What Is The Best Watercolor Paper? Improve Your Watercolor Painting

What Is The Best Watercolor Paper? Improve Your Watercolor Painting

– Hey, guys, welcome back to my channel. One of the top struggles
that you guys kept saying that you have is with paper when it comes to painting
with watercolors. You don’t know why the paper
buckles, tears, stains, or why the colors look so
pale when the paint has dried, and that’s why I want to
solve some of the issues you might have by walking you through all the different types of papers, what certain things
mean, what is important, and what to look for when
you buy watercolor paper. As the name watercolor suggests, you work with water, and
that’s why you need paper that is made especially for that. One of the differences
between printer, drawing, and watercolor paper is their weight. It’s not a indicator of quality because light and heavy paper
come in different qualities, but it’s still very important because heavy paper can absorb and hold a lot more water than regular paper. The heavier the paper,
the more it weights, and the more water it will take without buckling or warping. You can find watercolor paper between 90 to even 400 pounds or even higher. Another important aspect to look into is what the paper is actually made of. Now, paper can be made out of
a lot of different materials that are, for example,
derived from wood, cotton, or other materials, and that’s important for how the paper actually behaves and how long it will last you. Paper that is made out of wood, it’s usually a lot cheaper
compared to cotton paper, but it also has a lot of downsides. For example, paper that
is made out of wood fibers is naturally more fragile
and prone to tearing due to the structure of the fibers. It also won’t allow the
water to flow properly, it can create streaking
and blotchy washes, and it can discolor with
age and become brittle. Now, on the other hand, watercolor paper, it is made out of 100% percent cotton, it’s generally considered
as the best-quality paper, and it can make a huge
difference in your artwork. It’s high quality because
cotton is stronger and more durable due to the
structure of the fibers. You can create beautiful flat washes without any blotches
and the paper can handle different amounts of water in the drying stages at the same time. As you can see, on the left side, I used wood-made paper,
and on the right side, 100% cotton paper. I used the same watercolors but the result is completely different. Another side note I wanted to add is you want to look for paper that is generally acid free, because this will prevent
your paper to age over time. Now we know it’s important to look into the weight of the paper and also, the ingredients, but there’s also a very important aspect that plays a huge role in
the way the paper performs, and that’s sizing. Not the size of the paper, but something completely different. The sizing that I’m talking about is rather a glue or a glaze
that is on top of the paper or inside the paper. When watercolor paper is produced, it’s usually sized with
a coating of gelatin, starch, or other synthetic materials, which improves the surface strength and the water resistance. So, the goal here is to keep the paint on top of the paper and let it dry there without being just absorbed into the paper and becoming dull. Instead, the sizing allows the paint to slowly seep into the fibers, staying vibrant and very
even on the surface. If there were no sizing on the paper, the watercolors would just
soak right into the paper just like a paper towel. Sizing also allows you
to lift off the paint without staining the paper, but keep in mind that some pigments are naturally more staining than others. You can get paper as surface sized, internally sized, or both. If the paper is internally sized, it is even more durable and
will survive lots of scrubbing, erasing, and other watercolor techniques without tearing or breaking. Now, some watercolor paper
brands don’t really say how they size the paper, so, what you can do is you
can either research in that or just go straight to watercolor paper that already says on
the front or on the back of the paper how it is sized. Okay, now we know we need heavy, acid free watercolor paper that is
preferably made out of cotton, and it also has either a
surface or internal sizing or both for better painting results. But, since there is so
many different textures to choose from, which type should you get and what is actually different? Now, watercolor paper comes
in three different textures. You can get watercolor paper
that is either cold pressed, hot pressed, or that is rough. Cold pressed paper is one
of the most popular papers because it’s so versatile. It is made by pressing
through cold metal rollers that create a little bit of texture that then only gives you the option to give your painting some nice texture, but it’s also great for
wet-on-wet techniques, because the little dimples
will hold the water and give you more time to paint. Hot pressed paper, on the other hand, is pressed between two hot metal rollers, making the surface super flat and smooth, and it’s with an iron. It is great for detailed
and delicate artworks, for example, for illustrations, and because there’s almost fewer texture, your paint can glide
smoothly over the paper and the paint can be
distribute very evenly. But, it isn’t so great
for wet-on-wet techniques and it dries a lot quicker. Lastly, we have the rough
paper, it has a rough surface. The heavy texture is great
for drybrush techniques and other bold and expressive
painting techniques because the texture will
give you a hard time painting super detailed or intricate. You can get most of the
paper we talked about in different packages and sizes. You can get pad, blocks, loose sheets, or rolls, sketch books. Most common is usually to get
watercolor pads or blocks. If you want to save money, you can just get a loose
sheet and cut it to size. It’s a lot more economical. I personally like pads because they are good on all four sizes, it helps to prevent warping and buckling. But if you want to store
your art books together and if you’re on the go, then you can go for a
watercolor sketchbook. Now, I know the struggle is real when it comes to art supplies, because you want to know what’s the best, what should I get, and where can I get it, that’s why I didn’t want to focus on any specific brand,
because it’s really depends on the technique, where you’re from, what your price range is, so, it isn’t easy to tell
you what you should get. But I will link some of my
favorite watercolor papers in the description box down below, so, you can check it out
if you’re interested. In general, I would go
for cold pressed paper and maybe get a small pad, so you can really test it out and see if you like the texture, if you like how the paper behaves, so you don’t have to
commit to a huge, thick pad that you don’t like in the end, or you can get a big sheet of paper, and then cut it to size
and decide if you like it, so you can test out different types, different qualities, different textures, different weights, and then,
you can decide what you prefer, and then, buy more of this type of paper. I personally wouldn’t
go for mixed media paper because I personally didn’t
like any of the paper I tried so far. It’s really difficult to make paper that actually works for everything, so, I would rather go straight to paper that is made only for watercolors. You can have the best watercolor set, but if the paper is bad,
it can’t really shine and show the full potential it has. It’s true you can work with what you have, and yeah, you can work
around all the shortcomings the bad paper has, but then
you need to be aware of that. I just don’t want you
to be super frustrated and unhappy and just give up on painting just because the paper
didn’t want to behave, or the watercolors just
dried pale or chalky or they just fall off. But it’s my personal
opinion, you can, of course, go for anything you like, and if you’re happy with
really cheap art supplies, it’s totally fine. Let me know in the comments below if you would like me
to go into more details in anything we talked about earlier, or if you have any other troubles, let me know in the comments below, and I will try to solve
it in my future videos. Here, you can watch more videos that can help you improve your art. I really hope you found
this video very helpful. If you did, please give
this video a thumbs up to support this channel, and if you’re new here,
don’t forget to subscribe because a lot of you guys
are watching this channel but are not subscribed. Please subscribe so you
don’t miss any future videos. Other than that, thank you
so much for watching, guys! Have a wonderful day,
and we’ll see you soon! Bye!


