Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad

Last updated date: November 5, 2019

DWYM Score
10.0


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We looked at the top Watercolor Pads and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Watercolor Pad you should buy.

Overall Take

Each page of the Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad is soaked in natural gelatin and air-dried. This process means your paint will have a luster, taking your creations to the next level. The page is made with long fibers, which gives it extra durability if you have to erase your pencil drawings. In our analysis of 35 expert reviews, the Arches Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad placed 1st when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note November 21, 2019:
Checkout The Best Watercolor Pad for a detailed review of all the top watercolor pads.

Expert Summarized Score
10.0
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.9
1,376 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Ideal for experienced watercolor painters or novices who want a professional quality pad, Arches uses long fibers in their pages to create a durable and resilient piece of paper. Arches are the only company in the world to soak their paper in pure natural gelatin and air dry each sheet, which brings out the luster and transparency of the paint and keeps the pages from tearing or linting. This process also keeps the paper looking new through erasing, making it an excellent option for pencil drawings as well.
- Spy
August 7, 2019 | Full review
Paper accepts color well, allows for gentle subtle blending, and can handle multiple layers of water. Overall, a pleasant experience, and an easy paper to work with.
- Natto Soup
The texture of the surface is flawless, as you would expect from cold press paper. Each pad carries twelve 9″ by 12″ paper sheets which are suitable for your wet techniques and blending of watercolors.
- Sea Salt and Pepper
What experts didn't like
With 12 sheets, the Arches is the smallest pad on our list.
- Spy
August 7, 2019 | Full review
Paper is a bit soft, and details may get fuzzy- not suitable for comics work in my experience.
- Natto Soup
Although the paper is quite absorbent, ensure that you have a sponge and blow dryer within reach.
- Sea Salt and Pepper

From The Manufacturer

Let your imagination take flight as you paint on the Arches Aquarelle watercolor pad. Use this cold press paper to create beautiful artwork with watercolors, gouache, and inks. Each sheet is painstakingly crafted from 100Percent cotton fibers, so it doesn't bleed or warp. To make these natural white, acid-free papers stable, they are designed on a classic cylinder mold. With natural gelatin used to size it, these one-pound sheets won't tear when scratched. Your paints will retain their beautiful sheen on this Arches watercolor pad. 12 sheets9 in x 12 incontains alkaline reservewithout optical brightening agents (adheres to ISO 9706)fungicidal treatment to prevent mold buildup .

Overall Product Rankings

1. Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad
Overall Score: 10.0
Expert Reviews: 3
2. Canson XL Series 140 lb. Watercolor Pad
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 7
3. Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Pad, 130 lb.
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 1
4. Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 7
5. Chromatek Pens And Watercolor Pad
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 0
6. Bellofy 98 lb. Sketchpad Artist Pro
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Pentalic 140 lb. Watercolor Field Book
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 0
8. Strathmore 100 Series Youth Paint Pad
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 4
9. Strathmore 440-1 400 Series Watercolor Pad
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 0
10. ARTEZA 140 lb. Watercolor Pad, 14 Sheets
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 1
11. Genuine Crafts 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad, 2 Pack
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 0

An Overview On Watercolor Pads

If you’re an artist, you know the importance of the materials you use. High-quality paints are essential for creations that jump right off the page. But the surface you’re painting on comes into play, too. For artists using watercolor pads, the paper inside those pads can either help or hinder your journey toward creating your next masterpiece.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Unfortunately, higher-quality paper can be on the pricey side. That can make it tempting to save a few bucks by buying one watercolor pad over another. But it’s important to make sure the paper will properly absorb your colors. Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed in your results.

If you use pencils, you’ll also want to make sure you choose a paper that can stand up to your eraser. Look for papers made from long fibers that will erase cleanly. Acid-free, cold-press paper can handle multiple washings. Thicker, high-quality paper will also better soak up the pigments in your paint.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

As you’re pricing around, keep in mind not only quality but quantity. It can be easy to be drawn in by a lower-priced pad, only to realize later that it only comes with a small number of sheets. A much thicker pad will last longer, saving you the inconvenience of having to go back to the art store.

Perforated pages can also come in handy when you’ve finished your piece of art. If you want to extract it from the notebook to display or give away, pages that rip out won’t have that smooth edge. A perforation will give you a handy page that you can show off as the piece of art it is.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

For some artists, sustainability is also an important factor. Some watercolor pads are built with the environment in mind, so you can definitely narrow your list by looking for that feature. You can also find watercolor pads that are made in the U.S., if that’s a priority for you.

DYWM Fun Fact

Watercolor paintings have been found that date all the way back to cave paintings drawn between 10,000 and 15,000 BC. Artists during that time tended to depict the world around them, and those paintings serve as historical documents today. Pigments were combined with either animal fat or spit to create paint, but over time, artists learned to combine water with the pigments. Ancient Egyptians painted on tomb walls, but they also used scrolls as a canvas. The first manmade pigment is attributed to Egypt, where a pigment called Egyptian Blue was invented around 4,500 BC. In the 1800s, scientists found a way to recreate this especially bright color of blue using chemistry, as Egyptians did.

The Watercolor Pad Buying Guide

  • When it comes to paper, it’s the little things that make a difference. The Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad uses long fibers in its page construction, which means it holds up well while working. If you’re also using your pad for pencil drawings, you won’t have to worry about wearing down the paper fibers when you erase.
  • The paper of the Canson XL Series 140 lb. Watercolor Pad is acid-free and cold press, which ensures it will last through even repeated washings. It’s also heavyweight, 140-pound paper with plenty of texture to help it soak up the pigments in your paint.
  • The paper in the Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Pad is also a 140-pound weight, with a felt finish to help soak up watercolors.
  • Art professors helped develop the Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad, designing it specifically for the needs of art students. The perforated, true-size sheets are perfect for neatly removing the pad to display. It holds up well whether you’re using pencil, charcoal or watercolor. It isn’t quite as absorbent as competitors, though, which means you’ll have to allow your drawings a little more time to dry.
  • The pages of the Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad are soaked in pure natural gelatin, then air-dried. That process enhances your paint, giving it a luster. It also helps keep tearing and lint to a minimum.
  • When you’re comparing prices, keep in mind the number of pages you get for that cost. The Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad gives you the most, with 60 sheets of 7 X 10-inch paper. The Canson XL Series 140 lb. Watercolor Pad comes with 30 sheets, while both the Arches 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad and Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Pad provide only 12 sheets each.
  • If the environment is important to you, it may help to know the Canson XL Series 140 lb. Watercolor Pad is made using sustainable processes.