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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Compare 300 lb watercolor papers: Arches, Fabriano Artistico

This is part eight of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing five 300 lb. (640 gsm) papers: Arches Watercolour Bright White (rough, cold press, and hot press) and Fabriano Artistico Extra White (cold press and soft press). See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Arches Watercolour, Bright White


  • Finish and weight: Rough, cold press, and hot press, 300 lb. (640 gsm)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free, no optical brightening agents, fungicidal treatment to prevent mold
  • Manufacturing: Cylinder mould
  • Sizing: Sized to the core with natural gelatin
  • Website info


Fabriano Artistico Extra White



  • Finish and weight: Cold press and soft press, 300 lb. (640 gsm)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, archival, chlorine and acid free, no optical bleaching
  • Manufacturing: Mould made
  • Sizing: Internal and external sizing
  • Website info


Paper color


Fabriano Artistico is white, Arches a slightly creamy white.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, but to me, colors on Arches look slightly darker or paler, possibly due to more absorption and less sizing than Fabriano Artistico.

Arches Watercolour Bright White 300 lb. cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Arches Watercolour Bright White 300 lb. rough with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Arches Watercolour Bright White 300 lb. hot press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300 lb. cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300 lb. soft press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


Arches rough and cold press and Fabriano Artistico cold press feel rough to the touch. Fabriano Artistico soft press is the smoothest to the touch followed by Arches hot press.

With granulating colors, Arches rough shows a distinct “alligator”pattern, more pronounced than Arches 140 lb. Arches cold press, in contrast, shows a subtler pattern, just right for a cold press in my opinion and close to the 140 lb. paper.

Arches hot press, surprisingly, shows a “cloudy” pattern similar to Strathmore 500 Series Imperial hot press and Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut hot press, two papers which are really more of a softer cold press! The jagged edges of paint puddles indicate that the paper is more textured than it seems due to its sizing, as is often the case with hot press papers.

Fabriano Artistico soft press shows the least pattern of the five, followed by its cold press. Both show less texture and granulation patterns than Fabriano Artistico 140 lb.


Paper sizing and absorbency


Arches rough and cold press are even more absorbent than their 140 lb counterparts and quite a bit of water is needed to paint. Still, the colors keep spreading for a while before drying. Arches hot press is the least absorbent of the three Arches surfaces.

Fabriano Artistico is harder sized than Arches and easier to paint on as it needs less water. Though, paint puddles sit on top and can take hours to dry out and sink in! Paint sinks in faster on cold press than soft press. Still, I did not experience any backruns.

Arches Watercolour Bright White 300 lb. cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Arches Watercolour Bright White 300 lb. rough with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Arches Watercolour Bright White 300 lb. hot press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300 lb. cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300 lb. soft press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


Despite the thickness, a slight cockling of these papers was noted! The corners curl up a bit and slight waves remain, more in the rough paper as expected. (It is actually recommended to prewet also a 300 lb paper prior to painting, but it should not need to be stretched.)

It may be of interest here to mention that the only papers in my tests that did not have any distortion when wet were not papers at all but boards, specifically the Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Boards!


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


Arches rough and cold press and Fabriano Artistico cold press are rough for a pencil with some ghosting visible after deletion. They also feel rough for a pen and in the case of Arches, drawing feels more like etching. Arches hot press has a smoother texture with less ghosting but some indent left after deletion.

Pencil lines on Fabriano Artistico soft press turn out well although some indent is left after deletion. It is still difficult to get a completely smooth black pen line due to the sizing.

Still, I thought that brush and ink work very well on all five with glossy, black ink strokes, the smoothest edges on Fabriano Artistico soft press.


Joy factor


I find it very joyful to paint on a 300 lb. paper! The brush glides smoothly despite the rough surfaces and the thickness of the paper together with the hard sizing combine to make it feel as if I deposit colorful jewels one by one on the paper! For future explorations of 300 lb. papers, I personally choose Fabriano Artistico soft press and maybe also Arches cold press.


Cost and availability

 I only found Arches Bright White, 300 lb., available as sheets (Natural White is also available in blocks).
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $25.05, online it can be found for a bit over $10. 
Fabriano Artistico Extra White, 300 lb., is available as sheets.
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $23.50, online it can be found for less than $10.

History and continuity


See prior posts for more about the background of Arches, Fabriano, and Canson.


Conclusion


It is worth the expense to experience painting on a 300 lb paper, but for me, it would not be an everyday paper.

Arches rough and hot press have more of a pronounced texture than their 140 lb. counterparts, whereas the texture of Arches cold press was similar to the 140 lb. paper. Fabriano Artistico cold press and soft press have less of a pronounced texture. Despite the thickness, they all cockled slightly with heavy washes. On the rough side for pen and pencil, they worked quite well with brush and ink.


