Watercolor Painting & Sketching Group, Community, and Blog › Forums › Seeking Advice › Paper problem? › Reply To: Paper problem?
Watercolor papers vary quite a bit, which is why many people find one they like and stay with it (not me! I love to experiment!). You might have used too much water, but it could also be the paper and/or the paint you are using.
It probably isn’t the cotton content so much as sizing, which can affect how long it takes for the color to dry.
As for the spot fading, that probably means you added the color while the paper was too wet. If you add paint into wet, it spreads into the water. One of the tricks of learning watercolor is timing (and I’m still learning that one!). Sometimes, you want the color to spread – especially if you are mingling colors for a soft blending. Learning how much water it takes to get just the amount of spread you want is the key.
The other possibility for the fade has to do with the paint you are using. There is a thing called ‘color shift’, which means the a paint is one color when it is wet and another once it has dried – with watercolor, the paints dry lighter. The amount of water (as explained above) causes some of the fade, but it is also caused by the amount of pigment in the paint itself. This is one of the main differences between professional and student grade paint – student grade usually has less pigment and therefore more color shift.
Then it could be the brush too (lol! Every tool counts in watercolor). Brushes hold different amounts of water and paint and they also release that water and paint at different rates. If you are using the same brush that shouldn’t be the issue but if you’re using a different one, the new brush may be soaking up more water or releasing too much water all at once. Again – this can be the difference between a professional quality and student quality brush. People also tend to have different preferences in how much water and pigment the brush holds and how fast it is released.
If you’ve used the same paint on different paper and not had as much fading, it is probably the paper – or you did use too much water this one time. The only way to know for sure is to try again with less water and see what happens.