Monday, August 29, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Canson Montval and Winsor & Newton Cotman

This is part nine of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Canson Montval (pad and block) and Winsor & Newton Cotman 200 lb. (425 gsm) (pad). See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Canson Montval, pad (glued on one side) and block (glued on all four sides)


  • Finish and weight: Cold press, 140 lb. (300 gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free, no optical brightness additives, mold-resistant treatment
  • Sizing: Heavily sized
  • Website info


Winsor & Newton Cotman


  • Finish and weight: Cold press, 200 lb. (425gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free, wood free
  • Manufacturing: Mould made
  • Sizing: Internal and external sizing
  • Website info


Paper color


All three papers are white, but Winsor & Newton Cotman is a warmer white than Canson Montval.


Color brightness


Colors appear slightly darker on the Cotman paper.

Canson Montval cold press (pad) with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Canson Montval cold press (block) with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Winsor & Newton Cotman cold press (pad) with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.


Paper texture


All three papers feel quite smooth to the touch. The Canson Montval pad (glued on one side) has a “striped”, quite noticeable directional texture, whereas the block (taped on four sides) is less textured. A difference in texture is common between pads and blocks.

Cotman is a thicker and heavier paper, 200 lb (425 gsm), with a fairly prominent “alligator” pattern.


Paper sizing and absorbency


Both the Canson Montval pad and block are hard sized. The block, being the smoothest of the two and the hardest sized, has some pooling of color in the valleys of the paper as the paper takes a while to dry. Still, I did not find the backruns very noticeable. In comparison, the backruns on the pad are a bit more noticeable.

Cotman is also hard sized and smooth, but no backruns in my test.

Canson Montval cold press (pad) with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Canson Montval cold press (block) with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Winsor & Newton Cotman cold press (pad) with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


All these papers cockle a lot. Note that I tested all three papers loose, having removed them from their backing, something I do not recommend! Instead I recommend prestretching or using them in blocks.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


Both pencil and pen lines turn out quite smooth on the Canson Montval block and the surface feels quite responsive. Some indents remain after deletion. Pencil and pen lines are less smooth on the pad, but pencil lines delete well. Brush and ink strokes are black and glossy with edges more jagged on the pad. 

Cotman is coarse for pencil lines but takes pen and brush and ink well.


Cost and availability


Canson Montval is available in sheets, rolls, blocks, and pads.
  • List price for a 9”x12” 12-sheet pad is $9.95, online it can be found for a few dollars less.
  • List price for a 9”x12” 15-sheet block is $18.05, online it can be found for around $10.
  • List price for a 20”x30” sheet is $3.70, online it can be found for about $2.50.

Winsor & Newton Cotman, 200 lb., is available in sheets, blocks, and pads.
  • List price for a 9”x12” 10-sheet pad is $20.69, online it can be found for around $12.
  • List price for a pack of ten 20”x30” sheets is $65.90, online it can be found for around $40.


History and continuity


Canson first introduced Montval as a printmaking paper in 1910 and later as a watercolor version around 1925. For more information about Canson, see this post.

Winsor & Newton is a British company founded in London in 1832. In 1835 they began making watercolors. In 1866, a size 7 kolinsky sable brush was commissioned by Queen Victoria, which became the start of the Series 7 brushes. In 1990, Winsor & Newton was acquired by AB Wilh. Becker, an independent subsidiary headquartered in Germany, of the Swedish Lindéngruppen. In 1992, ColArt was formed as an independent subsidiary focusing on art materials and headquartered in London.

I could not find any dates for their watercolor paper, but in 2012 Winsor & Newton moved the production to France. In 2013 the watercolor tubes were redesigned, from white tubes with a prominent color stripe at the top to metallic tubes with a small color strip further down, and in 2015 the tubes were redesigned to again feature a more prominent color stripe at the top.


Conclusion


Adding Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor to this lineup of “student” papers, acid free but not 100% cotton, I like Strathmore for its texture and general handling. After these tests, I also like the Canson Montval block (glued on four sides) for its relative smoothness and for how well it worked with both pencil and pen. Canson Montval 90 lb. is another, thinner, option.

If you are on the lookout for a thicker, yet affordable paper, Cotman 200 lb. may be for you, but be aware of its prominent texture and the slightly darker colors.


Översättning. Här jämför jag tre papper med så kallad studentkvalitet, syrafria men inte 100% bomull; Canson Montval (300 gsm) block kantlimmat i överkant, Canson Montval (300 gsm) block limmat på fyra sidor och Winsor & Newton Cotman (425 gsm). Alla tre är hårt limmade. Notera att jag testade dem som lösa ark, dvs jag skar loss dem från respektive block utan fuktspänning innan jag började måla.

Cotman har en lite varmare färg än de övriga och akvarellfärger framträder lite mörkare på detta papper. Papperet har en mycket framträdande ytstruktur vilken blir speciellt synlig med granulerande pigment. Dock är det ett bra alternativ om man vill ha ett lite tjockare papper. Jag tyckte det var för grovt för blyerts men fungerade överraskande bra med tuschpenna och flytande tusch.

Även det Canson Montval-block som var kantlimmat på en sida hade en framträdande ytstruktur, medan det block som var kantlimmat på fyra sidor var slätare och lite hårdare limmat. Det senare fungerade dessutom bra till blyerts, tuschpenna och flytande tusch.

Om jag inkluderar Strathmore 400 Watercolor i detta test, så föredrar jag fortfarande Strathmores ytstruktur, men Canson Montval, kantlimmat på fyra sidor, är ett bra alternativ med mindre och tåligare ytstruktur som hanterar blyerts, tuschpenna, samt flytande tusch bra.

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