Review: Phoenix Watercolour Paper (180gsm)

Phoenix Watercolour Pad has 20 sheets of 180gsm coldpress watercolour paper. This was bought from ArtFriend, a local art store in Singapore.

The price is around $6.50 and it's the cheapest watercolour paper sold by ArtFriend. It's even cheaper than the Daler Rowney Aquafine student-grade watercolour paper that I usually buy.

So each sheet is around SG $0.325 or US $0.25. Student-grade watercolour paper can range from SG $0.50 to $1 or more. And artist-grade watercolour paper goes from SG $1.50 to $3 per piece. I'm referring to 9 x 12 inch paper. Larger paper will be more expensive.

The paper is off-white and has coldpress texture. The paper quality does not look or feel good. If you've used quality watercolour paper, you'll sense that something's amiss with the Phoenix paper. The paper quality feels like cardboard quality without the hardness of course. The quality is even worse than decent quality cartridge drawing paper from Daler Rowney.

There's slight featuring with ink but overall not too concerning.

The painting experience on this paper is not good. Much of it has got to do with the sizing, or the lack of sizing to be more precise.

The paper is absorbent and will soak the water and paint. When paint goes into the paper (rather than stay on top), it's difficult for the colours to blend softly. To blend colours, you have to use the brush to push and mix them. On good quality watercolour paper with proper sizing, the colours will blend and mix easily on their own.

I've used Cobalt Blue Deep (PB74) which is a paint that has noticeable granulation. However on this paper, PB74 does not granulate much. I find that amazing, not in a good way.

Glazing is possible. But I won't use more than 2 layers total.

When painting watercolour, you want the fluidity. You just can't get that with this paper. Paint just does not move much on this paper, so wet on wet techniques is incredibly challenging. And because the paint will go into the paper, the colours will appear more dull compared to their vibrant look on better paper.

Since the paper is not thick, it's not good for heavy washes. There is buckling with heavy washes. And when I dried the paper under sun, the paper curled quite badly.

The paper quality here is even lower than student-grade quality. So avoid this paper at all cost.

This paper is good as scrap paper. But at SG $6.50, you can probably get even better scrap paper. This paper can be used with watercolour, but I don't think it should be called watercolour paper. It's just not good enough.



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