Review: Fabriano 1264 Watercolour Paper (25% Cotton)

Fabriano 1264 is a series with paper for drawing, sketching, watercolour, mixed media and there's also bristol paper. 1264 by the way is the year that Fabriano paper mill was created in Italy.

The Fabriano 1264 watercolour paper is made with 25% cotton content. This student grade watercolour paper and the quality is almost similar to the Fabriano Studio watercolour paper.

Fabriano Studio has coldpress and hotpress, 200gsm and 300gsm, and sold in glued pads. Sizes available are

  • 8 x 10 inches
  • 9 x 12 inches
  • 11 x 14 inches

Fabriano 1264 watercolour paper only has coldpress, 300gsm, and is sold in either spiral bound or glued pads. Sizes available are

  • 7 x 10 inches
  • 9 x 12 inches
  • 11 x 15 inches
  • 18 x 24 inches

The pricing is quite similar so the which one to choose comes down to which format, size, texture, paper weight you're looking for.

The spiral bound pads come with perforated sheets that are easy to remove.

The pad comes with 30 sheets of 300gsm, acid-free, coldpress watercolour paper.

Here's how non-granulating paint looks on the paper.

Here's how granulation looks on the paper. The coldpress texture has a more noticeable pattern compared to the finer grain coldpress texture of Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton watercolour paper.

Pencils may produce lines with rough edges.

The downside of student grade watercolour paper is usually the difficulty using wet on wet techniques. Shown above are tests for wet on wet techniques.

In the first test, I painted three horizontal lines on the wet surface. On top quality paper, the lines should diffuse until the lines are barely visible. On the Fabriano 1264 watercolour paper, paint doesn't seem to move much even on wet surface. Because of that, it is difficult to paint gradated wash and also have smooth colour blends.

Water seems to dry fast. When water dries before the paint moves, the paint won't be able to move anymore. Show above are some small areas that dried faster than other areas.

When different areas of the paper dry at different speeds, there will be dry edges at the boundary.

Colours appear vibrant on the paper so that's great.

This colour blend above looks good only because I added more water (to help paint move) with a spray as the paper was getting dry.

Pen, ink and watercolour works well. Glazing or layering works well. In the shadow area, I've tried to charge in another colour and the colour just remained as a dot until I used the brush to spread it out.

So the only performance issues are due to the difficulty with wet on wet techniques, and the unpredictable drying time.

The paper should work well for quick sketches, wash and go, testing colour mixes, and not good for wet on wet techniques, gradation and colour blend. It's not that you cannot use wet on wet techniques, it's just that you'll have to use your brush to manually create certain effects whereas with good paper, the paper will be doing the work for you.

The pricing for this paper is good, but you do get what you pay for. Student grade paper is cheaper for a reason.



This is the cheaper lower

This is the cheaper lower quality Fabriano wet media paper one can get. It is so cheap and so generic that here in Greece some parents buy it as a higher quality (heavier) alternative for pre school children art lessons! It is sold along with the pre school art supplies to get an idea. So trying somewhat more advance watercolor techniques on this particular paper was a bit of a bit too much to say so and doomed to fail.
It is a good paper though for ink and light wash sketches if you like the rougher surface.
You didn't mention in your review and I don' t know if you noticed that this paper has two differnt surfaces the CP on the front side and a smoother on the underside.

Anyway... I don' t know how you' ve ended up buying this paper but I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't review it as a regular non cotton watercolor paper because it is not and it is not marketed as such.

You can try adding a few

You can try adding a few drops of Ox Gull to water. It is a wetting agent and will improve paint fluidity. Works well with cheaper papers and helps build nice color gradients, but it might be a new techique to learn in your workflow.

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