There are many brands of professional watercolor paper on the market today, and I’ve tried just about all of them: Arches, Winsor & Newton, Saunders Waterford, Stonehenge, Fabriano, Baohong, etc. etc. While these are all good quality papers, after years of experimentation with these and other brands, I always go back to one in particular: Arches. Why? Read on!
A Long History
Arches Aquarelle has a long and rich history that spans over five centuries. The company was founded in 1492 in the small town of Arches in the Vosges region of eastern France. At the time, the company produced handmade paper primarily for the printing industry.
In the late 17th century, the company began to produce paper for artists. The paper was highly regarded for its quality, and artists such as Jacques-Louis David and Edgar Degas used Arches paper for their artwork.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the company continued to grow and expand its production of fine art paper. In 1898, the company was acquired by Richard de Bas, a well-known paper manufacturer, and expanded its product line to include a range of watercolor papers.
During World War II, the company suffered significant damage from bombings and had to rebuild its facilities. In the post-war era, Arches watercolor paper continued to be a popular choice for artists, and the company expanded its product line to include papers for printmaking, drawing, and other fine art applications.
In 1990, Arches watercolor paper company was acquired by the Italian paper manufacturer, Fabriano. Despite the change in ownership, the company continues to produce high-quality watercolor paper using traditional techniques and remains a trusted brand among professional artists and art educators.
Today, Arches watercolor paper is still produced in the same small town in eastern France where it was founded over five centuries ago. The company remains committed to producing high-quality, consistent paper using sustainable methods and continues to be a leading brand in the art world.
One of the primary reasons why Arches watercolor paper is recommended over other brands is its exceptional quality. The paper is made of 100% cotton fibers, which makes it highly durable and able to withstand multiple washes without buckling or warping. The paper has varying textures that provide a beautiful surface for watercolor painting.
Arches paper is produced using traditional techniques, which involve using natural gelatin sizing to protect the paper fibers. This process ensures that the paper remains stable and prevents the colors from unwanted bleeding. The paper is also acid-free, which means it won’t yellow or degrade over time.
Another reason why Arches watercolor paper is recommended over other brands is its consistency. The manufacturing process of Arches paper is highly controlled to ensure that each sheet of paper meets strict quality standards. The texture, weight, and sizing of the paper are consistent across every sheet, which allows artists to work with confidence and predictability. This consistency ensures that the artist’s creative vision is accurately captured on the paper.
Range of Options
Arches watercolor paper is available in a range of sizes, weights, and textures, providing artists with a wide range of options to choose from. The paper is available in hot-pressed, cold-pressed, and rough surfaces, giving artists the flexibility to choose the surface that best suits their style and technique. The paper is also available in a variety of sizes, from small pads to large sheets, making it suitable for all types of projects.
Arches watercolor paper is widely available in art supply stores, making it easy for artists to find and purchase. The brand has been around for over 500 years, and its reputation for quality and consistency has made it a popular choice for artists all over the world. Many art educators recommend Arches watercolor paper for their students due to its reliability and accessibility.
While Arches watercolor paper is more expensive than some other brands, it is worth the investment for me. The paper’s exceptional quality and consistency make it an ideal choice for professional artists and serious hobbyists. Its durability and resistance to buckling and warping also mean that I can work on multiple layers without fear of damaging the paper, and the acid-free nature of the paper ensures that my artwork will remain archival and long-lasting. While other brands of watercolor paper may have their unique features and advantages, Arches watercolor paper is a reliable and consistent choice for this watercolor artist.