In our PRO sketchbooks we use two types of paper: 100% cotton paper and 50% cotton paper.
PRO 100 – 100% cotton is Fabriano Artistico, Arches Watercolour, Arches Expression and Saunders Waterford. All this papers are double-sided, certified and produced in a traditional barrel process. This are known and appreciated all over the world and it is undoubtedly best watercolour papers. Watercolor papers, which due to its extraordinary hardness and strength is suitable for various techniques.
PRO 50 – 50% cotton is a paper which is called Fabriano 5 and it is made of a mixture of cotton and pulp. Like Artistico, it is a perfect paper for various techniques, especially wet ones. Perfect for watercolours and unrivalled for gouaches. It combines the best features of wood and cotton paper. From 100% it is slightly softer and definitely whiter.
Each paper comes in Cold Pressed (light texture), Hot Pressed (smooth) and Rough (strong thick texture) varieties, and in two weights: 200 and 300 gsm.
Along with different sizes of sketchbooks it gives a lot of combinations and choosing a sketchbooks is not always easy and obvious. So if you haven’t decided yet maybe this guide will be a bit helpful.
When choosing the thickness (weight) of paper we should consider what we will use the sketchbook for. Sketchbooks with a paper thickness of 300 gsm are very popular among many artists, but it is worth knowing that a thickness of 200 gsm, with such a perfect paper as Fabriano Artistico or Fabriano5 is enough for most tasks and will be great for everyday use. Watercolor papers are much stronger, harder and more durable than the standard cellulose papers used by most sketchbooks producers. In addition, the sketchbook can contain more pages of 200 gsm paper, usually about 80, while 300 gm papers are of course absolutely the highest strength. Cards are thick, stiff and almost bulletproof, but remember that there will be less of them in the sketchbook and in everyday use the sketchbook will fill up faster.
Cold Pressed (CP). Most artists choose this type of sketchbook. By its texture, it gives art a dynamic touch. The watercolour washes collect in cavities when floating, making the color spots more granular. Also the lines made on this paper are more uneven, as if slightly vibrating. Drawing feels like scratching, so not all liners will work well with it. It is a perfect type of paper for vivid and dynamic creation.
It should also be added that the nature of grit depends on the paper and the manufacturer. There are different ones in Fabriano Artistico and Fabriano 5.
Hot Pressed/Smooth (HP). It is a smooth paper that is perfect for smooth lines and art based on precision. Drawing or writing we have the impression of “floating” on the paper surface. The spots of color are even and give the impression of illustration. Excellent results can be achieved by drawing under it with crayons or pencil. This paper also loves pen and other liners, but also thick paints such as gouache.
Rough. It is a paper with a thick, uneven texture. It is similar to CP but has a thicker and stronger grit. We get very dynamic and sometimes even unpredictable effects on it.
Materials below are for illustrative purposes only. The scans have not been subjected to any graphic processing in order to maintain the highest possible accuracy.
Colors may in fact be different from those on the scans.
WATERCOLOUR and WASHES:
Fabriano Artistico 100% COTTON 300GSM Cold Pressed CP test samples:
Fabriano Fabriano5 50% COTTON 300GSM ROUGH test samples:
Arches Watercolour 100% COTTON 300GSM Cold Pressed CP test samples:
Arches Expression 100% COTTON 250GSM Cold Pressed CP test samples: