How fluid is Fluid?

It’s paper testing day for me. I’m looking for a paper (not a sketchbook) that will take ink lines well and also stand up to lots of colour and very juicy washes. For my online Craftsy course I used Canson Moulin du Roy, but that seemed to suck up all the colour and the results were often less vibrant than I intended. Today I tried Fluid 100 cold pressed 140 lb. You might be familiar with the pads of Fluid paper (which are not 100% cotton) but these new sheets are archival cotton. Does the paper perform as well as a sheet of Arches or Fabriano? Probably not. But it’s perfect for my needs when sketching out in the field and more likely cheaper than the other brands. The colour in this little scene of a school in the midday sun (11″ x 7″, sketched in about 40 minutes) worked out well. It’s about as saturated as I had hoped which makes me think I’ll probably try this stock again soon.


20 Comments on “How fluid is Fluid?”

  1. JoAnn Raines says:

    Have you tried Saunders Waterford watercolor paper? I’ve been told that Europeans tend primarily toward it, while the US tends toward Arches. I’ve tried the 200lb and like it.


    • I have tried that paper JoAnn. I have a block of it and like it very much but it’s not bright white, it’s more like an ivory and I prefer a brighter paper. The texture is wonderful though. Thanks for writing.


  2. Daniel Dudovick says:

    Thanks for the helpful info


  3. Suzanne Tractenberg says:

    Hi, Shari,….I love getting your emails! I save a lot of your pictures to help me practice and learn how to paint various things, ie, water, the sky, trees,….just all sorts of things. ( obviously I am a beginner!). I was wondering what kind of utensil or pen did you use dor the telephone lines and poles. And what is your main sketching instrument. Do you have a blog segment that describes your palette and things you use? Maybe you have posted in the past and I just missed it.
    Anyway, thanks so much! You are an inspiration!!
    Suzanne in San Diego ( 8/19/15)


    • Hi Suzanne, I’m so glad you like the blog. Thanks so much for writing. For this one, I used a Micron 03 pen. I use a variety of Micron pens, everything from the very fine 005 to the thickest 08. I have posted my materials many times but they are constantly changing. I’ll try to do one soon with the current tools.


  4. Monique says:

    I know what I am going to say is not gospel:) As I am a novice.. but there is some watercolor paper I love..not sure about lines and it is very textured..but it’s bright white and feels like a million dollars..colors look gorgeous on friend bought me a pack of 10 sheets for my birthday and I recently went back and bought another was different:)

    It is sold at the Japanese Paper Shop in Mtl..and it is by St-Armand.
    Feels like luxuury


    • Oh yes, I’ve enjoyed the St. Armand paper a lot. It is very heavily sized though, and sometimes I feel like I just can’t get it wet. As well, it is doesn’t like being erased, or it is generally very easy to ruin the top layer, so you have to be very careful with the lines you use, and not try to “fix” anything. But it does feel like luxury.i think It is handmade, isn’t it? It also comes in some truly lovely pastels shades, and the texture is delightful.


      • Hi Jess, I believe it is handmade. I seem to remember going to the mill, ages ago. I do remember the paper being difficult to erase. Again, I will have to look at it in the store.


    • HI Monique. I’ve tried the St-Armand paper, years ago. I remember it being very inconsistent and almost like blotting paper. It sounds like it has improved since then. I’ll have to take another look at it next time I go to de Serres. What a nice gift you received!


      • Monique says:

        I don’t think de Serres carries this..these are packs of 10 sheets..different sizes..different textures almost..Yes all made at the factory..I have interesting!
        It’s very thick..but felt wonderful to me..:)


  5. Gayle says:

    Here is a link to a recent blog by Artist and Printmaker, Belinda Del Pesco, in which she explains and demonstrates why she prefers using Strathmore Plate Finish Bristol paper for her watercolor work, saying colors stay brighter and are also easier to lift when needed. This product comes in 2, 3 and 4-ply and one supplier’s site notes that “Plate is unsurpassed for fine pen and pencil work, allowing flat and even washes. The regular (vellum) surface is designed for pencil, color pencil, soft to hard charcoal, hard pastel and oil pastel. It is also suitable for washes and gouache.“

    I haven`t tried this yet, but plan on doing so soon as it sounds like the perfect paper for sketching.


    • Hi Gayle. Thanks so much for sending this. I have painted on hot pressed paper many times. I’m going to have to investigate this and see if it’s the same as what Belinda is recommending. And if it is carried in Canada.
      And I’d be curious to see what you think of it.


  6. Leigh Youdale says:

    I was going to suggest you have a look at Strathmore papers as well. I know what you mean about the Bockingford paper but it’s very popular in the UK for larger paintings as opposed to sketching. I think Fabriano make an ultra-white paper but it might not be easy for you to get.


    • Hi Leigh. Actually Fabriano is very easy to get here but I’ve heard that the quality is uneven recently. In fact, at the same time as I bought the Fluid, I also tried a sheet of the Strathmore paper. I’ll let you know what I think of that. I haven’t seen Bockingford here but I’m sure I can order it online. I do love trying different papers.


  7. Janine says:

    Fluid 100 (100% cotton rag) also makes a 300# CP paper that is really nice. It takes fine liner pen/ink very well, and is probably the best paper I’ve sketched on to date. It comes in a good variety of block sizes as well as loose sheets in standard 22×30 size and also smaller packets of pre-cut sheets called pochettes. The 300# is so sturdy, it does not buckle at all, even when separated from the block so you can paint on the back side of the sheet. 🙂


    • Hi Janine,
      Thanks so much for this. I am going to have to try this. Even though blocks are more expensive, I do like painting on them for their convenience. Grab and go for sketchers!


  8. TR Duncan says:

    tell me about your ‘crafts’ course? do you have a link?


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