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I started painting in watercolor in July 2017. I was 17 and I had never seen a watercolor paper ever before. For me, my first purchase of watercolor paper is memorable and expensive. At first, I watched many Youtube videos and read many blogs on best watercolor supplies, how to get started with watercolor and stuff like that.
And there was a random Youtuber, who mentioned something no one else did, “you can’t practice all techniques in a low quality paper”. It made sense and albeit, a beginner I wanted to try and learn every watercolor techniques just at the beginning. So, I decided to go with the expensive ones. That’s how I ended with Daler Rowney The Langton Prestige Block
After testing and ruining some costly papers lol, I did my first watercolor painting. It was a portrait of a smiling old man. Though, I wasted some expensive papers I was able to understand the nature of the medium very well. And I’m really happy about the way my first watercolor painting turned out.
I have to admit that it was the best paper I’ve ever used. But back then, I was not aware of its greatness. Because I hadn’t even used an average quality paper(lower GSM, not pure cotton, etc.) for once. So, I simply can’t compare it with anything.
Later, I bought some mid-range and low budget papers. And soon after a couple of brush strokes, I could see how the quality of the paper affects the quality of your artwork. Definitely, I can’t paint something like I showed above in a mid-range paper. But at the same time, I admit that you can create awesome art in a mid-range paper as well. But the point is – not all techniques work at their best in a low-quality paper.
If you like to work with too much water and go crazy with your experiments, I’m sure you need an expensive and superior quality paper like The Langton Prestige. Otherwise, you’ve to leave it to the “happy accidents”.
If you are intermediate planning to paint bigger and quality paintings, The Langton Prestige Block is absolutely a great choice. I always prefer expensive papers for my commissioned works as the paintings last longer and dealing with mistakes is a bit easier when you can use a lot of water and still able to maintain the flatness of the paper.
It’s important to note that though an expensive paper gives you a wide range of possibilities, I never recommend it to a beginner. I think the better way to begin with watercolor is to start with a decent quality paper – Acid-free, 300 gsm with 25% cotton works fine. And go with any preferred size – anything you’re comfortable to work with. And once you are ready to dive deeper(for commissions, for galleries etc.) you can buy something expensive.
There’s this decent paper from Fabriano. It’s suitable for a mid-range budget. Currently, the 300 gsm paper is unavailable but you can buy the 200 gsm with a slightly larger size of 24*32 cm here. And here’s one of my favorite paintings I painted in it.
Do you’ve a better suggestion of watercolor paper for beginners? Leave it in the comments.
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Until then keep your brushes wet and keep painting 🙂