  • makoccino says:

    Hey guys! Happy Saturday! Since a lot of you guys were struggling with paper when it comes to painting with watercolors, I wanted to make a video that can solve some of the issues! Let me know what other struggles you have and if you want me to go into more details of a specific topic! <3

  • Asha Abraham says:

    Great video…it's really useful…love from India

  • Mumtaj Saleem says:

    Hey maco u r a mind-reader😉😆……this video was so helpful and I could really understand the differences….but I really wish that u could have talked and showed a bit more about drawing paper cause that's what I mostly use 😁😁😌😅😞😞….hope u have another wonderful video on……. Sorry for the late comments…😬 Didn't have network for a few days …… AND BY THE WAY U ROCK AS ALWAYS MAKO …….#makoficationsquad

  • ا ال says:

    I like it

  • XxSpiritWalkerxX says:

    I just got watercolours but have no paper so this vid is wonderful!!!

  • UnicornLass says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for all your tutorials! I found you on my recommendations and it was an instant subscribe. Your instructions are easy to follow and the results when following them were stunning. I also like the way you always make a point in telling us, your viewers that it’s just one way of doing it that you personally find easy and you encourage us to try to find our own ways and styles and in the end, just have fun with it. It’s noticeable that you are genuinely passionate about art, I adore your channel!
    Sorry for the rant! Again thank you ❤️😊

  • Leema Rose says:

    Love art than love makoccino videos 💖💖💖

  • shey49 says:

    Thank you so much for making a video about watercolor paper! I really was confused about the weight and difference between textures. This really helped me=)

  • The doctor says:

    very nice

  • Merlin is my cat says:

    What country is she in,?

