The best papers for gouache painting

I got these samples of different watercolor papers from “Koval” who make beautiful sketchbooks for watercolor and gouache, and I decided to test these papers with gouache, my favourite painting medium. First, I thought I would just make a few brushstrokes on each of these strips, using gouache, but then I decided to use the strips to do tiny master copies of the paintings of some of the artists I admired. It was such a fun task!

Five of the six papers that I tested were cold pressed and one of them (Fabriano 5, 50% cotton paper) was hot pressed.

Saunders Waterford cotton natural white 300gsm cold press paper has always been one my favorite papers for painting with gouache, as well as its hot pressed version. So, it wasn’t new to me. I love everything about this paper - the color, the texture, the degree of absorption. The gouache colors look fantastic on it. Gouache spreads easier on hot pressed paper, but the texture of this cold pressed paper is really nice.

Arches 100% cotton, 300 gsm cold pressed paper has never worked for me. To me, it’s texture is too bumpy and rough. It might be perfect for watercolor painting, but I find it difficult to use it with gouache. I love Arches 300 gsm hot pressed paper though.

Fabriano 5, 50% cotton extra white hot pressed 300 gsm paper turned out to be much better than I had expected. It performs and feels with gouache like a high quality 100% cotton paper and I really enjoyed painting on it.

All three Fabriano Artistico papers are fantastic!

I love the fine grainy texture of the cold press surface and the way it feels. To me these papers feel very much like cold pressed Saunders Waterford paper.

These are the artists whose paintings I copied on these strips: Joaquin Sorolla, Philip Connard, Mortimer Menpes, Clarence Gagnon, Baranovskiy 

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I am a professional painter who teaches enthusiastic artists how to capture the beauty of the subjects that inspire them.
I help my students convey the illusion of light and atmosphere in their paintings and get the most from the colors on their palette.

The fundamental principles that I teach are universal and can be applied to any painting medium be it oil, acrylics, soft pastels, watercolor or gouache.

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