If you’ve been following our blog, you already know that the quality of the watercolour paper can make or break a painting.
...what you might not be aware of is all the formats you can choose from.
Between sketchbooks, pads, blocks, or even loose sheets and rolls, there are plenty of options. While some might work for your style, others will probably just get in the way.
So, what options ARE there? And how do they differ from one another?
Let’s find out…
Plus: we’re about to release a NEW product. Care to guess what it is? Hint: it’s somewhere in this blog post!
The classic approach, watercolour sketchbooks are, like the name says, sketchbooks!
Sketchbooks are great for travelling, or for when you want to keep your art organized inside the book and flip through it. If the paper quality is good, you can use both sides of the paper and maximize the painting area.
However, if you like to take out pages to gift or sell them, a sketchbook is not the best option.
It’s also worth mentioning that every brand has its own way of making sketchbooks. Apart from the type of paper, there are other things to consider (binding of the book, sizing of the paper, orientation, treatment of the edges, and so on).
For more details about sketchbooks, check out our 100% cotton line here.
Watercolour Sheets and Rolls
Yes, you can buy individual sheets or rolls of watercolour paper!
...and these are awesome if you like to paint BIG.
[ below: Stephanie Law's art - @spmlaw. ]
Even though these options might be cheaper if you’re cutting big sheets into smaller pieces (especially the rolls), this can be inconvenient because the paper does require stretching before using (to ensure the paper won’t wrap or buckle).
...and it requires a bit of extra planning and organization if you’re planning to go outdoors for art.
But hey – you get to choose what size you’re working on! If you work mainly in studio, this could be a great option for you.
A plein-air artist’s best friend, these are blocks made out of a pile of sheets, bound on all four or two sides by glue. It serves as a mini-drawing board, since at the back there is usually a heavy card support that allows you to rest the block on your lap.
The best part? You don’t need to stretch your paper.
Cons? Just like the sketchbooks, they’re not the best tool if you like to work on multiple pieces at the same time, since you’d need to remove one sheet from the block in order to use the next one.
Watercolour pads are kind of a hybrid between a block and a sketchbook, because:
- The pads can be tape-bound (which allows you to easily peel off each piece of paper);
- ...or wire-bound (allows you to flip over a finished work and start work on a fresh piece of paper).
[ below: art on a paper pad from our Etchr fam member @jovi_medalla ]
No matter what type of pad you go for, you can easily take out the pages if you intend selling them.
The blocks are better in the sense that the paper comes stretched; and the sketchbooks have a much better binding – so it really depends on your preference!
Which one is better?
Whichever suits your style best!
Assuming you’re comparing different formats with the same paper quality, then there’s no possible A or B answer. Simply use the one you’re the most comfortable with :)
Want to play a game?
One of these formats will be our next Etchr product! Care to guess which one?
Share your best guess in the comment section below!