have started using watercolor paper for my calligraphy. I don't
know very much about these papers though. What does the 90 lb.
and 140 lb mean? Tell me about hot-pressed, cold-pressed and
rough, and which is best for calligraphy. Does the paper absorb
the ink or does it sit on the surface of the paper? Do I need
to stretch the paper when I make a wash as a background for
on branching out and using new materials to experiment. Watercolor
papers are great for adding backgrounds of collage, watercolors,
acrylic, gouache. They come in smooth surface which is called
hotpressed (like it has been ironed), a non-smooth surface that
is called cold-pressed or not surface (for not hot pressed)
and rough which has a very rough texture. For detail painting
and really fine lettering I recommend the hot-pressed. The cold-pressed
makes a more interesting texture and pattern on the page, it's
harder to write very small writing though. Rough has huge hills
and valleys so it's better for large nibs that give it a "dry
brush" look. Any of these surfaces will take collage and
all the paints.
weight (thickness) of watercolor paper traditionally refers
to the weight of a ream (500 sheets) of a given size, (most
often 22 x 30 in.). For example, 500 sheets would weigh 90 lbs.
so it's given the 90 lb. designation. Lighter weight paper need
to be stretched if a large portion is going to wet. I have learned
that if you wet both sides equally they will lay flat while
wet and dry flat. Anything 140 lb. or more doesn't need stretching
unless it's going to be very wet.
watercolor papers are sized, this means gelatin has been added
to the paper at the pulp stage. This makes the paints and inks
sit more on the surface rather than soak down into the fibers.
Some highly sized papers also are dipped into tubs of gelatin
to add an extra amount on the surface. These are harder papers
and the paint colors stay vibrant because it sits on the surface
rather than soaking into the paper. Continue to experiment with
different brands and see which works best for you.