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Old 08-11-2013, 06:38 AM   #1
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Default Smoothest watercolor paper

Watercoloring is my favorite way to color a stamped image, and I'm constantly searching for a high quality watercolor paper with the smoothest surface to get a clean stamped image on. Anyone have any favorites?
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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I still love 140 lb cold press the best because I like the rough surface but when I need super smooth I use Arches hot press... smooth but still has great water hold.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:55 AM   #3
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So far, Langton HP from Daler Rowney. I think it's 140lb (not at home, can't check). It's not the whitest, but definitely the smoothest of the many I have tried. But then, it's the only HP I've tried.
Heresy to DH, since we used to work for the company that distributed Canson, Arches and Winsor & Newton papers here. When my budget allows I want to get some Arches HP, but there are only two shops in Ireland where I can get it.
I have to say that I also have a 140 Not/Rough which I get pretty perfect impressions on even with Stampavie clear stamps, which are very detailed. I'll check what that one is when I get home tomorrow - I'm fairly sure it's Winsor and Newton Artist's Watercolour paper.
Fabriano is also on my list to try, since I've seen many people recommend it. Putting a shopping list together for a UK supplier, since I've never seen it even in any of the high-end art shops here.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:57 AM   #4
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I'm awaiting an order of the new Ranger/Tim Holtz wc paper. Tim's post about it is here: ranger sneak peek 2013? | Tim Holtz (It's available in 8.5 x 11, also.)
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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So far, Langton HP from Daler Rowney. I think it's 140lb (not at home, can't check).
I'm with Sabrina on this one - The Langton is my go-to HP paper when I want to watercolour a stamped image. It's smooth enough to handle detailed images, I'll see if I can find one to attach. It's definitely a creamy white or ivory rather than a bright white but as long as you don't try teaming it with a very bright white cardbase I don't find that an issue. I think truly white HP watercolour paper is extremely rare and correspondingly expensive!
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
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I'm with Sabrina on this one - The Langton is my go-to HP paper when I want to watercolour a stamped image. It's smooth enough to handle detailed images, I'll see if I can find one to attach. It's definitely a creamy white or ivory rather than a bright white but as long as you don't try teaming it with a very bright white cardbase I don't find that an issue. I think truly white HP watercolour paper is extremely rare and correpsondingly expensive!

Wow - that's stunning!

Okay I've never seen that brand so I'll look for that. I do have some Arches 140 lb hot press - I sort of hoard it because it is a little spendy.

Off to check out the Ranger!
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:27 PM   #7
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I usually use Arches. I'm wanting to try the Fabriano, but haven't bought any yet. Neither is terribly expensive at my local art stores, like $6 a sheet or something. My cold press blocks I use for watercolors are WAY more expensive!
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:03 PM   #8
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I googled "smoothest+watercolor+paper" and this link came up - I like that they have photos of the paper swatches so you can see the texture. I have a couple pads of Fabriano (but not the lines shown in the link) and they make me swoon.

Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Watercolor Paper

My favorite surface ever to watercolor on is the Fabriano Medioevalis stationery line... ohmygoodness. I have ONE left and I can't bring myself to use it.

Fabriano Medioevalis Stationery - BLICK art materials
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:06 PM   #9
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I like watercolor paper with some cotton content too - this one Fabriano pad I have is 25% cotton.

Fabriano Studio Watercolor Pads - BLICK art materials
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:26 PM   #10
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And now I am blaming you for yet another Blick purchase that just sort of happened...
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #11
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And now I am blaming you for yet another Blick purchase that just sort of happened...

What? After all of you have been enabling me?? I am innocent!! LOL
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #12
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I usually use Arches. I'm wanting to try the Fabriano, but haven't bought any yet. Neither is terribly expensive at my local art stores, like $6 a sheet or something. My cold press blocks I use for watercolors are WAY more expensive!
Okay so do you tend to buy the big sheets instead of pads? Maybe that's why I haven't seen some of these brands yet....
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:29 PM   #13
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What? After all of you have been enabling me?? I am innocent!! LOL
I actually had this thought as I was scrolling down to your reply... serves me right, doesn't it!! LOL
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:42 PM   #14
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im an Arches 140lb Hotpress watercolor paper fan! I have never used it for crafting only for my watercolor art so far and it can take a lot of water, alcohol, salt etc.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:31 AM   #15
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Wow - that's stunning!

Okay I've never seen that brand so I'll look for that. I do have some Arches 140 lb hot press - I sort of hoard it because it is a little spendy.

