs a certain level of absorbability.
Fabriano watercolor paper makes a great basis for paintings like the one below and has an even and toothy surface for even water absorption and an almost spongy feel that makes it a favorite among printmakers and digital printers as well as watercolors!
200 gsm paper is heavier stock, making it ideal for document covers or thick sheets. Card, ideal for document covers. 250 gsm paper is commonly used for greetings cards, invitations and booklet/brochure covers. Thick board stock, ideal for book covers, business cards etc.
140 lb / 300 gsm: Recommended for all watercolours. The paper should be stretched before using very wet washes or a watercolour block should be used.
what gsm paper is best for acrylic? anywhere above 250 gsm paper is good. It is important that the paper won't bend because of the paperweight.
You can use 300 lb paper. No stretching required. Some illustrators "paint" the back side of you paper with water, then staple it down to a board. That way they can start working right away.
For me (and a lot of other watercolor artists) the best watercolor paper weight is: 140 lb / 300 gsm. This weight is not too thin and not too thick.
200 – 300 gsm is a thin card, it will still bend easily, but will stand up nicely when folded. This is good for greetings cards, certificates, brochures, and good quality posters. 300 – 400 gsm is a thicker card and would be used for business cards, high quality greetings cards, postcards and brochure covers.
Fabriano is not as widespread as CANSON, ARCHES or ARTEZA, yet it is known for the more budget-friendly and good quality paper. It is a very good choice to go with when you are not sure which paper to start off with for watercolors, gouaches, and even acrylics.
Fabriano 5 paper is designed for watercolour painting and lithography printing, but can also be used for tempera, charcoal, graphite, wax, pastel and calligraphy. It is immensely popular product with watercolour artists and printmakers alike.
The thickness of watercolor paper is indicated by its weight, measured either in grams per square metre (gsm) or pounds per ream (lb). The standard machine weights are 190 gsm (90 lb), 300 gsm (140 lb), 356 gsm (260 lb), and 638 gsm (300 lb).
Mixed Media and Watercolor paper both come in similar common weights: a lighter 190gsm and a heavier 300gsm. The lighter weight is better for sketching and practice applications. The heavier weight is best for finished work and heavier washes of watercolor.
80gsm is standard. Anything from 160gsm is considered card. GSM is a good guide to quality. 60gsm paper will seem flimsy and see-through compared to 100gsm weight or 120gsm weight paper.
Taping papers to a board with masking tape will hold the paper in place but does not eliminate cockling and the masking tape will peel up if it becomes over wet so is not ideal. Small Watercolour Sketches in watercolour paper sketchbooks can't be stretched so the slight bending of the paper is to be expected.
Wet on wet: wet paint is applied to wet paper, or added to a wash of fresh paint. This creates a fluid, fun and unpredictable effect. There is less control with a wet on wet technique. To try it, lay down clean water on the paper, then add watercolor paint to the wet areas.
Many artists soak or stretch their watercolor paper prior to painting. This is typically done on lighter-weight watercolor sheets to stop the paper from buckling when wet media is applied to the surface. When watercolor is added, the moisture causes the surface to expand slightly on the wet side.