REVIEW: Watercolor Paper – Wet Paint Sampler Pack

Recently, Wet Paint: Artists’ Materials & Framing reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review one of their watercolor paper sampler packs.  I was up to my chin in promised reviews already, but wanted to do the review.  So, my response sort of went ‘Yes, yes, yes! But ACK! I don’t know when I can do it!”

The folks at Wet Paint Art are wonderful to work with and they took that in stride.  I wasn’t surprised. I’ve worked with them before to get a special order and service is a priority with this company.

Wet Paint Watercolor Paper Sampler Pack

You get one sheet each of twelve different watercolor papers. They come in a plastic bag, with a numbered list of the papers included.

Watercolor Paper Detail

If you look closely, each sheet has a number written somewhere – small and discreet, so it won’t interfere with your painting.  This number corresponds with the numbers on the printed list.  

This isn’t my first sampler rodeo, and I know myself all too well.  I was going to lose that list (edited: I lost the list).  Then I’d agonize trying to figure out which sample was which.  So the first thing I did was write the paper name, weight, and surface-type on a front corner.  The writing on the samples shown below is mine – so I’d be sure I showed the right paper for the description.

Each sampler pack from Wet Paint may differ somewhat.  There will always be a selection of cold press, hot press, and rough papers and one or two unusual papers, but the brands, and colors can change.  The sheet size average is 10″x 11″ but the sizes will vary. 

Painting twelve examples would take a while, and I’d never finish the review!  I painted on a couple of my sampler sheets, and also pulled up some older works done on the same kind of papers.  This is to give you a general idea of the kind of watercolor paper you would get. 

Over time, I’ll paint on all of these and give you some feedback in my posts here and on my blog.

The Video – A walk-through of the watercolor paper

My Wet Paint Watercolor Paper Sampler Pack

  • Bockingford -140 LB Cold Press Tinted Pale Blue- #4512001
  • Yupo Translucent Synthetic – 104 LB – #451654
  • Yupo White Synthetic – 74 LB – #451652
  • St. Armand Dominion – 150 LB Brut – #BRUT150
  • Fluid 100 – 140 LB Hot Press – #FL140HP
  • Arches – 300 LB Natural White Rough Press – #A300R
  • Arches – 90 LB Natural White Cold Press – #A90CP
  • Fabriano Artistico – 140 LB Traditional White Cold Press – #FT140CP
  • Fabriano Artistico – 300 LB Traditional White Hot Press – #FT300HP
  • Fabriano Artistico – 140 LB Extra White Soft Press – #FX140SP
  • Fabriano Artistico – 200 LB Extra White Cold Press – #FX200CP
  • Stonehenge Aqua – 300 LB White Cold Press – #STONE300CP

Bockingford

Bockingford Watercolor Paper Sample
  • 140 lb / 300 gsm
  • Cold Press
  • Tinted Pale Blue
  • Mouldmade
  • Made in England
  • 100% High alpha cellulose
  • Neutral pH
  • Acid Free
  • Chlorine Free
  • Buffered with calcium carbonate
  • Internally sized

Bockingford paper is noted as a ‘forgiving’ watercolor paper, which means it can take lots of water without buckling and the color lifts easily, allowing you to get back to the original color.  It’s suitable for a wide range of mediums and comes in several tints as well as white.

Bockingford Paper Painting Example

I was really excited when I saw this sample.  I love painting on tinted paper and had never painted on blue before.

I’m also showing what I like to do with samplers.  I like to turn them into reference books. Usually, I paint on a portion of the paper, making notes as I go.  I leave room for later tests. I deliberately overwork some areas until I see damage.  I want to know what the limits of the paper are!  When I’ve finished painting on each sheet, I’ll bind them together.  

Yupo

My sampler had two kinds of Yupo paper. Both are extremely smooth.  Unless sealed, you can completely remove watercolor completely, even months later.  It will wipe off with ease.  It can be sealed to prevent this, but until then you can remove and repaint as you wish.

Really – it’s impossible to explain it. You have to try it, to understand, and with this sampler you can.

Specs In common

  • Made in USA
  • 100% Polypropylene
  • Neutral pH
  • Acid Free
  • Smooth surface
  • Incredibly strong
  • Waterproof
  • Recyclable

Yupo Translucent Synthetic  

YUPO Translucent watercolor paper example
  • 104 lb / 153 gsm text

The translucent Yupo doesn’t have much color of its own. It is a grayish white, resembling waxed paper as much as anything.

YUPO demonstration of translucent watercolor paper

Depending on how much light is showing you pick up colors and shadows behind it which affects the color you see.