Översättning. I detta test så jämför jag tre 640 gsm akvarellpapper: Arches Bright White med grov, fin och slät gräng, samt Fabriano Artistico Extra White med fin och mjuk gräng. Som vanligt testar jag utan att först fuktspänna dem.

Alla dessa är vita, men Arches drar lite åt det varma hållet. Arches grov och fin gräng samt Fabriano Artistico fin gräng känns alla mycket grova att ta på. Fabriano Artistico mjuk gräng och Arches slät känns mjukast av de fem. Arches grov gräng, men även slät(!), uppvisar de mest distinkta mönstren med granulerande pigment, medan Arches fin gräng liknar Arches 300 gsm.

Det krävs en hel del vatten för att måla på Arches 640 gsm då det absorberar en hel del vatten. Fabriano Artistico är betydligt hårdare limmat och jag tycker att färg på Fabriano Artistico har större lyskraft. Det kan dock ta timmar innan färgen torkar, men ändå såg jag inga blomningar.

Trots tjockleken så bucklar sig även dessa papper vid mycket vatten, om än betydligt mindre än de tunnare papperen. Det kan vara värt att notera att de enda “papper” som inte bucklade var Strathmore 500 Series Illustration Boards!

Vad gäller blyerts och tuschpenna så känns Arches grov och fin gräng samt Fabriano fin mycket grova att rita på, medan Fabriano mjuk gräng uppvisade jämnare linjer. Jag tyckte att alla fem ytstrukturerna fungerade bra med pensel och tusch.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Compare hot press watercolor papers: Arches, Fabriano Artistico, Canson Moulin du Roy

This is part seven of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing three hot press papers: Arches Watercolour Bright White, Fabriano Artistico Extra White, and Canson Moulin du Roy. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers, and this post for conclusions.


Arches Watercolour, Bright White


  • Finish and weight: Hot press, 140 lb. (300 gsm) (for rough and cold press, read this post)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free, no optical brightening agents, fungicidal treatment to prevent mold
  • Manufacturing: Cylinder mould
  • Sizing: Sized to the core with natural gelatin
  • Website info


Fabriano Artistico Extra White


  • Finish and weight: Hot press, 140 lb. (300 gsm) (for rough, cold press and soft press, read this post)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, chlorine and acid free, no optical bleaching
  • Manufacturing: Mould made
  • Sizing: Internal and external sizing
  • Website info


Canson Moulin du Roy


  • Finish and weight: Hot press, 140 lb. (300 gsm) (for cold press, read this post)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free, made without bleaching agents, made with mold-resistant treatment
  • Manufacturing: Cylinder mould
  • Sizing: Internal and surface sizing
  • Website info


Paper color


Fabriano and Canson are white, whereas Arches is a slightly creamy, warm white.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, watercolors remain bright on these papers.

Arches Watercolour Bright White hot press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Canson Moulin du Roy hot press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


Arches feels very smooth to the touch, whereas Canson and especially Fabriano have a little more tooth to them. When using granulating pigments, the speckled effect is almost identical for the three papers.


Paper sizing and absorbency


Note that I am not testing these hot press paper in a traditional manner but use them unstretched and with plenty of water to see how they fare with this painting style.

These are all hard sized papers and especially Arches has an almost Yupo-like feel in how the paint is repelled from the surface. If you use too much water, there will be pronounced backruns and the paint takes a long time to dry. Be aware that Arches smells a bit when wet due to the natural sizing.

Fabriano has the least backruns, which translates to a paper easier to paint on in my opinion, although the paint is quite active on this surface.

Canson, on the other hand, has the most backruns and my unstretched paper cockled so much that the water settled in the valleys of the paper. Note: Use less water for better results with all of these papers!

Arches Watercolour Bright White hot press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Canson Moulin du Roy hot press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


All these papers cockle, just like the other watercolor papers tested. I would hesitate to use a hot press paper unstretched for small format artwork such as ACEOs, as there was much curl in my separate small format test. Canson cockled so much during painting that the paint pooled in the valleys of the paper.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


You can feel a slight tooth of the paper when using a pencil on both Arches and Fabriano, albeit Arches feels slightly smoother. For both papers, some ghosting and indents remain after deletion. Canson is the smoothest paper to draw on and deletes well. All three surfaces feel very responsive to the pencil lead.

Pen lines cause slight feathering on Fabriano whereas Canson, being smoother, takes pen well, with Arches coming in second. Canson also takes brush and ink very well, whereas the other two have more uneven ink surfaces and Fabriano again some feathering. Note: Leave time for pen lines to dry on hot press surfaces.


Cost and availability


I only found Arches Bright White hot press available as sheets (Natural White is also available in blocks, pads, and rolls).
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $10.90, online it can be found for less than half that price, about $4.50.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot press is available as sheets, rolls, and blocks.
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $10.25, online it can be found for less than half that price, a little over $4.

