5 Best watercolor paper brands for beginners and professionals 2020

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

Watercolor papers are totally different from normal papers like printing papers or drawing paper. It is specifically for watercolor painting.

If you want the best results in your paintings, you also need to find the best watercolor paper brand. This way, you will not only have a perfect texture but also incredible results.

There are various factors that you need to keep in mind when you try to find the best one. The material, quality, texture, roughness of the watercolor paper matters a lot. Moreover, if you plan on selling your paintings, the finished painting has to be impressive.

We have shortlisted 5 best water color paper of the popular watercolor paper to use, for your ease. These are for beginners as well as for experts. Have a look at these watercolor paper and pick the one that suits best according to your specifications.


Arches Cold PressCheck price
Strathmore PaperCheck price
Bee Paper CompanyCheck price



Arches Watercolor Paper Pad


There is no surprise that this brand is the first one on our list. Due to it’s unique features and ability to absorb large amount of water makes a popular brand in this field. This watercolor paper pad is made of cold-pressed paper. It provide the perfectly textured cold-pressed watercolor pad sheet.

It is made from 100% cotton grain, which makes your painting amazing, and smooth. This paper is made of 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. 

Arches never compromises with quality , that’s why they are in 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


  • Has odor

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2 X 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 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, textured on one side and smoother on the otherside. It is kid friendly, keeps your kids busy in creative work.

Canson’s know how to score customers with amazing quality goods. This watercolor paper pad is super absorbent and made of pure cotton material. Grab this watercolor pad from Amazon for best price.


  • Heavyweight
  • Lightly textured paper
  • Bright white paper


  • Multipurpose
  • Acid Free paper
  • Reflects the bright colors of the paint after it’s dry.
  • Great for beginners
  • Cost-effective


  • Can not hold up with wet paint strokes


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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. Get your hands on this product if you are a beginner and you are looking for a super absorbent watercolor paper. It has a cold-pressed paper, with a great, sturdy, and grainy texture. Professionals also prefer to paint their art pieces on this.

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


  • Intermediate grade watercolor paper
  • For all levels


  • Great quality for standard use
  • Provides the incredible value of money
  • Works well for watercolor as well as acrylics


  • Not the best absorption for wet paint strokes


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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.

This 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 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.


  • Acid-Free
  • Standard Weight
  • Smooth Paper
  • Ideal for Writing, Drawing & Sketching


  • Good for learning
  • Cost-effective
  • Works for sketching too


  • Watercolor paper is not made of the best quality


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Bee Paper Company 100% Cotton


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.

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


  • 36-inch-by-5-yard
  • 100% Cotton Watercolor paper
  • Neutral PH
  • Cold press Watercolor paper
  • Weight : 140lb


  • Absorbs quickly
  • Great for the price


  • Paint does not mix well on paper


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Frequently Asked Questions for water color paper (FAQs)


What is watercolor paper?

You must be wondering what is watercolor paper, 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 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 to paint 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 watercoloring on regular paper?

The regular paper does not have the capacity to 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 coarse paper with a bumpy finish.

What is the best watercolor paper for illustration?

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


Here are some tips while using watercolors, watch this :



Final Words

Are you still wondering, which one to choose? There are various brands that stand out because of the incredible quality material they provide. The best among them is the Arches and Canson.

Try these two brands to check the amazing quality of these watercolor paper, and you will easily find the answer to which one is the best. Make sure you research well regarding the different textures of watercolor papers. This way, your paintings will turn out incredible.


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