  • Ashleigh Huynh says:

    could i use canson multimedia paper?

  • Josie Lewis Art says:

    Great information!

  • Artistic mind in you says:

    Hi can u tell me in video how to make the video for YouTube because I want to a artist like u .u are so pretty and beautiful 👧

  • Artistic mind in you says:


  • Artistic mind in you says:

    And u also. Help me in painting when u start the video 🤗😊😃🙋

  • Nini N. says:

    I love watercolor I think it’s more forgiving than the other two mediums, oil and acrylic. I wish I have time to practice

  • Evelyn J says:

    Thank you, this is so helpful. I really had no idea and just bought whatever, now I have more confidence when I go to shop for art supplies.

  • Shivane Death says:

    Hey Mako 😊😊😊 I love your channel since day 1… I really find your videos helpful 😍😍😍… Thank you so much for helping me out (though I can't afford most of your recommendations 😅😅😅) but I still learned more from you 😄😄😄…

    #maccoficationsquad 😍😍😍

    *first time commenting though 😅😅😅

  • Blink Buddy says:

    Hi I really want to know what watercolor paper U use (brand) because I'm having a school fun fair and my group is in charge of craft. I want it do watercolor but I don't know which brands R better…

  • ELENE M says:

    When will be your next give away?

  • Taehyung VKim95 says:

    This gives me a lot more ideas to watercolor paper.😄#makoficationsquad

  • Shruthi Sivakumar says:

    Mako got me into watercolouring! I'm so good at it thanks to her now 😂. #makoficationsquad

  • Iries Velite says:

    This is exactly what I needed! I want to add watercolor elements to my drawing. As someone who is beginner when it comes to watercolors I'm really happy to find this video! Thanks! 🙂

  • Saima Akter Badhon says:

    I love you… I respect you as my teacher…💕Happy Teacher's Day #makoficationsquad

  • Jessica Petalio says:

    Really helps

  • plotagon lover says:

    Hey can u please test Pakistani art supplies

  • Lakshita Choudhury says:

    Hey Mako!! I love all ur paintings. Just wanted to ask from where do u find amazing quotes with amazing templates for inspiration. For example, when u had done a quote, "Never Give Up. Great Things Take Time." Love u and ur paintings. U r creative and awesome!!!😊 By the way, I'm also a part of #makoficationsquad.😊😘😍

  • really nigga? says:

    I have a suggestion…. can you make a Pablo Picasso's painting like his cubism…. thank you


  • Crafty Salms says:

    Hi Mako! I love your videos, they really inspire me to try new things when I always shied away from art, thinking that things had to be perfect and if they weren’t I shouldn’t bother. I remember you did a video about arteza art supplies but I’ve tried to go back and find it and not been able to…would you be able to link the video? Thanks x

  • Wolfferoni says:

    I don't know if it's the rough water colour paper but mine tends to sort of flake off/ shed when I use wet on wet.

  • MrKirby365 says:

    Mako your are so great spending you time helping us to understand your patient for what you do is beautiful and amazing your the bestest thank you love you

  • SMART ARTIST says:

    very helpful!!

  • Ilzy says:

    I'm still semi-new to watercolour and I started by using wood pulp and was so frustrated by how I couldn't layer or lift. As soon as I switched to cotton paper my painting world was completely changed. I wish I had seen this video when I started because it's so useful for beginners! So many videos just say to use "paper made for watercolour" but that's really not helpful. This gives a detailed yet easy to understand guide to paper. Great job!

  • Clare Sutton says:

    This is so useful! I'm a total beginner when it comes to watercolours so choosing paper has been quite confusing. This is a big help! Thank you!! Xx

  • Aliz Karris says:

    Can you translate video into vietnamese? i are Vietnamese so watching your videos is a little hard to understand

  • Yoona Won says:

    Love the new look

  • Виктория Вербицкая says:

    Ты милая и даешь очень полезные советы, спасибо большое!))) Я подпишусь))

  • Kookie & Tae says:

    I have a tip if you don't have watercolor use water based brush markers and colour on a plastic surface like sticky back plastic and add water

  • Crazycupcake M says:

    I thought I will never be able to afford schmincke watercolors but my best friend giftet me one and I was like what ?! where did you got that money from…so never lose hope guys! I already found my perfect watercolor paper. But its fun to try more.