Canson Moulin du Roy hot press is available in sheets, rolls, blocks, and pads.
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $7.50, online it can be found for around $5.


History and continuity


See prior posts for more about the background of Arches, Fabriano, and Canson.


Conclusion


First of all, note that I am not a hot press painter, so these tests were done using my normal approach of painting directly on the unstretched paper using a lot of water. If you use less water, your results may be quite different than mine (i.e. better).

During my hot press tests I received best results with Fabriano Artistico due to it having the least backruns of the three. Canson had the most cockling and also the most backruns, but unfurled again once dry.

For pen work, Canson had the least feathering of the three, with Arches a close second. Fabriano had the most feathering. This may vary depending on your pen.

Brush and ink dried unevenly, but Canson and Arches both handled ink strokes well whereas Fabriano had some feathering.


Översättning. I detta test så jämför jag tre akvarellpapper med slät gräng; Arches Bright White, Fabriano Artistico Extra White and Canson Moulin du Roy. Notera att jag testar dessa papper utan fuktspänning och med mycket vatten för att se hur de för sig vid denna behandling. Om du använder mindre vatten och fuktspänner dem så får du säkert andra (läs bättre) resultat!

Alla tre är vita, men Arches drar lite åt det varma hållet. De är hårt limmade och om du använder mycket vatten så bucklar sig papperet och vattnet ansamlar sig i papperets dalar och orsakar märkbara blomningar. Fabriano fick minst blomningar i mitt test och kändes, enligt min åsikt, som ett något lättare papper att måla på medan Canson fick mest blomningar.

Canson var slätast att rita på både med tuschpenna, flytande tusch och blyerts, medan tuschlinjerna spred sig lite på Fabriano. På grund av den hårda limningen tar det en stund för tusch att torka på dessa papper.


Notera att Arches har en viss lukt vid vätning som kommer från det naturliga gelatin som används till limningen. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Canson Moulin du Roy

This is part six of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Canson Moulin du Roy, cold press. Hot press is tested in a separate post. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Canson Moulin du Roy


  • Finish and weight: Cold press, 140 lb. (300 gsm) (for hot press, read this post)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free, made without optical brightness additives, mold-resistant treatment
  • Manufacturing: Cylinder mould
  • Sizing: Internal and surface sizing
  • Website info


Paper color


This paper is white.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, the watercolors retain their brightness on this paper.

Canson Moulin du Roy cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


The texture is similar to Arches cold press once painted on, but much softer to the touch. It makes for beautiful, yet subtle, granulation patterns.


Paper sizing and absorbency


I found the sizing just right, as it allows the paint to soak in without backruns but does not soak in too fast. The brush runs relatively smoothly on this paper.

Canson Moulin du Roy cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


There is some cockling if used unstretched.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


The surface feels hard to draw on with a pencil and lines turn out gray yet smooth. Marks delete well with faint ghosting left. With a pen, the surface feels a bit unresponsive due to the sizing and smooth surface. Brush and ink strokes made with a brush turn out nice and black, with slightly rough edges.


Cost and availability


Canson Moulin du Roy is available in sheets, rolls, blocks, and pads. Edit 11/9/2016: Only just found out that the pads and blocks have been discontinued.
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $7.50, online it can be found for around $5.


History and continuity


Canson is a French paper that takes its roots in a paper mill started in 1557 by Jacques Montgolfier. In 1801, it was renamed Montgolfier et Canson. In 1926, a subsidiary in New York was opened, named Canson & Montgolfier, Inc. In 1976, Canson & Montgolfier was acquired by the Arjomari Group, which in turn was founded in 1956 and includes Arches. In 2006, Canson and subsidiaries were purchased by the French-based Hamelin Group. The paper is, at the time of this writing, still made in France. Updated 1/30/2017: In 2016, the Italian company F.I.L.A. purchased Canson. F.I.L.A. owns brands such as Lyra, Daler-Rowney, and Maimeri.

Moulin du Roy is a relatively new paper, first introduced in 2013, and I, for one, wish it a long and happy life!


Conclusion


This is another good option for a cold press paper of 100% cotton. The texture is subtle yet works well with granulating pigments, the sizing allows for some reworking but without backruns. It also works well with brush and ink.


Översättning. Canson är ytterligare en av de stora pappersfabrikanterna och härstammar från ett franskt pappersbruk grundat 1557. De tillverkar fortfarande sitt papper i Frankrike. Canson Moulin du Roy är en ny satsning i 100% bomull introducerat under 2013.

