Watercolor paper
Art Papers

5 Best Watercolor Paper Brands for Beginners and Professionals

Are you an artist who wants to experience several types of pressed papers for watercolors? Or you are a student who wants to experiment with watercolors? Well, in both cases, you need to know that, you will require decent quality, be it watercolors or whatever the material you are using.

Watercolor papers are different from normal papers, like printing papers or drawing paper. These are specially designed for watercolor painting.

If you want better results in your paintings, then you have to find a good watercolor paper. Because this is how you will have not only a perfect texture but also incredible results.

We have shortlisted five best watercolor papers of the popular brands to use for your ease. These are for beginners as well as for experts. Have a look at these watercolor papers and pick the one that suits best according to your specifications. 


Arches Cold PressCheck price on Amazon
Strathmore PaperCheck price on Amazon
Bee Paper CompanyCheck price on Amazon


1. Arches Watercolor Paper Pad


There is no surprise that Arches Watercolor Paper is amongst the popular brands of watercolor paper. Its unique features and ability to absorb a large amount of water makes this paper popular in this field. This watercolor paper pad consists of cold-pressed paper. It provides the perfectly textured cold-pressed watercolor pad sheet.

It consists of 100% cotton grain, which makes your painting amazing, and smooth. Arches paper pad contains high-quality material and works quite well to absorb water. It is the watercolor pad that is specially made for professionals. However, if you are a beginner, you can also enjoy working on that.

The light textured cold press surface reflects light very well and retains the transparent quality of watercolor. Arches papers have always been cylinder mold made as they are here for a century. Arches never compromise with quality, that’s why they are on the top of our recommended list.


  • Cold press finish
  • 100% cotton
  • Light texture
  • Durable and resilient.
  • One pad contains 12 sheets
  • Absorbent
  • High-quality
  • Cost-effective
  • Weighs by 140 pounds
  • Sized by 9 x 11 inches


  • Available in three varied sizes
  • Available in 3 unique styles, i.e. Cold Press, Hot Press, and Rough
  • It has excellent quality at a reasonable price
  • It works great with ink blending
  • The backside of paper withstands a lot of erasers as it has a fine-tooth 
  • It holds watercolor layers very well


  • Paper has an odor


Check Price on Amazon


2. 2x Canson Watercolor Paper Pad


Multi-purpose, great material, and some texture; is this what you are looking for in a watercolor paper? This Paper Pad is the one with all the above qualities. If you prefer a large-size heavy watercolor pad, then this can be your choice. You can use this slightly textured paper to draw, sketch, or paint. You can use watercolor paints or acrylics on this watercolor paper to paint a masterpiece.

When you open the pad, you will realize it has a light texturing to it with a textured surface on one side and smoother on the other side. It is kid-friendly, keeps your kids busy in creative work.

Canson knows how to score customers with amazing quality goods. This watercolor paper pad is super absorbent and made of pure cotton material.

The Canson XL Series watercolor paper offers heavyweight sheets that are perfect for newbies and intermediate artists who like to draw with watercolor. The cold press paper takes wet media very nicely and is ideal for many wet and dry watercolor techniques.

Besides watercolor, this paper also works well with gouache and acrylic painting. The durable and innovative fold-over cover will keep your paper intact even after repeated openings.


  • Sized by 9 x 12 inches
  • One pack contains 30 sheets
  • Weighs by 140lb
  • Heavyweight
  • Lightly textured paper
  • Bright white paper
  • Acid-free
  • Durable


  • It is a multi-purpose paper
  • Reflects the bright colors of the paint after it gets dry.
  • Great for beginners
  • Cost-effective paper


  • Can not hold up with wet paint strokes


Check Price on Amazon


3. Strathmore Watercolor Pad


Another great option that works incredibly well for the students and the beginners is this paper. It is one of the top watercolor paper pads brands that work great and produce an incredible quality product. If you are a beginner who is looking for a super absorbent watercolor paper then get your hands on this product. It is a cold-pressed paper, with a great, sturdy, and grainy texture. Professionals also prefer to paint their art pieces on this paper.

Strathmore is majorly known as the brand that provides the quality of high level, that too at low and affordable prices. It is one of the best paper for watercolor to use.


  • Weighs by 130lb
  • Contains spiral binding
  • Multicolor
  • Sized by 9 x 12 inches
  • Product dimensions are 11.8 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches


  • Excellent quality for standard use
  • Provides the incredible value to money
  • Works well for watercolor as well as acrylics


  • Does not offers the best absorption for wet paint strokes


Check Price on Amazon


4. U.S. Art Supply Spiral Bound Pad



Students are struggling to find an inexpensive solution to an acceptable quality watercolor paper. In that case, this paper pad saves grace and provides the student with an average quality watercolor paper.

U.S. art Pad is an average quality cold-pressed paper, that works incredibly for the beginners. You do not have to spend some extra bucks to get Arches if you are on the beginning stage. This pad will work for the basic draft. It comes with 2 pads of watercolor paper. So, you get a total of 24 sheets in a package.

