Another Note about Canson Montval Watercolor Paper

November 26, 2013

131117_Man-in-blueLeft: Sketch on Canson Montval using a Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pen in light blue (later outlined with a green pen from the same line). The image on a 9 x 12 inch sheet is too large to fit on my scanner so it's cropped. It's missing more of the ear and the shoulders and throat.

On November 7, 2013 I posted about a dog visit and some sketches I made, trying out two papers over the course of a weekend. One of those papers was Canson Montval Watercolor paper which is a 140 lb. cold press paper available in sheets, blocks, pads, rolls, and boards. It's a lesser grade watercolor paper (described as "student" by Blick) and the price reflects that. But I was pleasantly surprised by its performance, as I noted in that post. (I see on Blick you can also get the paper in rough 124 lb. sheets.There may be some other manifestations I'm missing.)

If you go to the provided link in the above paragraph and click on the second and third images in that post you'll see my work on that paper using watersoluble colored pencils.

I've continued to play around with the paper, but the other day I really gave it a run through when I did the quick sketch shown in today's post. This sketch was done using a Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pen. I did a Project Friday on the Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pens that you can read. I put up my lightfastness test charts for the pens here.


Left: Detail of the image.

I pick up these brush pens and play around with them every so often. Sometimes, even though it's probably not the most sensible thing to sketch with a high key color like the light blue in today's image, I'll still do it.

What I wanted to call your attention to today was that I really worked a lot on this paper, wetting, rewetting, picking up color, moving color around. Scrubbing back a little. And the paper held up really well.

If you are looking for a less expensive watercolor paper with a somewhat "hard," nicely sized surface that will take repeated work this might be a good paper for you to look into. You may never use it for final art pieces but having good study paper is always useful. And if it works for your style of painting (and has enough fun factor for you) why not use it. (And I have no financial connection with Canson—whose Mixed Media paper I hate—or any paper vending stores or companies.)

I went out and bought some more of this paper to use at life drawing so I am sure you'll be seeing some more sketching on it in the coming weeks.

Note: I started a Canson Montval category in the category list in the left column of this blog today. To get to my earlier post created before this category existed you can click on the link in this post.

  1. Reply

    Thanks for the info, Roz. I’ve noted the paper down so I can give it a try. 🙂

    • Tina
    • November 26, 2013

    I’m glad to hear you like the Montval — I’ve had good results with it, too. How about Canson XL 140 lb. (another “student grade,” I think) — have you tried it? It seems similar to the Montval, but the finish is slightly smoother — close to hot press, in fact.

    – Tina

  2. Reply

    Tina, I DETEST Canson XL, and you can read my reasons why in this post from 2011

    If you like Canson’s Montval you might take a look at Canson Illustration which is a heavy weight paper that comes in wire-bound pads. You can read my review for it here:

    Happy sketching.

  3. Reply

    Serena, I hope you have some fun with it!

    • Tina
    • November 28, 2013

    Thanks, Roz (re: Canson XL), but I think we’re talking about two different papers. The pad I have is called Canson XL Watercolour Paper, and it is 140 lb. I might check out the Canson Illustration paper.

  4. Reply

    Tina, I did a quick check on the Blick website and they show Canson XL with Mixed Media and another with Watercolor, so we are talking about different papers. The one I tested in the XL line was the Mixed Media. I haven’t seen the XL watercolor version where I shop (haven’t been keeping an eye out for it, because I didn’t know they had it).

    Since I liked there Montval I might try their watercolor, but I’m not going to rush and do it because I was so deeply unhappy with the other XL product, the Mixed Media. I’ll keep a look out for it however.

    For now I’ll keep using the Montval and the Illustration I have on hand. Both have a pretty high fun factor.

    Thanks for writing in.

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