Review: Indigo Artpapers handmade watercolour paper (300gsm 100% cotton)

Indigo Artpapers is a company based in Canada that sells and distributes watercolour paper made in India.

I discovered this brand by accident while searching through I've had good experience with another handmade watercolour paper (Khadi) so I bought the Indigo Artpapers to test.

The pack that I bought came with five sheets of 16 x 20 inch 100% cotton 300GSM coldpress watercolour paper. It cost S$34.26 (~US $26) with shipping included. At the time of this review, it's available on but not on anymore.

This handmade watercolour paper, sometimes called rag paper, comes with deckled edges on all four sides.

The paper is ivory white, almost a bright white, which is able to reproduce colours vibrantly.

I don't paint on large single sheet of paper so I got the good folks at SPD Singapore to make a sketchbook using the paper. The sketchbook above is a 10 x 8 inch hardcover with 40 pages. The quality of the bookbinding from SPD Singapore is excellent. I have had them bind several sketchbooks for me over the years. Binding services is around S$20 - 25 depending on the size of the sketchbook.

The deckled edges were cut straight.

This coldpress texture is somewhere between rough and the sandy Arches and Fabriano coldpress texture.

Watercolours are vibrant on the paper because it's bright white, or as the company says, ivory white. The paper is acid-free so it should not turn yellow. The paper was bought in 2018 and now in 2021, it still looks really white.

Here's a mixed media sketchbook with pen, ink, watercolour and POSCA markers.

Because the paper is a rougher coldpress texture, how the pen nib moves will be affected slightly by the texture. Drawing straight lines is possible obviously but there may be slight wobble as the pen nib goes in and out of the valley of the paper

I really enjoyed drawing with pen and ink on this paper because the lines are solid and the paper handles ink really well with hard edges with no feathering.

Wet on wet techniques are possible so you can get colours to blend nicely. The paper is certainly thick enough for heavy washes.

Paper is thick but it will still buckle slightly with water. You may need to prepare or stretch the watercolour paper if you want to paint on the large sheet.

Watercolour works really nicely on this paper.

Granulation of paint can be seen very clearly on this paper.

Indigo Artpapers also makes other paper products such as sketchbooks, mixed media paper, mixed cotton content watercolour paper.

Just for comparison purposes, a sheet of 16 x 20 Indigo Artpapers is US $5.20, Arches is $3.75 and 14 x 20" Fabriano Artistico is $3.13. Arches and Fabriano are already expensive but they have the quality to match. Indigo Artpapers is significantly more expensive.

The main thing going for handmade paper is for the paper texture which is more raw, unpredictable, different? It might still be worth getting if you want to try something different. I do enjoy drawing and painting on handmade paper.

Visit this Amazon links to see what Indigo Artpapers products are available:
US | CA | UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | JP



In your review of Indigo

In your review of Indigo Artpaper, the only reason you gave to paint on hand-made paper was “why not?” You could add: surface texture, suppleness, and water handling:

Most machine-made paper have a “grid” texture, (Fabriano, for example.) Some hand-made papers do as well. Indigo paper has such a grid, most obvious on one side than the reverse. (Your video at 3:33)

Few machine-made papers have a really random pattern. Arches, is appreciated for that.

The beauty of many hand-made papers like St-Armand papers is not spoiled by a “grid” look. Their texture has a random pattern.

Rag paper is more solid than linters paper. The longer fibre in rag paper means it can sustain more water. 210gsm Khadi paper can sustain as much or more water than 300gsm papers, because it is made of rag cotton. Even their 150gsm paper compares well with many 300gsm papers.

Rag paper can also handle more work, or fiddling, but this can also depend on surface sizing. (For example, using tape or masking fluid damages Khadi paper. But that is due to Khadi’s poorer surface seizing.) Among the St-Armand paper mill products, the Dominion paper is “harder” than the St-Armand paper. Both have internal and surface sizing, but Dominion has more surface seizing, making it “harder.” Khadi 100 and 150gsm papers is only internally sized. Their 220, 320, 640 and 1000 Watercolor papers are both internally and externally sized.

St-Armand paper:
St-Armand Dominion paper:
St-Armand paper :
Canal paper serves for watercolor, but much thinner:

There is also the different “feel” of rag paper vs linters paper.

Linters paper (like Arches) feels like cardboard . Rag paper feels a bit like thick fabric. Turning the pages of a rag paper sketchbook like Khadi sketchbooks seems like handling fabric. It is thick, yet supple. Arches and other 100% cotton paper is crisp, not supple. Rag paper can be rolled without dents or kinks or wrinkles.

Of course, watercolor paper also becomes “harder”, when it is “hard-sized”, which means when seizing is applied on the surface of the fabric (on top of already having been seized internally.) But there is an intrinsic rigidity in linters cotton paper that is not found in rag cotton paper.

Rag cotton is made from from remnants from the cotton-garment industry.

Linters cotton is the fuzzy down-like fibre of the cotton seed.

When cotton is ginned, the long staple cotton is removed from the seed and used in the textile industry to make cloth. Then the seed is further processed in a machine called a "linter", which removes the rest of the seed hairs (the closer to the seed, the shorter the fiber).

Rag fibers are longer fibers compared to cotton linters so they do provide extra strength. Cotton linters are pure cellulose fibers that are byproducts of cotton processing. Although the cotton linters' fibers are shorter than textiles, they still offer outstanding strength and archival properties.

Sturdiness of rag cotton paper ( Indigo Artpaper review) (at 2 : 00)

Linters cotton description in Arches mill:
In the very strong industrial papermaking history of the Vosges, land of water and forests, and still today the leading paper department in France, the Arches factory is unique: its art and printing paper is made only cotton (some references also include linen or hemp). These fibers, longer than those of wood, can tangle more, and absorb paint better. In the Middle Ages were used waste from the textile industry, also very present in the Vosges, and old rags from hospitals, especially flax and hemp. Today, cotton linter (fibers remaining on cotton seeds after they have been ginned) arrive in sheets from abroad at the Arches paper mill.

If you enjoyed this, I have many, many ideas for topics linked to art (watercolor) supplies never yet discussed.

Fir example, Khadi Long Books: BBL3 and BBL4 have never been reviewed ( long panoramic and XXL 320gsm sketchbooks.) Amazing!

Khadi 640 gsm paper HP and CP, and 1000gsm CP watercolor paper has never been reviewed.

I love parkablogs, always a

I love parkablogs, always a great source of information.
Indigo artpapers make wire bound (sketchbook style) Wiropads, which are excellent for traveling. The paper is fantastic, and can take quite a beating, scrubbing out and such; and the covers are good and solid.
Plus, because you can open the pad all the way flat, unlike a stitched bound watercolor pad, it's much easier to work on.

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