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Understanding Watercolour Paper

Types of Watercolour Paper

There are three types of paper which have different textures;


Hot Pressed (HP)

This is very smooth and is most suitable for detailed work


Not (Cold Pressed)

Meaning not hot pressed, also referred to as cold pressed. It is good for loose washes and detailed work. This is the most popular paper for beginners


Rough Paper

This takes very loose washes and is good for leaving some white paper behind as you drag your brush over the rough surface e.g. to create a sparkle on water


Paper Weight

Paper comes in a variety of weights;





This means that the 90lb paper is much thinner than the 300lb. If you want to paint with loose washes, a heavier paper is preferable as the paper will not cockle. However cockling can be prevented on thinner paper by 'stretching'.


To do this you need to wet your paper on both sides with cold water. Lay it flat on a drawing board, then stick it down with dampened brown gummed paper. Leave to dry naturally and do not remove the tape until the painting is complete.