For the Art Buyer:
For the art buyer or the beginner watercolorist interested in watercolor paper’s permanency, I have used d’Arches hand-made (in France) 100% cotton watercolor paper for many years. D’Arches brand paper is made in the traditional way as when the company began in 1493. Other handmade brands include Fabriano, Whatman, and Stonehenge.
For quality paper, the buyer wants to avoid any paper made of wood pulp, which is acidic.
Watercolor Paper Weight:
The weight of watercolor paper I generally use is 140# paper. For the novice, it takes 500 sheets of watercolor paper to weigh 140# (22″ x 30″). A heavier weight is 300# pound, which helps greatly in not buckling when the paper is wet. This paper takes 500 sheets to weigh 300 pounds.I have used the 300# paper as well, but the 140# is my “go to” paper. The 90# will buckle more than the heavier weights and is about the lowest weight acceptable for watercolor. Unlike acidic types, 100% cotton watercolor paper will not have permanency issues.
Watercolor Paint Brands:
For watercolor paint brands, I like the quality of Winsor Newton (made in England), or Daniel Smith. Occasionally I use Graham, with honey as one of its ingredients. Go to this link to read reviews and comparisons of top brands. These brands provide data on paint permanency as well as many other qualities, such as transparency, opacity, light fastness etc. I do not use student grades of watercolor paint as they require more paint to achieve the same effect as professional quality brands.
Even for the novice painter, investing in good quality watercolor paper and watercolor paint is a wise choice. Nothing is more frustrating to the beginner in watercolor than to have paper and poor quality paint hamper your efforts. The same is true for brushes, which I will discuss in a later blog.