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Find the Perfect Pad for Your Medium and Budget

Date: 08-01-2024



What makes Fine Art Paper so special? 

Read blog: All About the Surface

Fine Art Papers are made from pure spring water and pure alpha-cellulose, either from wood-free pulp or cotton and grasses, such as hemp. These form a highly durable and age-resistant structure suitable for a myriad of different media, and that will last as long as art should.  

Papers for made for painting are “sized” with an additive that controls how wet paint is accepted into the paper. Sizing prevents the paper from being too absorbent and so enables colour to flow easily. Some papers are also “surface sized”, so the colour is held close to the surface for extra brightness, and it provides a more durable surface for masking and erasing techniques.

Surface texture is made during the manufacture by felt blankets, each contributing a unique grain. Rough papers tend to add an illusion of depth to painting, as varied thicknesses of pigment lay thinly on the raised part and deeper in the trough of the surface. Smooth papers (also called Hot Press) produce flat, delicate areas of paint and allow for fine detail and line work. “Cold Press” or “matte” papers are most popular, as they fall somewhere in between these extremes and so are suitable for many applications and techniques.

The weight of the paper is expressed in Grams per Square Metre (GSM). This often coincides with the thickness, but a loosely formed paper may feel thicker than a highly calendared paper of the same weight. Usually, a thick paper of 250 - 300gsm is more appropriate for painting, as it does not distort as it absorbs moisture as much as a thinner paper. 600gsm papers hardly move at all, even with very wet paint. Thinner papers are suited to dry media techniques and hand-rubbing when print making.

Fine Art Papers are formatted for every artistic desire. Most commonly available as a pad, either glue- or spiral-bound, they are also available in large sheets, rolls (up to 20m long!), journals, and blocks. Blocks are pads which are glued on all four sides for extra stability when working wet. Any movement in the paper flattens out as it dries on the block; it is removed once dry and flat to reveal a fresh sheet underneath.

Acrylic and Oil Colour


Hahnemühle Acrylic & Oil Painting Paper

The absorbent nature of this 230gsm linen-textured paper allows for easy blending and quick layering, perfect for quick alla prima sketches, painting outdoors en plein air, and 
(with the paper being archival), finished works.

Special additives in the paper allow direct oil painting without oil-strike.

The packs come with 5 sheets of 230gsm matte (cold press) paper in A4, A3 & A2 sizes.



Fredrix Canvas Pads

Great for students or artists who want to paint studies on canvas in a pad format. Each pad has 10 sheets of primed canvas, which are sturdy enough to be mounted when dry.

Now also available in Black! - Fredrix Black Canvas Pads contain genuine 7oz artist canvas, primed with black acrylic gesso and ready for use with any medium. Black canvas provides an excellent background for paintings with opaque colour palettes.



Hahnemühle Acryl Paper

Acryl 330gsm has a subtle linen texture and its slightly glossy surface allows more time for paint application, due to its reduced absorbency. Acryl 330gsm is particularly suited for thicker paint techniques, and doesn’t need to be stretched before being used. The artist can work right on the 20 sheet block or on a cut-off sheet of paper – the paper remains smooth anyway.

The Hahnemühle Acryl Paper comes with 20 sheets of 330gsm paper in 24cm x 32cm and 30cm x 40cm sizes.






Hahnemühle Britannia

This great value paper takes a wide variety of media extremely well, from watercolour and gouache, to inks, acrylic colours, and even for printmaking. It is a natural white, sturdy paper, with good wet strength. Like all Hahnemühle papers, Britannia is acid-free and age resistant.

The packs come with 10 sheets of 300gsm matte (cold press) paper in A6, A5, A4, A3 & A2 sizes.



Hahnemühle Harmony

Harmony is a high performing watercolour paper at a very affordable price, available in a range of 300gsm Hot Press, Cold Press, and Rough surfaces. What makes Harmony special is the surface-sizing. Usually reserved for cotton papers, surface-sizing enables very specific control of watercolour. The colour is kept closer to the surface, so that colours stay more brilliant, and wet colours can be easily corrected or lifted off. Masking fluids and tapes can be used and removed residue-free, and the surface is very eraser resistant.

Harmony is available as a block (glued on 4 sides “pre-stretched”) gued top side or spiral bound pad.



Hahnemühle Collection

The Collection sets new standards for high-quality watercolour papers. The selection of the best raw materials and exclusively natural filler materials gives this range its unparalleled quality. A carefully chosen blend of cotton offers extremely strong fibres and incomparable purity, and the special surface-sizing provides a very durable surface, particularly suited for demanding watercolour techniques.