Off to check out the Ranger!
I hoard my hot press, too, because they cost me so much more than the cold press. I cut up a large sheet (purchased at a local art shop) and now I am wondering if I even know where I stored the pieces. Yikes!
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:07 AM   #16
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Okay I've never seen that brand so I'll look for that.
Hmm, I just had a little Google and looks like there might be a cross-Pond issue on this one. I can see US stockists of the Langton Prestige papers (Dick Blick for a start) but not of the hot press papers. Sorry Lydia! Hope some of the other recommendations work out for you.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:10 AM   #17
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I can't speak to the smoothness or other characteristics, but this conversation prompted me to look a J's this morning. They sell a brand, Loew-Cornell Simply Art. It's half pad of HP and half pad CP, both 90 lb. 9x12 inches per sheet. 13CP sheets and 12HP sheets. I thought it was about $7 and I gave them a coupon, but looking at my receipt it indicates clearance at $4.49. They also have artist pad packs at $1 for 15, 5x7 sheets of 96 lb., made by Royal Brush Mfg. under the brand Royal Langnickel essentials. I'm pretty sure this is CP.

Good prices for starting out.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:19 PM   #18
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I'm awaiting an order of the new Ranger/Tim Holtz wc paper. Tim's post about it is here: ranger sneak peek 2013? | Tim Holtz (It's available in 8.5 x 11, also.)
I can't wait to see reviews about this paper. Hopefully someone will put out a video on it soon.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:36 PM   #19
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I can't wait to see reviews about this paper. Hopefully someone will put out a video on it soon.
Tim talks about it in this video: CHA Summer 2013 - Ranger Ink - Tim Holtz Distress Marker Techniques - YouTube
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:17 AM   #20
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Default Big sheets instead of small sheets

I buy what I can find and afford. I do buy pads of large papers and then cut them down to what size fits my images. Sometimes it is a stamped image of a flower pot and some flowers coming out of it - so maybe 2x3" Most time I cut up one sheet ahead of time into the largest that I would use for a card -5x7"s. I keep them in a large Zip-Lock bag so moisture doesn't get in and they are ready for me to stamp and paint on. The porch stamp is from Art Impressions as are all the flower stamps used to fill in the blank areas on the porch image. Phyllis
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:34 PM   #21
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Love this idea! I don't have distress markers...yet, but I do have some Tombows I think might work on that paper.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:56 PM   #22
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I scribble my Marvy Markers onto a white piece of plastic and pick up the color from there with a damp #4 water color brush. Works great.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:09 PM   #23
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Okay so do you tend to buy the big sheets instead of pads? Maybe that's why I haven't seen some of these brands yet....
Yes...I buy full sheets. It really is less expensive that way and it's the only way to get the higher quality papers. And I have several options for stores...Jerry's is here in Ft Collins, there's the university bookstore (don't overlook those...they're a great place to shop), and while the variety is severely limited, Hobby Lobby carries some...and I can use a coupon! I usually go there for 300 pound cold press.

But I buy blocks for watercolor paintings. They are $56...$75...over $100. That's a big drop in the bucket.

I haven't ever seen hot press in pads or tablets, just cold press. And most stores around here carry those in Canson and Strathmore...some Arches. They're okay but aren't the best.

I use fabriano tiepolo for zentangle...and it is a lovely paper to work with. You might try it for your watercolor. Pretty smooth with just a hint of texture. It's classed for printmaking since it is smoother but is suitable for watercolor as well. Weight is 290 gsm or 140 pound. It's $6.78 a sheet at Dick Blick. I have some in my cart, but they're out of stock for a couple of weeks. I intend to try it for watercoloring on cards when it comes...
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:30 AM   #24
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I buy sheets or pads, whatever I can find. Sheets are cheaper, but unless I cut them down when I get them, a bit more unwieldy for storage.
Problem is I had two really nice sheets that were quite white but I can't remember what brand it was, LOL.
Over here Arches HP definitely comes in blocks, I remember that from many a stocktake!! And yes, I always thought the blocks seemed pricey. We sold a lot more sheets.

Some Fabriano Classico waiting for me to pick up when it stops raining.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:26 PM   #25
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Another vote here for The Langton Prestige by Daler-Rowney (140 lb or more accurately, 300 gsm), 100% cotton. I found it at Hobby Lobby; comes in a pad of 12 sheets for $14.99; and you can use a coupon. Look for the one with the creamy orange cover.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:59 PM   #26
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When time to shop I always forget if I want hot or cold... NO CLUE what the difference is (other than how made??) LOL

I bought Inktense papers and don't like the rough stuff (bumpy) Dina told me about one kind, but I forgot was it was, not wanting note cards (link)...

I bought some stuff at M's that feels smooth and it was a pad, brown cover... can't remember the name...

I am trying Gelli printing also...can the papers be universal?
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:12 AM   #27
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KJ...
Hot, cold, rough...think ironing. If you iron hot it makes for smooth fabric, if you iron cool, it doesn't flatten as much. hehehehe

Smoothish in a pad with brown cover is Strathmore paper.

Watercolor papers that are lighter weight and smoother kind of overlap into the area of printmaking papers, which are also smoother. The Fabriano Tiepolo that I mentioned earlier is a paper that can be used either way. I'm not sure about the differences in the sizing that's put on watercolor vs printmaking, though.