Canson Moulin du Roy fin gräng har en vit yta med en ganska slät ytstruktur som ändå tillåter granulerande pigment att tona fram. Detta papper är en av mina nya favoriter tillsammans med Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut och Arches Watercolour Bright White fin gräng.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Fabriano Artistico, Extra White

This is part five of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, rough, cold press, and soft press. Hot press is tested in a separate post. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Fabriano Artistico, Extra White


  • Finish and weight: Rough, cold press and soft press, 140 lb. (300 gsm) (for hot press, read this post)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, chlorine and acid free, no optical bleaching
  • Manufacturing: Mould made
  • Sizing: Internal and external sizing
  • Website info


Paper color


White.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, watercolors retain their brightness on this paper.

Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, rough with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, soft press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

 

Paper texture


Fabriano Artistico comes in four very different textures (for hot press see separate post). The cold press is very textured in a "gridded" pattern that I find a bit too noticeable. The pattern is more pronounced than either Strathmore, Arches, or Canson Moulin du Roy.

The soft press is a silky smooth surface, somewhere between cold press and hot press. There is not enough texture for big granulation effects, but the almost woven look of the texture makes for a tapestry-like look in large washes that I find quite intriguing.

The rough texture is a deeply pebbled texture with numerous small indentations and more pronounced than Arches rough. Still, it feels surprisingly smooth to paint on, even though granulation becomes very pronounced on this surface with the heavier pigments collecting in the indentations.


Paper sizing and absorbency


The cold press is quite absorbent and soaks up paint and water fast. The soft press, in contrast, is harder sized but paint sinks in without backruns. The paint is very active on these surfaces and spreads fast.

The rough paper is as absorbent as the other rough papers. Both the cold press and rough surfaces feel abrasive to the brush.

Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, rough with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Fabriano Artistico, Extra White, soft press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

 

Paper cockling


This paper cockles similar to Arches if left unstretched. The rough surface cockles the most of the papers I tested. Soft press cockled the least of the Fabriano papers.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


When using a pencil on the cold press, I can feel the paper texture and the pencil "etches" through the sizing. Some ghosting is left after deleting. The texture combined with the absorbency of the paper make pen lines a bit uneven.

The soft press takes both pen and pencil well and the instruments glide smoothly. Pencil lines delete well but some ghosting remains. However, the paper is still quite absorbent so pen lines may look a bit jagged.

The rough surface feels very rough for pencil lines but deletes well. Pen lines turn out surprisingly even despite the texture and the rough surface feels quite smooth to draw on. Brush and ink strokes turn out black and glossy and with slightly rough edges on all three surfaces.


Joy factor


I found the soft press a joy to both paint and draw on; silky, smooth, responsive, and a bit different!


Cost and availability


Fabriano Artistico Extra White is available as sheets, rolls, and blocks. I could only find soft press as sheets and rolls.
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $10.25, online it can be found for less than half that price, a little over $4.


History and continuity


Fabriano is an Italian paper mill that dates back to 1264. Since 2002, Fabriano belongs to the Fedrigoni Group of Verona, Italy.

Fabriano Artistico, one of its watercolor papers, is still made at the Fabriano plant. The Traditional White was originally introduced as Artistico in the late 1970s and the Extra White introduced as Uno around 1996. They have been marketed under their current names since 2003.


Conclusion


Fabriano Artistico Extra White is one of the whiter watercolor papers I tested and made of 100% cotton. I found the rough texture too prominent for granulating colors and also the cold press has a pattern that is quite visible. The soft press falls between cold and hot press and works well with watercolors, pen and pencil. All three surfaces work very well with brush and ink.


Översättning. Fabriano Artistico är ett italienskt akvarellpapper som härstammar från 1264 och som fortfarande tillverkas i Fabriano. Liksom Arches är Fabriano ett välkänt märke. Extra White, vilket jag har testat här, introducerades 1996 och Traditional White i slutet av 1970-talet, då under andra namn. Fabriano Artistico är ett papper av 100% bomull som finns i fyra ytstrukturer, grov, fin, mjuk och slät.

Både fin och grov gräng har ett utpräglat mönster i sin ytstruktur, alltför framträdande för granulerande pigment i mitt tycke. De känns båda ganska sträva och absorberar mycket vatten. Den grova grängen absorberade mest vatten av alla de papper jag testade och bucklade mest vid test utan fuktspänning. Mjuk gräng (soft press) ligger mellan den fina och den släta grängen och har en nästan “vävd” ytstruktur, är hårt limmat och i mitt tycke värt att testa. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Arches Watercolour, Bright White

This is part four of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Arches Watercolour, Bright White, rough and cold press. Hot press is tested in a separate post. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Arches Watercolour, Bright White


  • Finish and weight: Rough and cold press, 140 lb. (300 gsm) (for hot press, read this post)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free, no optical brightening agents, fungicidal treatment to prevent mold
  • Manufacturing: Cylinder mould
  • Sizing: Sized to the core with natural gelatin
  • Website info


Paper color


Arches Bright White is actually a slightly warm and creamy white.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, watercolors look quite bright on this surface.

