Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad

Last updated date: November 5, 2019

DWYM Score
9.5

Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad

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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

For mixed-media artists, the Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad is the most versatile choice. You'll get 60 pages in each pad to ensure you get the most out of each purchase. This pad was also designed with the help of art professors to ensure they meet the needs of art students. In our analysis of 39 expert reviews, the Canson Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad placed 4th 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
9.6
7 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
1,548 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Mix Media paper erases well and blends easily. The wire bound pads have micro perforated, true size sheets. These pads were developed in consultation with art professors and combine performance with value for the art student. These pads contain 60 sheets of 98 pound/160 gram paper, acid free, 7 x 10 inch paper.
- Gist Gear
August 24, 2019 | Full review
Superb balance of quality and price. Holds up to blending and erasing.
- Wiki EZ Vid
February 16, 2018 | Full review
It is suitable for a variety of mediums such as pencil, charcoal, watercolor, etc. This sketchbook has perforated pages so you can remove your projects any time you’d like to. It is lightweight and portable
- Architect's Resources
This one is a lot cheaper, especially in the US, at more like 11c per sheet (in the UK more like 20p per sheet)- and it’s big with 60 sheets. But again the paper is only 160gsm, and this paper feels even more prone to buckling, meaning you won’t really want to paint on both sides. It doesn’t seem to be designed for painting on both sides anyway as sheets are perforated for easy removal. The paper is bright white and isn’t as absorbent as I’d like meaning drying times were longer.
- Anna Mason
September 26, 2018 | Full review
Heavy weight slightly textured paper for acrylics and light watercolor applications, Spiral Binding with Tearable Sheets, Affordable Price Range.
- Art Journalist
March 21, 2019 | Full review
Its acid-free heavyweight 160 gsm paper is unbelievably sturdy and will survive literally every material, from inks and soft pencils to acrylic paints, and they can be used simultaneously in different techniques. It also allows easy erasing and blending, without crinkling and deforming.
- Your Art Path
What experts didn't like
60 pages in total may not last that long for an architect who sketches a lot and goes through a lot of paper.
- Architect's Resources
But again the paper is only 160gsm, and this paper feels even more prone to buckling, meaning you won’t really want to paint on both sides. It doesn’t seem to be designed for painting on both sides anyway as sheets are perforated for easy removal. The paper is bright white and isn’t as absorbent as I’d like meaning drying times were longer.
- Anna Mason
September 26, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Canson XL Mix Media Pads were developed as the answer to the demand for a heavyweight, fine texture paper with heavy sizing for wet and dry media. This paper can be used for: sketching, drawing, light washes of ink and watercolor, collage, journaling, and more. It has quickly become the most popular paper in the Canson paper family. Mix Media paper erases well and blends easily. The wire bound pads have micro perforated, true size sheets. These pads were developed in consultation with art professors and combine performance with value for the art student. These pads contain 60 sheets of 98 pound/160 gram paper, acid free, 7 x 10 inch paper.

Overall Product Rankings

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

DWYM 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.