Watercolor paper does have a different texture on each side, but by how much depends on the brand and how it is manufactured. The term ‘wrong’ is the wrong term to use though, lol. Both sides can be painted on, but if the difference is pronounced you’ll get different results. Depending on what the artist is going for, there may be one side that is definitely better to use, but lots of artists happily use either side. I usually paint on both unless I intend to frame the piece.
I’ve noticed a difference between Stonehenge original (not Aqua watercolor) paper in pads and the same paper in large sheets. The company told me the paper is identical, but that it gets compressed when bound into pads – an explanation that seems reasonable. Best known as a printmaking paper, I use Stonehenge for colored pencil.
Many papers are different in pads than they are in large sheets or blocks. The compression explanation sounds reasonable. I’ve also heard that they are sized differently because the expectation is that they’ll be handled differently. I’d think that would vary according to the brand, though.
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