Watercolor Paper Basics Watercolor Paper Finishes Watercolor Paper Reviews

Watercolor Paper Reviews

Do you ever wonder what type of watercolor to use for a painting? Painting experts recommend so many choices it's overwhelming. Professional artist Jennifer Branch reviews each type of paper and why you should use it or n ot use it for different paintings. You'll know how to choose the best papers for your paintings.

Please click on paper name to see review!

Company Paper Reviewed Overall Rating Example
Pentalic Aqua Journal B+

Backyard Bird Sketch, Chickadee Painting Tutorial
painted on Pentalic Aqua Journal

Arches Cold Press A

Forsythia Sketch Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial
painted on Arches Cold Press

Arches Hot Press B

Sonoma Vineyard Painting Tutorial
painted on Arches Hot Press

Arches Rough Press A

Lighthouse Path Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial
painted on Arches Rough Press

Twinrocker Cold Press A+

White Peony Painting Tutorial
painted on Twinrocker Cold Press

Strathmore Visual Journal B

Sketching Fall Blueberries Painting Tutorial
painted on Strathmore Visual Journal

Saunders Waterford Rough Press A

Cherry Blossoms Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial
painted on Saunders Waterford Rough Press

What do I really use to paint with?

Twinrocker 200#
Arches 300#
Arches 140# Blocks for on location. Hot, cold or rough depending on the subject.


Pentalic watercolor journal
I never use paper less than 140# (300gsm)unless it's in a journal. I'm a sucker for odd handmade paper for journals, but I never would do serious work on them. They can't be reworked at all - they can hardly be erased. That's a plus for sketchbooks - it keeps me from overworking a sketch!

I love trying papers, but I try new paper in sketches, not in serious paintings. If I like the paper, I'll use it in a real painting!

Every paper has nuances. Some papers are just better at certain things. Once you know the feel of the paper, you know what to use it for.

These reviews are intended as shortcuts to knowing what each paper will do when you use it so you can choose papers easier.

Disclaimer: Jennifer Branch Gallery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I receive a small rebate for your entire order (starting at 4%) if you choose to purchase through Amazon. Most items can be bought multiple places and I highly recommend local art stores if you have one! Any other recommendation links I receive no compensation for.
These referrals help me support this website, and I thank you for any purchase you make through them. I will never recommend a product I have not used frequently and believe is the best tool for the purpose!