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As an artist, choosing the correct tools is vital if you want the outcome to be aesthetically-pleasing and of a high quality. When it comes to paper, what you end up choosing will depend on tools you are using. This will also determine the finish you would like to achieve.
Let’s take a look at the differences between watercolor paper, hot pressed smooth paper and bristol board.
Watercolor paper, as the name suggests, is great for using with watercolor paints. It can be either machine-made, mold-made or handmade, although many artists prefer hand-made. This material doesn’t distort your color, is stable and durable.
This kind of paper has an irregular surface texture, making it fun and easy to paint on. If you would really like to splurge on the best quality watercolor paper, we recommend opting for 100% pure cotton paper. The cotton texture will give you a beautiful and professional finish, in addition to ensuring that your colors will last.
Hot Pressed Smooth
If you enjoy painting subjects in very fine and accurate detail, you may want to consider hot pressed smooth paper. This is the smoothest type of watercolor paper with a very fine grain and almost no tooth. Because of its wonderfully smooth surface, it will render your work with a very high level of brush detail.
Bristol board is also known as Folder Stock and is very popular with watercolor artists due to its acid-free and smooth characteristics. Since it has little to no tooth, it is the perfect medium for drawing with ink, mechanical pencil, markers or airbrush where it will give a perfect result for drawing fine details and lines.
Bristol vellum, on the other hand, has a medium textured surface with valleys and peaks and is therefore ideal for drawing with colored pencils, crayons, graphite, pastels or charcoal and can help you to achieve deep tones and perfect shading.