Thursday, August 7, 2014

Watercolor Paper Comparison - Distress Stain

I am so excited about today's comparison because Distress Stain is one of my favorite mediums to watercolor with.  I like them more than the Distress Pads and way more than the Distress Markers.  I honestly don't care much for the markers but I use them in conjunction with the Distress Stains when I watercolor.   For whatever reason I can't get the Distress Markers to move like I want them to on regular or watercolor paper which is why I LOVE the Distress Stains.  They move and flow and blend so easily.  I normally color an image with the DS and a Niji Waterbrush then - if needed, I go back with the markers to add fine lines and details to highlight the image.

So here we go.... I used Peacock Feathers Distress Stain for today's comparison.  I preformed a few tests on the paper with the stains to demonstrate different aspects of the paper/stain interaction.  First I made a dot of color direct from the bottle - I wanted to see how well it retained it's original color and how bright/dull it looks on each paper.

I then spritzed one side of the dot with water using one squirt from the Mini  Mister to see how well the paper would allow the color to wick.  Surprisingly several of the papers didn't wick at all while others offered amazing designs.  

Finally I added a swish of color made by picking up some Stain off of my non-stick craft sheet with my Niji Waterbrush.  I simply painted it across the paper just to show what it would look like using my favorite technique for watercoloring images.    Again, amazing to see all of the different looks depending on the paper.
Take a look at the results...

Arches 140lb Hot Press

Arches 140lb Cold Press

 Bienfng 90lb Student WC

Canson Mixed Media Paper

Canson 140lb Cold Press

Crayola WC Paper

Dick Blick Mixed Media Paper

Dick Blick 90lb Student Cold Press

Dick Blick 140 lb Cold Press

Fabrino Artistico 90lb Cold Press

Fabrino Studio 95lb Cold Press

Hero Hues 100lb Felt Finish

Ranger WC Paper

Simon Says Stamp WC Paper

Strathmore 140lb Cold Press

Such a wide variety of looks huh?  Which was your favorite?  I have several - I liked Strathmore, Ranger and Dick Blick 140lb Cold Press more than the others though.  I'm sure with various styles of inking and the types of watercolor out there most of these papers would work well.

Tomorrow I'm going to experiment with Distress Paints.  Several people wanted to see what they looked like watered down on the various papers so your wish is my command!  See you then!


  1. Hi Roni, I was thrilled to see your post. It could be just my computer image, but I really liked the Blick 90 lb. paper. Ranger performed well but it's so cost prohibitive compared to Dick Blick. Can't wait for your next comparison. I have the distress paints but don't really use them; your results may help. Thanks...

    1. I agree with you,wwilloww, about costs for Ranger- and isn't it funny how we have supplies never used? Guess we were just waiting for the right person to give us a boost! heehee ")

  2. Another great comparison! I just found some Twinkling H2Os on clearance at Michael's...any chance you'll be testing them? Thanks for all of your work!

  3. Just goes to show, not always are the "brand" names the best! I have never used Blick, but I think it is time to place an order!!
    Roni,have you used the Stillman and Birn and what if so are your thoughts there?
    Your comparisons and thoughts are very much appreciated- thank you for taking the time!")

  4. Good post, Roni! I like the Ranger and the Strathmore 140# best for crafting. When I paint a watercolor painting, I always use Arches Cold Press 140# or heavier - I like the color of the paper and that it holds up well to scrubbing, but I don't pull it out of storage for paper crafting. I guess I'd better try it, though! I like the Ranger watercolor paper a lot (love the way color moves on it) but it's too pricey to provide when I teach classes. I wish we could find out what company makes it - the packaging just says "Made in France". I'll get all of my stash of "good" watercolor paper out and see if I can find one that matches the texture on front and back and maybe be able to determine the manufacturer. I also never thought of using my Distress Stains to paint with! Thanks for the great info, Roni!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!