Review: Fabriano 5 Watercolour Paper (50% cotton)

Fabriano 5 is one of many watercolour paper offered by Fabriano. Other papers I've tried include Studio (25% cotton), Artistico (100% cotton) and Rosaspina (60% cotton).

Fabriano 5 is available in different sizes, surfaces, in loose sheets and pads. Fabriano 5 is free of animal derived sizing and is considered vegan.

These are various tests I've tried. The paper surface is considered bright white.

The paper has slightly noticeable grain direction.

Painting gradation is fine but it's not as easy to produce a smooth colour transition compared to 100% cotton watercolour paper.

Glazing or layering works fine.

Wet on wet doesn't work that well. Horizontal lines were painted and the colours don't diffuse as softly at the edges and the horizontal lines are still obvious.

Here's an example of how the horizontal lines should look on wet surface after a few minutes. The paper used was Arches.

There are also noticeable streaks caused by the direction of the paper grain.

This sketch was painted with Schmincke Aqua Drop liquid watercolour.

The liquid watercolour is able to blend more easily compared to traditional tube or pans for some reason. The colours however are not as vibrant compared to other watercolour paper because Fabriano 5 soaks in the paint and water very quickly. Colours will only remain vibrant when paint stays on the surface of the paper, and light is reflected off the paper through the colour. But that's not the case here so the colours on Fabriano 5 are not as vibrant. This is due to the sizing. Also when the paint gets soaked quickly into the paper, the paint will not want to move much, which is why wet on wet techniques don't work as well.

Glazing or laying works fine. Just make sure you use staining colours beneath.

Painting smooth gradation or colour blends will require more control and manually moving the rather immobile paint around.

This paper is probably good for pen, ink and quick watercolour work with minimal strokes. So perhaps it's good for detailed illustration. It's not good for painting wet on wet, or for painting huge washes.

If you've used Fabriano 5, let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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Fabriano 5 is available from Jackson's Art UK (affiliate links).



Thanks for the detailed

Thanks for the detailed review. I especially liked how you pointed out the grain of the paper. I've noticed some cheap watercolor papers have a texture like chain laid charcoal paper and this texture really doesn't do watercolor paint and techniques any favors.
I've even used a paper that the grain texture was a sheet of tissue with heavier paper backing. These seem like odd choices to me.

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