There are three types of surfaces for watercolour paper: hotpress, coldpress and rough.
Coldpress textured watercolour paper is probably the most common and popular. The textured surface is what makes watercolour look distinctly watercolour.
Hotpress watercolour paper has a smooth surface because the texture is removed by being pressed with hot metal rollers. The smooth surface works better with dry media for mixed media work, is good for detailed illustrations and the colours appear more vibrant.
Sketchbooks with hotpress watercolour paper are more difficult to find because coldpress watercolour paper is way more popular.
Below's a list of brands that make sketchbooks with hotpress watercolour paper, arranged alphabetically. Some are quite expensive because good quality watercolour paper is expensive.
Etchr Lab is a company from Australia that sells art supplies.
The Etchr Sketchbook is available in portrait and landscape, cloth bound hardcover with 52 pages of 220gsm 100% cotton hotpress or coldpress paper. Sizes available are A6, A5 and A4 and US $63, $90 and $120 for a set of three sketchbooks.
I've not tested the hotpress watercolour sketchbooks before so I can't say how good they are. I've tested the sketchbooks with coldpress paper and the quality is quite good. There is some limitation with colour blending so the paper is definitely not as good compared to top quality paper, but the quality is good enough for the price the company charges which is around US $21 - 40 per sketchbook.
The company also sells other types of watercolour sketchbooks too. Check out their online store.
These sketchbooks are also available from Jackson's Art (UK) and Blick Art Materials (US)
Koval is a company based in Poland that makes high quality sketchbooks with cotton watercolour paper. The prices are on the higher side but the quality is real good for the paper and binding. Check out my review for the coldpress watercolour sketchbook.
The paper used has either 50% cotton or 100% cotton paper from Fabriano or Saunders Waterford.
There's no downside the sketchbooks except for the higher pricing and the hotpress watercolour sketchbooks are out of stock often.
Arkademie is a company based in Singapore that sells leather products and sketchbooks.
The Arkademie Artist's Sketchbook (review) uses Fabriano's Rosaspina print making paper (220gsm, 60% cotton).
The paper isn't exactly watercolour paper but it can handle watercolour just like hotpress watercolour paper.
The leather bound sketchbook has 60 pages and is priced at SGD 97 (US $70) at the time of review.
The downside is the company doesn't produce many sketchbooks so you have to ask the company when they will release the next batch.
Baohong is a Chinese company that makes watercolour paper and sketchbooks. I've not used their sketchbooks before but the quality of their watercolour paper pad is really high. This is a company that has student grade watercolour paper with 100% cotton, and the quality is comparable to artist grade paper from other companies.
This sketchbook is hardcover with 48 pages of 100% cotton hotpress 300gsm paper. Because the paper is thick, this sketchbook is suitable for heavy washes.
You can find this sketchbook on Amazon and the price is US $30 not inclusive of shipping. The pricing is very reasonable when you compare it with other brands.
I got to know of this brand when I saw the sketchbooks at Art Friend.
The A5 and A6-ish sized sketchbooks are priced at SGD 26.99 and 14.99 respectively. The hardcover sketchbook has 48 pages of 300gsm 50% hotpress watercolour paper.
Since I've not used this brand before, I can't say how good the paper is. The pricing is quite attractive though.
Paul Rubens sketchbooks are 7.6 x 5.3 inch hardcover sketchbooks available with 40 page 300gsm 100% cotton hotpress or coldpress paper.
I've not tried this sketchbook before so I can't comment on the quality. Do check out the more than 400 reviews available on Amazon.
The price of US $15 for a 100$ cotton watercolour sketchbook belongs to the too-good-to-be-true category for me.
Do you know of other hotpress watercolour sketchbooks?
This list of hotpress watercolour sketchbooks is short. You can try making your own sketchbooks too as there are many book binding videos on Youtube. Another place to find such sketchbooks is on Etsy.
If you know of other hotpress watercolour sketchbooks, let me and others know in the comments section below.
Last but not least, you can search Blick Art Materials (US) and Jackson's Art (UK) to see what they have.
Submitted by Carlo on
I have the Paul Rubens sketchbook for my gouache experiments. It's not bad, it takes the water very well, with several passages. I don't know, to be honest, if it's hot pressed, because the grain remind me to a classical cold pressed paper.
Here a couple of experiments:
Submitted by Teoh Yi Chie on
Thanks for sharing. If there's texture then it's probably not Hotpress as Hotpress paper is smoother than even fine grain paper.
Another hotpress sketchbook
Submitted by Lina on
Another hotpress sketchbook is the Clairefontaine Aquarelle Fontaine with 100% cotton. I am trying it for the first time right now and it seems fine. Takes all kinds of media including of course watercolors. The price is good too. I got it from Germany so not sure where to get it in the US or rest of the world.
Add new comment