Arches Watercolour, Bright White, cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Arches Watercolour, Bright White, rough with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


The cold press paper is less visibly textured than Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor, yet shows off granulation patterns in a slightly grainier way. Both cold press and rough feel quite rough to the touch and to the brush.

The rough paper has a pebbled texture that is very noticeable on the unpainted paper, yet the texture becomes less prominent and looks much like a cold press paper once painted on. This paper is an  alternative to Arches cold press for those who desire slightly more texture!


Paper sizing and absorbency


The cold press is sized, but feels very absorbent in comparison to Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor. The rough paper is even more thirsty.

Note that, due to the natural gelatin sizing, Arches watercolor paper smells a bit when wet.

Arches Watercolour, Bright White, cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Arches Watercolour, Bright White, rough with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


This paper cockles just like the other watercolor papers if left unstretched. The rough paper cockles too much to be used unstretched for a wet painting, similar to Fabriano Artistico rough, as the paint settles in the valleys of the paper and creates backruns.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


The surface feels rough for both pencil and pen and ghosting remains after deletion. The cold press is the least rough of the two. Pen lines look a bit jagged. Brush and ink dry unevenly due to the absorbency of the paper.


Cost and availability


I only found Arches Watercolour Bright White available as sheets online. (Natural White is also available in blocks, pads, and rolls). 
  • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $10.90, online it can be found for less than half that price, about $4.50.


History and continuity


The Arches paper mill in France was founded in 1492. In 1956, four paper mills merged, one of them Arches, to create the paper group Arjomari ("AR" for Arches). In 1976, they acquired Canson & Montgolfier. In 1991, Arjomari merged with Anglo-American paper company WTA to become Arjo Wiggins. Since 2011, Arches belongs to the Swedish-Finnish paper group Munksjö Oyj, which became a publicly traded company in 2013.

The watercolor paper is still made in Arches, a small town in the east of France. Arches is, together with Strathmore, one of the most widely available papers in the United States. I could not find any exact dates for introduction due to its long history, but the Bright White is a more recent paper than the Natural White.


Conclusion


Arches cold press is a good option for cold press paper of 100% cotton, but I did not find it worked as well with pen or pencil due to the rough and absorbent surface texture. If you like Arches cold press, you might want to try Arches rough as the results are similar! Note that, if you are sensitive to smells, you might want to test one sheet before buying a large batch.


Översättning. Arches Watercolour är ett franskt akvarellpapper som kommer från ett pappersbruk som grundades 1492 i Arches i Frankrike där det fortfarande tillverkas. Det är ett av världens mest kända akvarellpapper. Arches är ett papper av 100% bomull med limning av naturlig gelatin, vilket orsakar en speciell lukt när papperet är vått. Trots namnet så är Bright White inte helvitt utan drar åt det varma hållet, dock är det vitare än Natural White.

I jämförelse med Strathmores papper så är Arches ytstruktur mindre framträdande i både fin och grov gräng men granulerande pigment framträder ändå. Arches känns även strävare mot både pensel och penna och absorberar en hel del vatten. Utan fuktspänning så bucklar det vid vätning, speciellt den grova grängen. För den som vill ha lite mer ytstruktur så är grov gräng ett populärt alternativ till fin gräng.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Strathmore Imperial, Gemini, Aquarius II, all 500 Series

This is part three of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Strathmore 500 Series Imperial (cold press and hot press), Gemini (rough and cold press), and Aquarius II. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Strathmore 500 Series Imperial


  • Finish and weight: Cold press and hot press, 140 lb. (300 gsm)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free
  • Sizing: Hard surface sizing
  • Website info


Paper color


This paper is white.


Watercolor brightness


Yes, the watercolors retain their brightness on this paper.

Strathmore 500 Series Imperial cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Imperial hot press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


The texture belongs to the same family as Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor and Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut. To the touch it feels softer, more like the 400 Series Watercolor. Similar to Ready Cut, the hot press paper texture is really more like a softer cold press than a smooth hot press paper. Both papers, but especially the cold press, show beautiful granulation patterns.


Paper sizing and absorbency


This is a hard sized paper with some backruns. Paint edges as well as pen lines appear a bit jagged due to the sizing.

Strathmore 500 Series Imperial cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Imperial hot press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


Yes, similar to Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut if used unstretched.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


Pencil lines appear dark and sink in a bit so marks remain after deleting. Pen lines appear a bit jagged due to the sizing, more so on the hot press paper. Ink strokes look less black and glossy and dry a bit unevenly.


Cost and availability


Strathmore 500 Series Imperial is available in sheets.
  • List price for one 22”x30” sheet is $7.95, online it can be found for about two dollars less.


