The #1 Way to Instantly Improve Your Watercolor Painting Results - This Creative Nest Blog

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The #1 Way to Instantly Improve Your Watercolor Painting Results


July 24, 2019

You’ve been on your watercolor journey for a while now and you’ve likely seen growth in a lot of areas, but felt a bit “stuck” in others. I know that feeling too; I’ve been there! In my first year exploring watercolor, I tried a lot of different techniques, tools and tips to improve my paintings, but there was one thing that made a HUGE amount of difference and can instantly improve your watercolor painting results, too! And today, I’m sharing that with you. 

The one thing?

Instantly Improve Your Watercolor Painting Results with This One Tip


Quality paper.

WAIT – before you roll your eyes and say “I don’t have the money to buy fancy paper just to make mistakes and ruin it”, let’s make two things very clear. 

First, you are NEVER “ruining” paper by making mistakes. You won’t ever improve your watercolor painting results or grow if you don’t allow yourself to make mistakes. And you’ll also likely not make it too far if you have a negative attitude about making mistakes. Be easy on yourself!

Second, you’ve got to switch your mindset from self-doubt to confidence. I wrote a whole post about improving your confidence as an artist (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already) because it is SUCH an important mindset shift to make! 

Because friend, once you’ve decided that you are capable of growth, then that’s when you’ll feel able to allow yourself to invest in better supplies and tools.

Because the truth?

Without that investment and step-up to better quality paper (which truly, is not a HUGE price jump) you won’t see the results you’re looking for. 

Using student-grade watercolor paper is great for learning the basics, absolutely! But if you’ve got those down and you’re ready to actually improve your watercolor painting results and see advancement, then you have to be willing to invest in your craft and in yourself. 

So let’s actually take a look at the cost and break it down. Because yes it’s more expensive, but it is oh-so-worth-it. 

Right now, I can walk into my local Michaels Craft store and get a 30-sheet pad of Canson’s 140 lb watercolor paper for $12.

That’s about .40 cents per sheet of paper. Not a bad deal at all! While it’s great for beginners to get started (and I even include this type of paper in my Beginner’s Watercolor Kit), once you’ve gotten comfortable with basic techniques and muscle memory, it’s time to step up your game. 

Because I can also hop onto Amazon and put a 12-sheet pad of Arche’s Cold Press Watercolor Paper (my paper of choice every day of the week!) in my cart and have it here in two days for $16.

That’s about $1.30 per page. Yes, it’s three times the price of the Canson paper. BUT, it’s also TEN TIMES the quality. There’s a reason it costs more!
High-quality paper, like Arches, is a 100% cotton rag paper meaning it is actually made from cotton. Their Cold Press paper is heavy and toothy, meaning it holds water and allows for beautiful blends and wet-on-wet technique like nobody’s business! I can’t sing its praises loudly enough.

Cost difference per sheet between Canson watercolor paper an Arches paper - Instantly Improve Your Watercolor Painting Results

In next week’s mini-course blog series, I’ll be diving deep into the types of watercolor paper, paints and brushes that work for every student level, and also explaining the differences between each! I’ll also be popping on Facebook and Instagram Live to answer questions. Be sure to head to Facebook to follow along or Instagram at @thiscreativenest

If you’d like to get those posts straight to your inbox AND snag my free Ultimate Watercolor Supply Guide, you can do that below here, too. Just click below and you’re on your way to all sorts of insider freebies, tips and tools weekly!

  1. […] brands were legit? What the heck was the difference between cold press and hot press paper? And why do I “have” to use watercolor paper instead of regular paper? What if I want my watercolor to have some opacity to it instead of being totally transparent? What […]

  2. […] watercolor paper lingo can be confusing, then the world of watercolor brush differences can definitely be overwhelming. […]

  3. […] BONUS: Why choosing a QUALITY paper is the #1 way to instantly improve your watercolor results! […]

  4. Hey, these are some really great tips, thanks for sharing it. I will share this with my sister and mom, they are water color lovers and I am sure they will like this post. It’s an amazing one, thank you so much for this.

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