  • Smrithi P says:

    Thanks for the tips. Wonderful video. 👌

  • bisaniye says:

    You re great us teacher 😍

  • Pisi says:

    Does she look like demi lovato?

  • Shrabana Ghose says:

    I used 200 g/m2 25% cotton watercolor paper and tried a wet on wet painting but the paper became uneven and absorbed all the water quickly giving no meaning to the wet on wet. And the colors won't lift.☹

  • Adi Loya says:

    This is such a great video, thank you! Are you perhaps planning to do a similar one about brushes? 😘 I feel pretty lost when it comes to choosing what to use for watercolour vs. Acrylics

  • TuniiGreyz says:

    Thank you for this Mako! Because of your channel I'm getting watercolors again. Love this vid since its concise and direct to the point. 💋

  • ヒストリア・レイスزهراء says:

    I really need watercolor paper but!
    In my country or habitate
    I can't found it, therefor I use the thickest type of paper that's fine have
    Even if it bad for this((๑•́₋•̩̥̀๑)

  • bedosone2 - ROBLOX says:

    -sighs, I want watercolour paper now xD but I have like….$0

  • lady gaga says:

    extremement interessat!!image de tres bonne qualité,ta voix est douce et tu expliques parfaitement bien !merci

  • Mystery123 says:

    You're an underestimated youtuber . You deserve soo many more subscribers

  • Siera Lexstrange says:

    Cotton 100% ✔️
    Acid free ✔️
    Surface sized ✔️

    Thanks a lot!

  • Marzy Art says:

    Where can I find hot pressed 640gsm A3 watercolor paper? All sellers I have found on ebay dont sell the size I want, or sell it in expensive single sheets. Please help.

  • Jaylene G. says:

    These videos are so helpful. Thank you !

  • Angela McDorman says:

    Hi 😊 thank you for making this video. I’m just beginning with watercolors so have a lot to learn.

    I have a question about the watercolor paper that comes in a block glued on all 4 sides. How do I get the paper off the block and am I supposed to pull off the paper before I paint or afterwards? Thanks for your help.

  • Milagros Gabriela Vargas says:

    U look like Rosanna Pasino

  • Misha Hashmi says:

    learned so much from this video! can you also do a gouache color mixing video using the winsor and newton designer gouache (RGB color palette)

  • Mustofa Kamal says:

    But the cotton paper is too expensive for me. Cries in poor

  • MorningGloryy says:

    I really want a 140 lbs (300 gsm) watercolour sketchbooks that hold paints well ( I like to paint on both sides of the paper), could you recommend some brands of good watercolour sketchbooks that are available in the UK please? Clairefontine, Arches, Hahnemuhle, Winsor and Newton… etc, there's so many brands I'm overwhelmed QAQ I watched your videos and notice that you only paint on one side of the Hahnemule sketchbooks, is there a particular reason?
    I'm from Asia so most brands I'm familiar with are too pricey because of the shipping and importing fees TT.

  • Brant-Bi says:

    This was incredibly helpful, thank you so much!

  • 1-Last -Chance X says:

    Thanks so much, very easy to understamd.

  • Mohammed Hamza says:

    Can you please shed me some light on how to make canvas easily at home….It will be the best help you must be doing….cuz I have no idea on where I can buy them….so please…😢😢😢😁😁

  • AniaBumba says:

    I loved this video! It was so informative. Thank you so much.

  • Mystery Painter says:

    Arches 140 is THE accepted professional brand worldwide. You dont need any other. I've been painting on it professionally 25 years and counting. The best there is….

  • everything tv says:

    Is 200 gsm paper good for watercolor

  • Andreea Onu says:

    Hi, would strathmore watercolor paper be a good option?

  • Jamile Rasmussen Da Cruz says:

    Your videos are so helpful! Thank you!

