ComparisonPosted: January 9, 2014
In my student days I had a watercolour teacher who told me to buy the best painting equipment I could afford, and that wise advice has always stayed with me. “It is better to invest in one good brush than buy several cheap ones.” With that in mind I bought a Winsor & Newton Series 7 sable brush years ago that I only recently replaced. The same is true with paints. A few good tubes of artist grade pigment will reward you with better colours and mixes than student quality tubes. But where the difference is most noticeable is with paper. Sheet watercolour paper — 100% cotton rag — no matter if it is Arches, Fabriano, Waterford or Winsor & Newton yields far superior results than most sketchbook paper (except for the Stillman & Birn books), and allows you to do so much more (lifting, scraping, glazing, wet-in-wet). Where I notice the difference the most is in the way the paint granulates on the paper. I’ll admit I love the convenience of sketchbooks, but most of the time when the sketch is done I look at it and think that the result would look 100 times better on a sheet of good watercolour paper.