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A guide to artist watercolor paper

Artistic Watercolor Paper

Artistic Watercolor paper is 100% cotton made, acid free and it assures to maintain its characteristics. But there are two specifications you will find in all brands of paper that are really important at the time to select which paper to use: weight and surface


Commonly expressed in grams or lb, the higher the number it says the heavier the paper. If you use a paper heavier enough, let’s say 300 gr you will find you will not need to stretch it, so it will be easier to use with no wrinkling. You will see some “waves” when the paper is really wet, but it will go stretched when dried.


Watercolor paper is made in a mould where cotton fibers are disposed in an even layer, along with some gelatin. But the surface depends on the next step, and then we find us reading about mainly cold pressed, hot pressed and rough, this tell us about surface.

Cold Pressed

it is a surface in the middle of smooth and rough.  Ater the mould  of paper is created, it is then milled through a set of cylinders to have the cotton fiber layed donw and because those cylinders are cold, that’s the name

Hot Pressed

similar to the Cold Pressed in procedure but using hot cylinders, something like ironing your clothes, then the surface is the smoother we will find


in this paper there is no process though cylinders so it has a rough surface with the highest tooth of any watercolor paper.


watercolor paper surface

watercolor paper surface

But what do you need? It depends on the kind of painting you are lookin for. If you want to go to detail probably your paper will be Hot Pressed. If you want to go loose, probably you will use Rough paper. And Cold Pressed is in the middle of the other two. So try different surfaces and find the best for your use.

Watecolors Painting


  1. Good article, and the only thing basically I would add is sometimes the Cold Pressed Papers are labeled as “Not” meaning not Hot Pressed! Thanks!

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