This paper is acid-free and has a neutral pH. The natural white sheets allow you to draw and sketch easily. Moreover, the spiral-bound at the top helps you in the easy removal of sheets.


  • Sized by 11 x 14 inches
  • Weighs by 60 pounds
  • One pack contains 100 sheets
  • Spiral binding
  • Acid-Free
  • Smooth Paper


  • Good for learning
  • Cost-effective
  • Works for sketching too
  • Ideal for Writing, Drawing & Sketching


  • Watercolor paper is not made of the best quality.


Check Price on Amazon


5. Bee Paper Company 100% Cotton Paper Roll


For those who are looking for the versatile option, and a professional paper to work with, the Bee paper is worth getting. It is for the artists who draw professionally and do not like to draw on watercolor paper pads. It gives your art a more professional and finished look.

Bee paper is a cold-pressed paper that works great for acrylics, watercolors, and illustrations, and sketching also. The alpha-cellulose, which is used to make this paper provides great texture to the paper. However, if you wish to highlight your paintings, and sell them, you will need to upgrade the quality of the paper.


  • 100% Cotton Watercolor paper
  • Cold press
  • Neutral PH
  • Cold press Watercolor paper
  • Archival-quality
  • Sized by 30 inches by 5 yards
  • Weighs by 90 pounds


  • Absorbs quickly
  • Great for the price
  • Available in multiple sized
  • It is a perfect size paper
  • It has good quality


  • Paint does not mix well on paper
  • The paper works good for drawing but does not works better with paint


Check Price on Amazon


There are many factors that you need to keep in mind while finding the best paper for watercolors. The material, quality, texture, and roughness of the watercolor paper maters a lot. Moreover, if you plan on selling your paintings, the finished painting has to be impressive.

What kind of paper do you need for Watercolors?

The selection of a paper for watercolors should not be very complex. Do not ruin your art by simply going for the cheapest paper. Cheap papers buckle with water and tears easily when you try to erase it. With other painting mediums like acrylic paints, you overcome your mistakes, but watercolor is very unforgiving. So, save yourself by making the right choice at the right moment.  

There is a big collection of watercolor paper available to the watercolor artists, and even when you have narrowed down your list of the best choice of paper for watercolors, it boils down to individual preferences. Here are some factors that you should consider while buying a paper for watercolors.

  1. Quality
  2. Content
  3. Production
  4. Weight
  5. Tinting
  6. Texture
  7. Form



The selection of a watercolor paper can have a significant impact on your final piece of art. The quality of your works depends on the paper that you choose for drawing artwork. 

You might think of going spending less money on a low-quality paper. But keep in mind that watercolor pigments do not respond well to cheap papers and make some techniques difficult to do. 

You also do not need a paper that can disintegrate when you apply rough techniques such as scrubbing. The paper must be durable and acid-free. All the papers that we reviewed above possess these qualities. 

We made this guide for you so that you can read it in detail and then figure out what paper brand can work great for your artwork. As the selection of paper is not only base on the quality of the paper but also depends on what kind of technique you are going to apply. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is watercolor paper?

You must be wondering what watercolor paper is and how it is different from a normal paper. So, the watercolor paper is a paper that is specially designed to work with watercolors. It is thicker than any other regular paper. The thickness of this paper is important to absorb the watercolors and show clear and incredible results.

What is hot-pressed watercolor paper?

A hot-pressed watercolor paper is a smooth paper with no bumps on it. It is a super fine paper, with grains that are plain and smooth. It is easier to paint on the hot-pressed paper because there are no bumps. Moreover, the hot-pressed paper is ideal for painting for larger and even strokes.

What is cold-pressed watercolor paper?

A cold-pressed watercolor paper is slightly grainy. You can witness the bumps on it. It is not as smooth as the hot-pressed paper. If you are looking for a textured surface to paint on,  the cold-pressed paper is perfect in that case.

What is rough watercolor paper?

Rough and cold-pressed papers are similar in a way that both of them are grainy. However, the rough paper has bigger pumps, and the absorption of the watercolor is much easier on the rough watercolor paper.

Can you do water coloring on regular paper?

The regular paper cannot absorb water and paint. Therefore, it is better to use watercolor paper if you plan on painting with the watercolor.

What is the difference between hot and cold-pressed watercolor paper?

The main difference between the hot and cold press paper is of the graininess. The hot-pressed paper is smooth. However, the cold-pressed watercolor paper has grains and bumps. The hot-pressed watercolor paper refers to a more smooth texture and finish. Whereas, the cold-pressed watercolor paper is a coarse paper with a bumpy finish.

Which one is the best watercolor paper among all?

All the papers that we reviewed above are amongst the best collection of watercolour papers. They have their benefit s and drawbacks. However, Arches Watercolor Paper Pad is the one that is best among all.

Which is the best paper for illustration?

Arches and Strathmore are hands down to choose for illustration. Moreover, these are the two brands that are famous for providing the best quality, material, and textured watercolor paper.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *