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Watercolor paper part III

A guide on how to select paper for watercolor painting

Weight of paper

We continue talking about professional watercolor paper. Another important characteristic is paper weight.

We will find several paper weights, expressed in lb or gsm. There is a range available, but most common used paper weights are 140lb  or 300 lb (300 gsm or 640 gsm).

If you use less than 140 lb, and you work wet on wet, the paper tends to present waves, a non desirable effect, so to avoid it you must stretch the paper previous to use it.

When using 140 lb, usually there is no need to pre-stretch the paper, and the surface lets you work better.

Using higher weights as 300 lb, increases costs and does not add too much to the watercolorist, except for some special works.

So our suggestion is the use of 140 lb (300 gsm).

In addition, each brand has different behavior, so you must try brands and surfaces in order to select the paper that best fit to your work.

Another factor to have in mind is color, not all the whites are the same white, try and find “your” paper.

Next part will be about size, sheets, rolls or blocks… another decision

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