History and continuity


This paper was introduced in 1949 as Artist, and was indeed the artist counterpart to Strathmore’s Student paper (later 400 Series Watercolor). The name Imperial was introduced in the early 1980’s. This paper is still made in the United States. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


Conclusion


Both the Imperial cold press and hot press are good choices if you like Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor but are looking for a 100% cotton option. Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut, cold press and hot press, are two other options which are also hard sized.

There used to be a very nice sampler pack available from Strathmore with Imperial, Gemini, and Aquarius II, which I would love to see brought back to the stores, including Ready Cut! I am a big fan of sampler packs, because how else will you easily and without a great expense discover other great papers?!


Översättning. Strathmore 500 Series Imperial är ett amerikanskt akvarellpapper som lanserades på 1940-talet liksom deras 400 Series Watercolor. Då var 400 Series Watercolor studentalternativet medan Imperial var konstnärsalternativet.

Som tidigare nämnts så påminner Imperial till ytstrukturen mycket om Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor, liksom Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut. Både Imperial och Ready Cut är bra alternativ i 100% bomull till 400 Series Watercolor. Liksom Ready Cut så är den varmpressade grängen mer av en mjukare kallpressad yta. Papperet är hårt limmat, så blomningar är mer framträdande speciellt om mycket vatten används och tuschlinjer kan bli lite ojämna.



Strathmore 500 Series Gemini


  • Finish and weight: Rough and cold press, 140 lb. (300 gsm)
  • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free
  • Manufacturing: Cylinder mould
  • Website info


Paper color


A creamy white color, the darkest/most yellow of the papers tested.


Watercolor brightness


Colors appear more subdued on this paper, due to less contrast between colors and paper and also since this is a more absorbent paper.

Strathmore 500 Series Gemini cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Gemini rough with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper texture


The cold press texture is similar to both Strathmore 500 Series Imperial (see above) and Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut, but the surface is rougher.

The texture pattern of the rough surface is too pronounced for my taste if you use large granulating washes, as a diagonal direction then becomes visible. The surface feels almost felt-like to the touch.


Paper sizing and absorbency


This paper is very thirsty, so although water sinks in, the colors keep spreading. It has less sizing than Imperial so no backruns. Still, there are jagged paint outlines similar to Imperial, especially with the cold press.
 
Strathmore 500 Series Gemini cold press with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Strathmore 500 Series Gemini rough with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Paper cockling


The cold press cockles similar to the other watercolor papers if unstretched and the rough paper cockles more, as is usually the case with rough papers.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


The surface is rougher than Imperial, so pencil lines are darker, sink in more, and indentations remain after deletion.

The paper is too absorbent for some of my pens. Brush and ink work better, albeit not turning out as glossy as some other papers. The rougher paper surface is visible through the ink surface. Jagged edges are due to the coarse texture.


Cost and availability


Strathmore 500 Series Gemini is available in sheets.
  • List price for one 22”x30” sheet is $9.29, online it can be found for around $5 per sheet.


History and continuity


The current grade of this paper was introduced in 1989. This paper is, together with Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II (see below), one of only two of Strathmore’s watercolor papers which is made in England. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


Conclusion


This is a creamy white paper, the darkest of the papers tested, and a rather rough and thirsty paper with an almost felt-like surface. The paper is too dark, absorbent, and textured for my purposes, but I think it would work well as a softer background for portraiture, figure painting, or landscapes, for example. The manufacturer states that it takes scrubbing and abuse well, something I did not test.



Översättning. Strathmore 500 Series Gemini är ett amerikanskt akvarellpapper i 100% bomull som har funnits sedan 1989 och som har en mörkare yta än Strathmore 500 Series Imperial och Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut. Ytan är grövre och papperet törstigare. Ytans dovare färg och högre absorption gör att färgerna ser mer dämpade ut. Detta papper är alltför mörkt för mig, men jag kan tänka mig att detta papper skulle passa bra som en mjukare bakgrund till porträtt, figurmåleri eller landskap.



Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II


  • Finish and weight: Cold press, 80 lb. (170 gsm) 
  • Composition: A blend of cotton and synthetic fibers, acid free
  • Website info


Paper color


White.


Watercolor brightness


This is a very absorbent paper so the colors appear a bit more subdued. If you like to try this paper, try using more paint and less water than I did!

Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.




 

Paper texture


The surface feels fairly flat and almost fabric-like to the touch, yet not completely smooth. Despite its relatively smooth look, texture is visible with granulating colors.


Paper sizing and absorbency


Due to its composition, this is a very absorbent paper, with slight feathering seen in pen lines.

Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II with watercolors
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

 

 

Paper cockling


The fiber blend is made to resist buckling without stretching when using light and medium washes. I, however, used a heavy wash as I worked with pouring of colors and water and experienced cockling of the unstretched paper similar to the other watercolor papers.