  • T. Daily says:

    Tried to look thru and see any comments on Bee 140# 100% cotton. On a budget, seems affordable and would like something a bit better then Canson XL for better painting in class. Is it OK? Any comments? Thanks

  • Nadine Sawtell says:

    If you are using acid free card stock use dry brush/illustrative techniques. This type of paper doesn’t work well for wet on wet techniques allow the paper to dry completely between paint layers / no scrubbing or lifting

  • SayAnka BisWas says:

    Hey mako!… I am from India and there's no watercolor paper in the shops nearby and in amazon the links you gave have currency of dollar so….I cannot buy from there😅 …I would really appreciate some help plz🙂

  • Sillyshuz says:

    Arches is the best quality paper. It's super bougie, but it's so worth it.

  • Lisa says:

    That awkward moment when you recognise the 100% cellulose and FSC logo as the rubbish paper to be the one you're currently painting (MISERABLY) on. Daler Rowney Aquafine.

    So glad I came across this video! I was actually starting to think I just couldn't control the paint and that was why it was drying patchy. 🤦🏼‍♀️

  • Goosey Geese says:

    I’m so sorry that I’m so late just discovered ur channel
    Love ur video it solved my problems!

  • Jessie Tan says:

    I’m just wondering, may I use card stock? I unfortunately can’t find watercolour paper in my area.

  • remember me says:

    And what i use is a 30 bucks paper having 20 sheets😂😂😜

  • Diana says:

    Your videos are always so helpful! Probably more helpful than most of the videos I've seen

  • Mae Wobniar says:

    This was sooooo helpful! Thankyou!

  • Lyse Clement says:

    I am a beginner and now I can understand better where my frustrations were coming from, PAPER! 🙂 thank you for explaining so clearly the differences between paper qualities and their proper use, depending what I would try to achieve.
    You mentioned that you would list your favorite papers at the bottom of the video but I can’t see them. Wouldn’t mind telling me again.
    I so appreciate your videos.

  • Biohazard 99 says:

    nice haircolour

  • Lourdes Valladares says:

    thanks so much for this video! <3

  • ujjwal yadav says:

    Hi can you also explain what does gsm paper means

  • Sayaka*Ichigo*Kamishiro*Arclight*[SIKA] says:

    what is the difference between cold press and hot press in performance

  • whitecinnamon says:

    Might be the brand I tryed (Canson Moulin du Roy), but the hot press paper I've tried actually keeps the water in surface more time than other grainy papers.

  • arwen521 says:

    Could you do a video on brushes and paint suggestions.

  • srikanth gangula says:

    Can I use brusto paper to draw acrylic painting ?plz reply to my question

  • Eonnie joon says:

    Thank you so much for this sweet and easy explanation on watercolour papers!! Starting today I'm a new subscriber!!!💖

  • Missy Cute says:

    This video was a big help! ❤️

  • anagha bhat says:

    Ohhh, I love your voice 😍💕

  • Mervis Encelan says:

    you look like lana del rey

  • JadeLeaf1980 says:

    One prob I have is fibres or hairs getting on the paper when I paint. Either shedding brushes or cat hair – it’s a nightmare to try and get up again and I’m scared to leave it until the paint dries in case it leaves fine lines or just sticks. Anyone else get this issue?

  • VioletPersuasion says:

    I watched another YouTuber's watercolor tutorial and followed it exactly, for my first attempt. Water on water. It failed so miserably and looked sad, blotchy, and tore easily. Now I know why! Rough cellulose paper with no known size… Like a paper towel!
    Off to get better paper for business cards. Thank you!

  • Welther47 says:

    400 poundpaper 😀 I think you mean grams.

  • NAMJIN UWU says:

    Arches watercolour pad in Malaysia was hundred…. it so hard to get one here… so i decided to buy a cheap one with fine grain… is it okay? Mako

  • bhanupratap yadav says:

    Great video, thank you

  • Akshitha Varshini says:

    You are really a art queen 👑🎨👩‍🎨

  • cha min says:

    thank you for this! i just got into watercolor and i'm self taught so this is really helpful for me 💖

  • Jennifer Wells says:

    As always, I learn so much from your videos! Thank you for such great information!

  • william adcock says:

    Really helpful

  • Mika C: says:

    I’m broke 🙁

  • Hồng ngọc Trần says:

    Thank you so much for your lesson 🙂

  • Kennady Savage says:

    I really like how you tell people what to look for. It helps people who are limited to all different types economic situations.

  • Georgies Mom says:

    Your videos are very informative. Thank you so much

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