Am I painting on a watercolor block? Or am I painting watercolor on wood?
The answer? Neither. I’m not painting on watercolor paper either.
What is it then?
It’s called a watercolor board, and I absolutely love painting on one! This specific watercolor board is made by Canson and it’s 16″x20″. It retails for $5.99 and it’s made in France. That’s as much as I know about it.
As for painting on it, I’m using both watercolor and gouache. It doesn’t suck paint. It doesn’t puddle either.
Best of all, I don’t have to prep it in any way. I just simply start painting.
Watercolor boards vs watercolor paper
Easy to draw on?
Anyone who’s been following my career knows how seriously I take inking. I think inking is absolutely essential for my brand of pinup art. And whereas it’s not as easy as hot press watercolor paper for drawing then inking, it’s not that much more difficult. I think it’s about as easy to draw on as cold press watercolor paper.
That’s not enough to make me not want to use on it. It just took awhile to get used to.
Quality of the surface
Someone was saying it’s really watercolor paper glued to a board. If it is, I can’t tell. It seems like it’s its own thing.
The board holds colors really well, just like a watercolor paper. But the biggest benefit of all is it’s simply ready to go.
I like the size. This one specifically is 16″x20″.
I haven’t used any other brands besides Canson, because that’s what the nearby store has. But this really does the trick. I don’t have to fight buckling.
Buckling watercolor paper will drive you nuts if you’re using a lot of water. And I use a lot of water. When I’m painting Allie or Roxy, I’m using seven layers of paint for their skin color. That’s the simple secret what gives them that soft look.
I’m the wrong person to ask here. I’ve mounted watercolor on wood for most of the works I have for sale. But for this, it’s too thick to cut with my X-Acto knife. Yeah, maybe I could, but I’d really have to work and I don’t want to do that.
So far, I’ve finished three paintings on this. The first one (not the one you see up above), I’ll give away because I don’t think it’s my best work by any means. It’s nice. But not up to par.
But the other two, I’ll get professionally mounted. Then I’ll put them up on the store.
So the answer – no, it’s not as easy as mounting watercolor paper because it’s really thick. You can’t bend the board without ruining it. You already know you can bend and fold watercolor paper (well, sort of – if you know what you’re doing). With the watercolor board, you’ll ruin it if you did that.
“Would you recommend it?”
Well, let’s just put it this way. I’ve done two of these in a row and I’m just about to go out and buy yet another board today.
Can you handle 16″x20″? It doesn’t fit on my wife’s art board though, so I’m literally painting right on the floor rather than on top of the art board.
Yeah, I know, I’m a freak. I don’t sit down while painting and paint on an easel like a normal person. I got a messed up back and painting on the floor is way easier for my back.
This is what happens when you play violent sports as a young person. It catches up to you. Not at all knocking them though. It’s why I’m so competitive today, which is a not a good thing for an artist, but a great thing! I see so many artists with loads and loads of talent who quit because they’re all butt hurt that they didn’t get famous overnight. But that’s another story for another day.
This one’s $5.99 retail. Try it out. It’s expensive for one’s daily habits. But considering I sell my works, I’d rather pay for something I want to work on.
Update March 9, 2023 – I wrote this article back in 2019. To be honest, I stopped painting on watercolor boards. I much prefer watercolor blocks.
But this is personal opinion. Try a watercolor board and see if you like it. I much prefer watercolor blocks because as I mentioned above, I prefer hot press to cold press watercolor paper. Watercolor board is equivalent to cold press.
It really depends on what you’re doing. If your primary focus is on the drawing, you’re more than likely going to prefer hot press. But the majority of artists who paint with watercolors prefer cold press watercolor paper. I’m in a minority here.
Try it out and let me know if you like it or not.