Yupo Translucent Paper Painting Example

I’ve used translucent Yupo before and this is an older mixed media painting that I did on it.  I don’t remember all the mediums I used, but I know technical pen, marker, watercolor and acrylic were among them.  The drawing and some of the painting was on the back of the paper.

Yupo White Synthetic  

Yupo White Synthetic Watercolor Paper Example
  • 74 lb / 200 gsm cover

Even though this white Yupo is lighter in lb measurement, it is a heavier gsm.  This is because it is a ‘cover’ weight and the 104 lb translucent is a ‘text’ weight.  I know – weights can be confusing when it comes to paper.  In this case, it means the white paper is thicker and whiter than the translucent.  There is a heavier weight yet, but it wasn’t included in the sampler.

Painting Example on Yupo White Synthetic Example on Wet Paint Paper

This is another older painting that I did, this time on white Yupo.  I wasn’t careful enough and got oils from my fingers on the papers (Yupo is very sensitive to that).  It worked nicely for this painting to give a foamy watery effect.  I also used wadded-up kleenex to add a different foamy texture, and I did a lot of lifting with a thin brush to create the feeling of waves.

St. Armand Dominion

St. Armand Dominion Watercolor Paper Example
  • 150 lb / 320 gsm
  • White
  • handmade
  • cotton rag (75% cotton and 25% linen rag fibre)
  • Double sizing
  • internal starch
  • surface non animal gelatin
  • brut (extra rough)

St. Armand Dominion is a handmade paper suitable for watercolour, acrylic, ink, and embossing.  I have never seen the ‘brut’ designation before, and I think it is unique to St Armand.

Many handmade papers are rough like this one.  The Dominion is a hard paper with little flex. It would snap rather than fold.  It doesn’t buckle or curl no matter how wet you get it.  It will soften while very wet though.

It’s too rough for pen or pencil.  If you want to learn how to paint loosely, this is an excellent paper for it.  With practice you can get detail, but texture is the advantage with this paper.  You can achieve effects that just can’t be done with smoother papers.  Granulating pigments have particles of different sizes within the paint and the larger particles will settle in the deeper parts of a paper’s surface. As rough, as the Dominion is, it leaves lots of area for those particles to settle in.

Right after the blue-tinted paper, I grabbed this one because I adore rough paper!  Lots of people don’t, though.  Not sure if you do? A sampler is a good way to try it out.

Painting on St. Armand Dominion Rough Example on Wet Paint Paper

This was done on the Dominion paper included in my sampler.  I want to experiment more with it, though.

Fluid 100 

Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper Detail
  • 140 lb / 300 gsm
  • Hot Press
  • 100% cotton
  • Made in Europe
  • Natural white surface
  • Acid-free
  • Archival
  • External gelatin sizing

Fluid 100 is a cotton paper good for both wet and dry media.  I know the least about this paper so it is probably the one I will paint on next.  There wasn’t too much information online, either.

Arches Natural White

Specs in Common

  • Mouldmade
  • Made in France
  • 100% Cotton
  • Neutral pH
  • Acid Free
  • Chlorine Free

Arches paper is a hard-sized sheet.  That means is will take a great deal of abuse – scrubbing, rubbing, lifting and re-working.  The paper is sized on the machine and then given an off-the-machine size bath to add more sizing. This is a unique treatment that only Arches uses.  While it is used for many techniques, it is formulated for watercolor above and beyond and is probably the most commonly used professional paper in the U.S.

Arches Natural White Watercolor Paper Example Rough Press
  • 300 lb / 640 gsm
  • Rough Press
Arches Natural White Watercolor Paper Cold Press Example
  • 90 lb / 180 gsm
  • Cold Press

I took the photos so you could see the rough edges and how they differ from one another.

Fabriano Artistico

Specs in Common

  • Mouldmade
  • Made in Italy
  • 100% Cotton
  • Neutral pH
  • Acid Free
  • Internally & externally synthetically sized

Another very popular professional paper in the U.S., it also takes a great deal of abuse, allowing for scrubbing, rubbing, lifting and re-working.

Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Watercolor Paper Example
  • 140 lb / 300 gsm
  • Traditional White
  • Cold Press
Painting on Fabriano Artistico Paper Example

Another of my older paintings, this one done on Fabriano Artistico – 140 LB Traditional White Cold Press.  I used plastic wrap for the background, carefully avoiding the area where the white flowers would be, wadding the wrap up on wet paint and letting it dry.  Then, I carefully lifted away some of the wrap at the edges and dripped paint from an extremely wet brush into the folds, letting it run along them.  After that dried, I painted the flowers and the coffee cherries.

Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Hot Press Example From Wet Paint
  • 300 lb / 640 gsm
  • Traditional White
  • Hot Press
Fabriano Artistico Extra White Soft Press Example From Wet Paint
  • 140 lb / 300 gsm
  • Extra White
  • Soft Press

‘Soft Press’ is the designation that Artistico gives this surface texture, explaining that it falls between hot press and cold press. There are no industry standards so there may be other papers that have similar texture.  

Do you find it confusing to understand what it means when you see the labels Cold Press, Hot Press, Rough and so forth? This is another nice thing about a sampler.  It gives you a range so you can see and feel the differences.  You’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you are deciding what kind of paper you want.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White Cold Press Example From Wet Paint
  • 200 lb / 430 gsm
  • Extra White
  • Cold Press

Stonehenge Aqua Watercolor Paper

Stonehenge Aqua Cold Press Example From Wet Paint
  • 300 lb / 600 gsm
  • 100% Cotton
  • Neutral pH
  • Acid Free
  • Chlorine Free
  • Contains no animal gelatin
  • Synthetic Sizing

Stonehenge Aqua is noted for its durability, so it’s good if you fuss.  I’ve always found it better for achieving hard edges than for loose, flowing effects.

Stonehenge Aqua Watercolor Painting Example on Wet Paint Paper

This is an older work that I did on Stonehenge Aqua 300 Cold Press watercolor paper.

Wet Paint Extras

Wet Paint includes a couple of extras in their samplers.  This can change and you might or might not receive something similar in future packs.

At this time, they give you a dot card sampler.  You get one out of a selection of brands, including QoR, Daniel Smith and Schmincke.  Mine came with a QoR Dot Card sampler.

QoR Watercolors Dot Sample Card From Wet Paint

The other extra is an Artist Reference Guide with all sorts of helpful references.  On the back, there are adds for the latest offers and classes from Wet Paint.

Wet Paint Artist's Reference Guide

Overall – Wet Paint Watercolor Paper Sampler Pack

The Wet Paint Watercolor Paper Sampler Pack includes 12 sheets of various watercolor papers.  There is a good mix of surfaces – cold press, hot press and rough and one or two unusual papers.  Each pack differs slightly.  You always have the mix, but the actual brands, sizes and colors may differ.

This sampler is a great choice for a beginner who wants a better understanding of the differences in paper surfaces and how they handle paint.  It’s great for the intermediate painter for pretty much the same reason – it increases your knowledge of the choices out there.  And for the experienced artist, it is a chance to get out of your comfort zone and look for ways to expand.

It’s a great way to experiment and may save you spending money on paper that doesn’t suit your style.

Tools

Disclaimer:

Wet Paint sent me their watercolor paper sampler for the purpose of this review.  I received no other considerations, though this post contains affiliate links which help support Doodlewash community features. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
12 Comments
  1. Gaeyle Gerrie-Boss 2 months ago

    great review!

  2. alice 2 months ago

    nice review, sandra, I am not sure how I would use that rough paper but I think it would be fun to try it out

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      The St Armand is a challenging paper, especially since you can’t really draw on it. But it gives such amazing texture.

  3. Jan 2 months ago

    I was a little disappointed that you did not do a simple side by side comparison of how the different papers react to paint and water. A labeled strip of each paper with a small scribble of graphite, ink and a dab of a couple of colors of watercolor placed on dry and wet paper would have given viewers a side by side point of comparison.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      I thought about doing a side-by-side comparison, but the review isn’t really about the specific papers. I wanted the review to be about the mix of paper types because you’ll always get something similar in your pack, but not always the exact same brand, color or types.

  4. Karen Fortier 2 months ago

    Thanks Sandra for all the info in your review. I get there emails but have never bought from them. Good to know that you have had good experiences with them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you, Karen. Wet Paint Art is one of my favorite places to go shopping!

  5. Susan Cuss 2 months ago

    I learned about papers I’ve never tried, and I love getting that information. Great review! Thanks Sandra.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you, Susan! Samplers are so much fun so I was happy to be able to review one.

  6. Walt. F Pierluissi 2 months ago

    As usual an splendidly done review, I always like your reviews and every time I see one, that’s a must see in full. Thanks for them, they have help me a lot in my watercolor journey…. But I really like arches when it comes to a piece that I am intending to sell.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you, Walt. It makes sense to have a paper that you are really comfortable with if you are planning to sell, and Arches is as good as it comes. I do love trying new papers though. It’s half the fun of painting for me.

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