The fibres do not lift, rub off or loosen, even when applying multiple layers of colour, or when using masking fluids and tapes. The colours remain brilliant, and the surface offers excellent control, especially for wet-on-wet paintings.

The Collection Watercolour Paper is available in 300gsm and 640gsm weights, in Hot Press, Cold Press, and Rough surfaces, and in 24 x 32cm and 30 x 40cm blocks.



Read more on Hahnemühle watercolour pads >

Marker Art


Zeta Layout Marker Pad

Zeta Layout Marker Pads are a smooth texture with the perfect absorption for water- and alcohol-based marker rendering. Areas of colour can be applied evenly, and ink lines stay clean and sharp. The fine surface is also excellent for pencil, pastel and charcoal work, and is eraser resistant.

Each pad comes with 100 x 80gsm sheets and in sizes A4, A3, A2.



Fabriano Bristol

Fabriano Bristol is super smooth, bright white, and great for illustration techniques. It has good resistance to erasing, keeps a very sharp ink line and can be used with ink, felt-tip pens, solvent-based markers, watercolours, gouache, graphite, charcoal and for airbrushing.

Each pad comes with 20 x 250gsm sheets and in sizes A5, A4, A3.



Crescent Rendr

The Crescent Render Bleedproof Pads use a durable, 180gsm acid-free 'no show through paper'. Artwork won't bleed through no matter what media you use, even with solvent-based markers and acrylic washes. You can create on both sides of the page, allowing you to use 100% of the paper in this pad.

Available in 24 sheet 23 x 30cm pads.





Fabriano 1264 Bristol

Features 200gsm very smooth paper that is perfect for illustration techniques and technical drawing. The smooth surface is ideal for fine detail work, and will take markers and ink exceptionally well. Comes in sizes A4, A3 with 50 sheets in each pad.


Read more on Fabriano pads>


Hahnemühle Toned Paper Pads

These smooth coloured sketch papers have a closed surface, perfectly suited for ink pens, fountain pens, coloured pencils and acrylic markers, as well as all other water-based pens. The paper comes in two tones:

Cappuccino which offers warm-toned motifs and excellent painting base.

Grey which perfectly captures rainy days or dark nights, by setting shadows or white highlights so wonderful details can appear.

Each pad comes with 30 sheets of 120gsm paper in A4 or A5.



Lana Dessin

A 220gsm perfect paper with light grain and durable surface, which makes every stroke of your pencil a real pleasure. Good resistance to erasing and masking.

The Lana Dessin Pad is ideal for pencil, black lead, pastel, felt pen, ink, charcoal, chalk, and watercolour sketches. Each pad comes with 30 sheets of 220gsm paper in sizes A5, A4, A3, and square 30 x 30cm format.


Hahnemühle Natural Line

Three fast growing, sustainable fibres are used by Hahnemühle in their eco-friendly Natural Line papers: Bamboo, Hemp, and Agave. These are easily renewed resources that require less processing. All are blended with lesser proportions of cotton for strength, and each paper has unique surface qualities due to their composition.

The below excerpt is taken from the full Hahnemühle Fine Art Paper blog

Natural Line Hemp Sketch

Hemp has a fine surface texture reminiscent of parchment, and is sturdy enough for studies in mixed media.

Made from 60% hemp fibre with 40% cotton, 80gsm Hemp Sketch is a very durable paper for dry media and pen & ink. Hemp Sketch handles plenty of work with an eraser without “pilling” the surface, and ink lines remain crisp and defined. Despite its light weight, the tough surface and fine grain also make this a very attractive paper for rough sketching in watercolour, gouache, and acrylic. Hemp Sketch is acid-free and archival.


Natural Line Agave Watercolour

Agave paper can be used with any water-based paint, and the unique surface is especially responsive to granulating colours.

From 70% agave fibre with 30% cotton, 290gsm Agave Watercolour has a unique surface effect for watercolour painting, especially for glazing. The special surface has a smooth feel under the brush, while its unusual grain becomes apparent when colour is applied, as the absorbency favours a textural appearance of the watercolour. This is especially visible with granulating colours, which are highly emphasised.

The surface sizing offers the ability to lift colours and use masking fluid, tape and erasing without damaging the surface.


Natural Line Bamboo Mixed Media

The particular absorbency and surface texture of Bamboo lends it to most techniques, from dry media and ink to painting and printmaking.

Due to its unique surface, this natural-white 265gsm artist paper is very well suited for different drawing and painting techniques, as well as mixed media techniques. The colour flows beautifully, with high contrasts and excellent colour intensity can be achieved with every technique. Bamboo is particularly well suited for watercolour, acrylic and pastel-painting techniques, as well as sketching, and even printmaking.