Pen and Wash - Which Watercolor Paper to Use

By: Harmon R Thompson

Pen and Wash - Which Watercolor Paper to Use

Finding the right kind of watercolor paper for your pen and wash is a smart start. How do want your pen and ink lines to show? Will your watercolor wash dry to the right textural affect? What are you trying to say in your artwork? Okay, enough questions. Now, the answers. There are three features of watercolor paper you want to consider.

Surface

There are three grades of surface in watercolor paper. Which one you will use depends on how much detail you want to create. The texture of the paper will dictate the final result of your effort.

Hot pressed (HP) has a smooth surface. It allows watercolor paint to glide easily and excellent for pen and ink detail.

Cold-pressed (CP or NOT) has a semi-rough surface. This is the most popular pick because the paint flows evenly and permits reasonable detail.

Oh, NOT means not hot pressed.

Rough ® has a rough surface. This is good for loose textural effects, but not so much for detail. Consider the nib of your pen when working on this texture. The surface of the paper can have a dramatic affect on your instrument. A rough surface will give resistance, produce an inconsistent mark and may damage the finer nibs.

Weight

Watercolor paper comes in different thickness, or weight. Which one you will use depends on how aggressive you will treat the paper. The heavier the paper, the thicker it is, the less it will buckle will take a beating when wet. The following three are the most widely used.

90 lb - inexpensive to work on, it's prone to buckling when wet and should be stretched first before use.

140 lb - this is the most popular pick. It has sufficient texture to hold the paint but is smooth enough to enable you to paint and draw fine detail. It won't buckle as much as the 90 lb.

300 lb - this is the easiest to work with because it rarely buckles and it's resilient to work on. Also, this heavier paper absorbs more water and stays wet longer than the other weight.

How they are sold

Watercolor papers are sold in different ways. They come in different surface, weight and size. Which one you will use depend on personal choice and if you will work indoors or outdoors.

Sketch Journals, or sketchbooks,are easy to carry around outdoors wherever you go. They are held together on one side by glue or spiral. Be sure the backing is stiff enough to rest on your lap flat or you will need a sketch board to hold your journal.

Pads and Blocks are watercolor paper held by glue on one or four sides, respectfully. When you ready to begin a pen and wash just remove a sheet from the pad and begin your project. Blocks do not need stretching before painting since it is already secured on all four sides. Once you are finished simply remove the sheet carefully.

Sheets are sold individually. They come in full sheets (22 in. by 30 in.), half sheets (15 in. by 22 in.) and quarter sheets (15 in. by 11 in.). You have the convenience of cutting these sheets into many smaller pieces to fit your need.

Miscellaneous

Select watercolor paper that is noted archival. This means the paper will survive deterioration for at least a century. Pick watercolor paper that is noted acid-free. Doing so, will insure the watercolor paper will not yellow with age.

Choosing the right watercolor paper for your next pen and wash is easy when you know what you are looking for. Be informed, be prudent, and be creative. Enjoy.

About the Author:
And now I like to invite you to my website: [http://penandwashpassion.com/ -- this site may no longer be online] for more revealing articles on pen and wash, and neat essential art products you'll want to have a fun and rewarding experience. Hi, this is Harmon Thompson and I love pen and wash! Also, check out my blog: http://watercolorpaint.wordpress.com/ where we can share our passion for pen and wash painting.


Easy pen and wash with Alan Owen



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