More Thoughts on Fabriano Studio Watercolor Paper and Fluid Hot Press Watercolor Paper

December 12, 2013

131117_A_Man_2-ColorFabrianoStudioLeft: Quick sketch of a man using two colors of watercolor brush pen (Bienfang) and finishing with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Fabriano Recycled Drawing Paper.

In my  discussion of doodles this week it will come as no surprise to you that I think of the images in today's post as doodles. 

They were quickly done with little thought except about the feel of the pens and the water on the paper and a desire to make enough pattern to get a sense of what the papers would do.


131118_Fry_Fluid_Hot_PRessDETAILLeft: Detail from a sketch on 140 lb. hot press Fluid Watercolor Paper. Note the diamond shaped repeating pattern.

Think about this the next time you have to test some paper, or test new materials on a favorite paper. Don't wait until you feel as if you can do the painting of your life, just jump in and do something right now and get a sense of the paper (or materials) which you can apply on a day when you really are going to put in some effort.

I've been working with both the papers shown today for a few weeks (or months in the case of the Fluid) now, but the way things turn out I typically end up with line drawings on them. I will still need to test the Fabriano Studio watercolor paper with a full on watercolor, but as I've said in another post about Fabriano Studio, it has some really nice characteristics for an inexpensive student paper. It takes line work crisply.

The hot press Fluid watercolor paper is more of a disapointment. And the reason it is can be clearly seen in this detail of a sketch made with watercolor pens (image 2). Click on that image to get an enlargement to pop up and then you will see the pronouced pattern even more clearly.

I used this paper for my 2013 Minnesota State Fair Journal and it worked well because I was sketching in pen and then putting on only a little bit of watercolor. But when you cover the entire sheet with paint you can begin to see the an ugly uniform pattern emerges. I hate visible patterns like that in my hot press papers. Because of that I'd have to say I won't be using that paper anymore, unless it's for pen and ink, with maybe only the smallest areas of wash. And because I've limited it that way I can tell you it means I probably won't use it much at all any more—why use a paper that you can't go full out on if the need hits you?

I'll continue to use the cold press Fluid paper. It doesn't have the same issues, and it still feels good with pen (either nibs or brush).

So the next time you want to test some papers think about doing some quick "doodles" however you want to define it—to test those elements of interaction that matter most to you in the final product.


  1. Reply

    I am really loving these faces Roz.

  2. Reply

    Thanks Terry, I haven’t been putting paint out much lately because it’s difficult to hold the brush and paint for any length of time, but I still need to do something so those brush pens are saving my sanity! I have to start practicing working smaller again so I’ll be ready for the annual portrait party at MCBA in January! Hope you are staying warm and getting lots of artwork made.

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