Can You Draw On Watercolor Paper?

Can You Draw On Watercolor Paper? Find The Best For You!

When painting with watercolors, one of the most important things to make sure is that you need the right surface. Watercolor needs a lot of water to make color washes. Water and most forms of paper don’t blend well.

High-quality watercolor paper is specifically made for watercolors but can it be used for other materials as well? Let’s find out,

Can You Draw On Watercolor Paper?

Yes, you certainly can. Because of the surface, many artists work with graphite or charcoal, or some other dry media, on watercolor paper. There are two types of watercolor paper: cold press and hot press.

Since cold press paper has a rougher base, it is generally better for sketching and painting if you have a looser style.

The smoother surface of hot press watercolor paper is definitely your better choice if you choose to paint in a closer, more controlled format.

What Is A Watercolor Paper?

Watercolor paper is a kind of paper or substrate on which an artist paints, pigments, or dyes with watercolor paints. There are several varieties of paper made specifically for use with watercolors on the market today. Watercolor paper may be made entirely of wood pulp or a combination of wood pulp and cotton fibers.

What Are Watercolor Papers Made Of?

Watercolor papers are made of cotton fibers.

The following is the standard technique for producing watercolor paper:

  1. Cotton fibers are pulverized and placed in a vat before being poured into flat frames or cylindrical molds. After that, the report is thoroughly reviewed for accuracy.
  2. Sizing is applied to the paper. The aim of sizing is to reduce the paper’s ability to absorb water. Watercolor paint does not soak through the paper as quickly as it did with the inexpensive paper I purchased. Before slowly soaking in and drying, the paint should stay on the surface for a moment.
  3. Sizing gives you enough time to clean the paint if you need to make some adjustments. There are two types of sizing: “Surface” and “Internal.” Surface sizing is applied to the paper surface after it has been molded, while internal sizing is applied to the pulp of the fibers when they are still in the vat.

Choosing A Watercolor Paper

The type of watercolor paper you choose makes a significant difference in the quality of your work. Here on, I’ll assist you in choosing the right paper for yourself!

Though low-cost paper can save you money, you’ll find that watercolor pigments don’t react well on those surfaces, making certain techniques difficult to execute.

When you use harsh methods, you still don’t want paper that starts to disintegrate (like scrubbing). It’s also crucial that the paper is acid-free and durable.

Watercolorists can choose from a variety of different kinds of watercolor paper, and even when you’ve narrowed it down to the right options, it always comes down to personal choice.

When making a decision, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • consistency
  • processing
  • material
  • weight 
  • texture
  • tinting
  • shape

These are all important considerations.

Is It Necessary To Draw Before Painting With Watercolors?

If you questioned 100 watercolor artists this question, you’d probably find around half of them favoring them while the other half wouldn’t. To put it another way, choosing whether or not to draw before painting in watercolor is a personal decision.

Although there are many advantages of doing so, there’s still something to be said about the spontaneity of drawing without a diagram. Watercolor has a lot of great qualities, one of which is the random effects you can get when you paint easily and loosely with a lot of washes. Working without an underlying pencil sketch is something you can try if you want to intensify this effect.

Although many artists enjoy the natural effects that watercolors allow them to achieve, others favor a more controlled approach. Although watercolor can be erratic, it can be managed to a high degree by a professional and professional artist, allowing for precision when painting. For artists who like to practise this way, using a pencil drawing to use as a reference for their painting can be very helpful.

It’s similar to the distinction between a designer and an abstract sculptor. An architect has a roadmap to work on so they know what the final product of their work should be. Getting a blueprint is not only advantageous, but also necessary.

An abstract sculptor, on the other hand, does not know what they want their final piece to look like. They probably have a basic understanding, but they’re able to accept any mishaps along the way because it gives their work more life and movement.

100% Cotton Paper Vs. Cellulose Wood Pulp Paper


Cotton paper is stronger and more durable than wood pulp paper. Cotton paper, as a result, can withstand even more vigorous brushing and paint removal without tearing or pilling. Cotton paper can be scrubbed under running water without ripping it. If you need to remove vast areas of color without scratching the paper surface, this is the way to go.


Cotton paper extracts liquid much faster than wood pulp paper. Wet painting is much easier on cotton paper as it can contain and hold more water than wood pulp paper. On wood pulp paper, painting damp into wet is even more likely to result in unsightly back runs.


Colors prefer to maintain their vibrancy even better on cotton paper, according to practice.


Cotton-based paper is naturally acid-free. This means that, unlike wood pulp paper, the work will last forever and will not deteriorate or turn yellow.

Can Watercolor Paper Be Ironed Flat?

Yes! Watercolor paper can be ironed flat. The best condition for framing a watercolor painting is for it to be completely smooth.

If you have a buckling painting, you might consider ironing it. If you iron carefully, the painting will not be damaged, particularly if it is made of cotton.

Place the painting face down on a clean hard flat surface with a steam iron. A scrap of plywood or other sturdy board would suffice. If there’s a risk the board will mark the painting, you might want to put a piece of paper between the painting and the board.

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