Pencil/pen/brush and ink


The paper surface feels quite soft, so pencil lines sink in and indents remain after deletion. With pen, some feathering can be seen due to the absorbency, especially with Pigma Micron. Ink strokes are more gray due to the absorbency.


Cost and availability


Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II is available in sheets.
  • List price for one 22”x30” sheet is $7.29, online it can be found for about three dollars less.


History and continuity


This paper was first introduced in the early 1980s and is, together with Strathmore 500 Series Gemini (see above), one of only two of Strathmore’s watercolor papers which is made in England. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


Conclusion


For my purposes, Aquarius II is too absorbent. It may be worth testing if you don’t use too much water and are looking for a paper that resists buckling. However, you will need to use more paint and less water in order to get vibrant colors since the paper is very absorbent.


Översättning. Strathmore 500 Series Aquarius II  är ett amerikanskt akvarellpapper som introducerades i början av 1980-talet. Det är tillverkat av en blandning av bomull och syntetiska fibrer för att motverka buckling, men bucklar ändå om man använder så mycket vatten som jag gjorde i mitt test. Ytan är mycket absorberande vilket gör att färgerna ser blekare ut. Om du är nyfiken på detta papper så rekommenderar jag att använda mindre vatten och mer färg än jag gjorde.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Compare watercolor papers: Strathmore Ready Cut, 500 Series

This is part two of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut, cold press and hot press. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers and this post for conclusions.


Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut


    • Finish and weight: Cold press and hot press, 140 lb. (300 gsm)
    • Composition: 100% cotton, acid free
    • Sizing: Hard sizing
    • Website info


    Paper color


    This paper is slightly cooler (whiter) than the Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor.


    Watercolor brightness


    Yes, the colors remain bright as long as they are relatively saturated.

    Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut cold press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
    © 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

    Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut hot press with watercolors, pencil, pen, brush and ink
    © 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

     

    Paper texture


    As mentioned earlier, several of Strathmore’s papers have a similar texture. Ready Cut belongs to the same family as Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor and Strathmore 500 Series Imperial. All of these show granulating colors nicely, especially in large washes.

    The Ready Cut hot press paper, just like the Imperial hot press, is really more of a softer cold press than a smooth hot press and shows off granulation with more of a "cloudy" texture.


    Paper sizing and absorbency


    The cold press surface feels both harder to the touch and harder sized than the 400 Series Watercolor, and is a little abrasive to the brush (the brush makes a slight noise when painting).

    The hot press surface is harder sized than the cold press, but still no backruns in my test.

    Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut cold press with watercolors
    © 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

    Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut hot press with watercolors
    © 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

    Paper cockling


    Yes, but less than the 400 Series Watercolor if used unstretched.


    Pen/pencil/brush and ink


    Both cold press and hot press feel harder, smoother and a bit less responsive than the 400 Series Watercolor. They also feel a bit less rough for pencil and pen work. Due to the harder sizing, pencil lines are less black and delete well. Lines on the hot press paper delete the best of the Strathmore papers, on the cold press some ghosting remains. Ink strokes are less black, less glossy and dry unevenly. For a similar but more responsive paper, see Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor (but this paper is not 100% cotton).


    Cost and availability


    Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut is available only as “Ready Cut” packs of sheets and neither as pads nor larger sheets.
    • List price for a pack of six 11”x14” sheets (the largest size) is $11.19, online it can be found for around $7.

    Since I prefer a different size of paper, this lack of choice is inconvenient, but as the paper is very good in my opinion, I hope it will soon come in more choices. On my wishlist are sizes such as 9"x12" and 18 x24" pads as well as professional size 20”x30” sheets - and a different and more appropriate name!


    History and continuity


    This paper is fairly new to the market (2011) and so far only available in the “Ready Cut” format. I hope that Strathmore will make this paper a permanent member of their portfolio as I find it well suited for modern watercolor painting; it is a very white paper, 100% cotton, with hard sizing, reminding me a bit of Canson’s latest rollout Moulin du Roy but harder sized. It is made in the United States. For more information about Strathmore, see this post.


    Conclusion


    This paper is a good choice if you like Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor but are looking for a 100% cotton paper. The hot press paper is really just a different, softer, version of the cold press, so that is another option. Another alternative is the Strathmore 500 Series Imperial. Both cold press and hot press feel a bit harder and more abrasive to the brush or pen due to the hard sizing and pen lines are slightly less black.


    Översättning. Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut är ett nyare papper från 2011 som påminner lite om Canson’s nysatsning Moulin du Roy men är hårdare limmat. Ready Cut är ett vitt, hårt limmat papper av 100% bomull som ännu så länge bara finns tillgängligt som ark i mindre format.