Just remember that weight of paper does not totally equate with thickness. Thickness is influenced by how much pressure is placed on the rollers when rolling to a uniform thickness, or pressing to a uniform thickness. So not all 140 pound papers are equal when it comes to thickness.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:38 AM   #28
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KJ...
Hot, cold, rough...think ironing. If you iron hot it makes for smooth fabric, if you iron cool, it doesn't flatten as much..
Brilliant! I'll always remember now!!
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:46 AM   #29
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Lyddie, have you tried mixed media paper for watercoloring?
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:53 AM   #30
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Lyddie, have you tried mixed media paper for watercoloring?
I have - and while I love it for gelli printing, it's not my favorite for watercolor. The surface is too soft and the pigment soaks in a little more - I think that's just a preference thing - I like my color to "float" for a while while I work on it.
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:50 AM   #31
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I picked up my Fabriano Classico Satinata yesterday from the depot. It looks smooth as smooth, and is quite a bit whiter than the Daler Rowney Langton. Tonight I hope to stamp on it and try it out, I'll let you know how it works out.
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Re the Fabriano Classico - very smooth, lots of time to move your colour round.
I tried to take a photo to show how much whiter it is than the Langton,but the photo doesn't show as much contrast as there is IRL. I guess I could play around with the RAW file to get it to look closer to reality - but probably evening light is part of the problem and a daylight photo tomorrow might be more worth showing and much easier than messing around with the white balance .
It gets a thumbs-up from me. Once it was matted onto something I'd be happy using it on a white card base which is a bonus.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #33
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Quote:
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KJ...
Hot, cold, rough...think ironing. If you iron hot it makes for smooth fabric, if you iron cool, it doesn't flatten as much. hehehehe

Smoothish in a pad with brown cover is Strathmore paper.

Watercolor papers that are lighter weight and smoother kind of overlap into the area of printmaking papers, which are also smoother. The Fabriano Tiepolo that I mentioned earlier is a paper that can be used either way. I'm not sure about the differences in the sizing that's put on watercolor vs printmaking, though.

Just remember that weight of paper does not totally equate with thickness. Thickness is influenced by how much pressure is placed on the rollers when rolling to a uniform thickness, or pressing to a uniform thickness. So not all 140 pound papers are equal when it comes to thickness.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:16 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by dini View Post
Lyddie, have you tried mixed media paper for watercoloring?
THAT is what I have in the brown cover... Mixed Media paper!!! I'll have to see if I like that! I prefer my watercolors to behave like my bodies I throw into the water... SINK! that floating thing makes me get it all gobbledy gooed up!!!!
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:38 AM   #35
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Interesting thread. I've been on the hunt for a SMOOTH watercolor paper and haven't found it yet. I'm interested to see what the verdict on the new Ranger paper is.

What is a block of watercolor paper? I'm envisioning like a solid cement block. How do you cut a sheet out of a block?? LOL!
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:26 AM   #36
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What is a block of watercolor paper? I'm envisioning like a solid cement block. How do you cut a sheet out of a block?? LOL!
It can be just like a regular pad (gummed together at one short edge) or, perhaps more commonly if people say "block" when talking about watercolour paper it can mean that the sheets are gummer together round all four sides - you'd just slide something like a pallette knife in to separate off the top sheet each time.
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:33 AM   #37
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It can be just like a regular pad (gummed together at one short edge) or, perhaps more commonly if people say "block" when talking about watercolour paper it can mean that the sheets are gummer together round all four sides - you'd just slide something like a pallette knife in to separate off the top sheet each time.
Ohhhh like the watercolor paper I bought from CHF before Liz closed up shop? That was the hardest thing EVER to get a sheet off of....... sheesh! I ripped up like 10 sheets of paper before I figured out to slide a knife into one teensy little corner. So that's a block.....
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:10 PM   #38
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I never saw the paper from CHF Holly but yes, that sounds like a block!
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:03 PM   #39
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Another vote here for The Langton Prestige by Daler-Rowney (140 lb or more accurately, 300 gsm), 100% cotton. I found it at Hobby Lobby; comes in a pad of 12 sheets for $14.99; and you can use a coupon. Look for the one with the creamy orange cover.
I'm with you Linda! I loved that paper. Unfortunately, our HL has discontinued selling it Had to order from Blick's to find some HP paper.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:12 PM   #40
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Like Joann said, it is a stack of pre-cut paper that has padding compound (glue) all the way around...except for a little section in the center of the long side. That's so you can slip a butter knife or palette knife in and remove one sheet.

The advantage to a block...as opposed to a pad (gummed on one edge) or a tablet (spiral bound) is that you don't have to fasten the paper to a board for painting. The glued block functions as a board. It also has a super-thick, totally inflexible chipboard back.

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