Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Strathmore Acrylic Paper, 400 Series

This is the last part in my series of twelve watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper - using watercolors! See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper

  • Finish and weight: Linen surface, 246 lb (400 gsm)
  • Composition: Acid free
  • Website

Paper color

This paper is a beautiful creamy white that works well with its linen texture.

Color brightness

Yes, but in larger washes it is important to keep the watercolor saturated to avoid it looking diluted.

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture

This is not a watercolor paper, but it nevertheless has a linen texture that takes watercolors quite well!

Paper sizing and absorbency

Very hard sizing, so it will take a few tries to get used to in order to avoid backruns, especially on larger size papers. Use less water and saturated paint for a wonderfully textile effect.

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling

This paper also cockles when wet, but straightens mostly out again as it dries.

Pencil/pen/brush and ink

This paper is fun to draw on, both with pencil and pen. The pencil shows off the linen texture with a responsive line that deletes well. With pen, you get a glossy black line and smooth flow despite the texture. The ink brush also glides smoothly over the paper even if the ink may dry unevenly.

Joy factor

Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of trying out a completely unexpected surface to paint on – such as this acrylic paper with a linen surface!

Cost and availability

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic paper is available in sheets and pads.
  • List price for a 9”x12” 10-sheet pad is $11.79, online it can be found for about five dollars less.
  • List price for an 18”x24” 10-sheet pad is $40.35, online it can be found for a bit over $20.
  • List price for a 20”x30” sheet is $3.65, online it can be found for about one dollar less.

History and continuity

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper was introduced in 2006. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


I enjoy watercolor painting on Acrylic Paper on occasion, just as I enjoy painting on Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Board or Yupo. It gives me a fun challenge to keep exploring and keep things interesting!

Översättning. Här testar jag Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Paper, ett papper med linnestruktur som egentligen är avsett för akrylfärg men som tar akvarell förvånansvärt väl!

Detta papper är hårt limmat, så det kan ta ett tag att vänja sig vid då mindre vatten och mer färg är att rekommendera. Det bucklar en del när det blir vått men slätar till största delen ut sig igen när det torkar. Det fungerar bra med blyerts, tuschpenna och flytande tusch (tuschet torkar dock lite ojämnt).

Detta papper är, liksom Yupo, ett papper som jag tycker om att använda då och då för att utmana mig själv och för att lära känna nya material.

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