    Ytstrukturen ingår i samma familj som Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor och Strathmore 500 Series Imperial och liksom Imperial är den släta grängen mer av en mjukare fingrängad yta. Ready Cut är, liksom Imperial, ett bra alternativ av 100% bomull till 400 Series Watercolor.

    Liksom 400 Series Watercolor framhäver ytstrukturen granulerande pigment och den hårdare limningen tillåter vidarearbetning av färgen. Dock känns ytan hårdare och mindre responsiv och både blyerts och tuschpenna får en lite gråare ton.

    Monday, August 8, 2016

    Compare watercolor papers: Strathmore Watercolor, 400 Series

    This is part one of twelve in my series of watercolor paper tests, comparisons, and reviews. Here I am testing Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor. See this post for introduction and photos of all the papers tested and this post for conclusions.


    Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor


    • Finish and weight: Cold press, 140 lb. (300 gsm)  
    • Composition: Acid free
    • Website info


    Paper color


    This paper is (a slightly warm) white.


    Watercolor brightness


    Yes, watercolors retain their brightness as long as they are relatively saturated and not too diluted.

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

    Paper texture


    The texture of this paper is similar to both Strathmore 500 Series Imperial and Strathmore 500 Series Ready Cut. This texture works well for a cold press paper as there is enough texture to show granulation, yet it is not too prominent or noticeable. The 400 Series Watercolor paper feels a bit softer to the touch than the 500 Series Ready Cut.


    Paper sizing and absorbency


    The sizing also works well. Since the paint does not soak in immediately, it allows for some reworking yet does not take too long to dry. Just the right amount of water is needed, not too much or the colors will keep spreading, and not too little. I did not get any backruns.

    However, one thing to watch out for is that the sizing is sometimes unevenly applied at the factory and clustered up on the sheet, distorting the texture so that the sheet cannot be used in full.

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

    Paper cockling


    As with most papers in this test, if you use watercolors without stretching the paper, the paper will cockle and the distortions remain after drying.


    Pencil/pen/brush and ink


    Since the surface is both more textured and softer than the 500 Series Ready Cut, I can feel the texture as I draw and pencil lines look darker on the paper. Be careful if you need to delete as some of the surface may come off.

    With pen on the other hand, the surface feels surprisingly smooth. My Uniball Vision fine pen renders nice and glossy black lines, whereas the lines of Staedtler Pigment Liner are more gray and Pigma Micron feathers a bit.

    With brush and ink I get glossy black strokes.


    Cost and availability


    Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor is one of the most widely available watercolor papers in the United States, both at art stores and online, and comes in pads, blocks, sheets, and rolls.
    • List price for a 22”x30” sheet is $3.15, online it can be found for about $2.
    • List price for an 18”x24” wire bound pad with 12 sheets is $32.39, online it can be found for about $20.


    History and continuity


    Strathmore was founded in 1892 in Massachusetts and was named after the Valley of Strathmore in Scotland. The founder Horace Moses visited this area a few years after founding his company and found it so beautiful that he selected not only the name Strathmore but also the thistle, in full bloom at the time, as symbol for his paper company. Since 2006, Strathmore is owned by Pacon Corporation in Wisconsin.

    The 400 Series Watercolor paper was introduced in 1940 as Student, changed name to Alexis in 1952, and to 400 Series Watercolor in 1974. Its Artist’s counterpart is the 500 Series Imperial. In short, this paper has been around for a long time, is widely used, and can easily be found in most art stores. It is made in the United States.


    Conclusion


    I have used this paper for many years so I am quite familiar with it. It handles well, has good texture and sizing, is cost efficient, and widely available. I like that its texture works well with granulation, that the paint does not sink in immediately but can be reworked for a short time, and that it is quite responsive to pen and pencil lines.

    One drawback, shared with the other papers tested, is cockling if you paint without pre-stretching, another the fact that the sizing at times is unevenly applied at the factory.


    Översättning. Strathmore grundades 1892 i Massachusetts i USA och fick sitt namn från Strathmoredalen i Skottland. Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor är ett akvarellpapper som har funnits sedan 1940-talet och som ligger på liknande nivå som Canson Montval, syrafritt men ej 100% bomull. I USA är det både prisvärt och lätt att få tag i.

    Under åren har det blivit ett av mina favoriter med en ytstruktur som framhäver granulerande pigment utan att vara alltför iögonfallande, en limning som tillåter bearbetning av färgen innan den torkar in utan att vara alltför hård, och en responsiv yta som tar både blyerts och tusch väl. 

    Dock får man se upp för buckling om man använder mycket vatten utan att spänna upp papperet innan (detta gäller överlag alla de akvarellpapper jag testat), samt för anhopning av limning på vissa papper vilket gör att hela arket inte kan användas.