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Review: Baohong Watercolour Paper (Artist Grade)

Baohong watercolour paper is made in China.

The paper is available in either artist or student grade (called Academy). Pricing is noticeably cheaper compared to other popular brands such as Arches, Fabriano, Saunders, etc.

The one I bought is the artist grade 12 x 9 inch coldpress block with 20 sheets. I bought it at Straits Art here in Singapore and below's the pricing compared to other artist grade cotton watercolour paper (9 x 12 inch):

  • Baohong 12 x 9 - SGD 29.50 (USD 22) from Straits Art
  • Fabriano Artistico - SGD $44.50 (USD 29.50) from Straits Art
  • Fabriano Artistico - USD 44 from Dick Blick
  • Arches - USD 36 from Dick Blick
  • Lanaquarelle - USD 36 from Dick Blick
  • Fluid 100 (15 sheets) - USD 20 from Dick Blick

I've only included watercolour paper I've tried and those that I like.

Baohong watercolour paper is priced very competitively compared to other brands. By the way, art products in Asia are usually cheaper compared to Europe and USA.

The student (Academy) paper is even cheaper. Shown above is a 12 x 16 inch 300gsm 100% cotton 20-sheet pad at SGD 29.50. That's the same price as the 9 x 12 inch artist grade Baohong watercolour paper. Even the student grade paper is made with 100% cotton.

The paper is available in loose sheets or paper pads gummed on four sides, hotpress, coldpress and rough. Packaging design may differ.

I find the coldpress texture to be slightly rougher compared to Arches (more sandy) and Fabriano Artistico (smoother, better for ink drawings).

Dry media or ink will both leave behind rough marks. The surface texture is also rough enough to move your pen/pencil tip when you're drawing. Coldpress is not really suitable for pen ink and watercolour sketches.

Go for hotpress if you want to use ink or mixed media.

The paper has good sizing and water absorption, and can handle watercolour well. When painting, you don't see any white speckle on the surface.

The the 300gsm paper will still buckle slightly with heavy washes but will return to being flat once the water dries.

Paper colour is off-white creamy, quite similar to Arches and Fabriano Artistico (Traditional White).

Wet on wet techniques work fine. Actually the performance is very similar to Arches and Fabriano.

Lifting test.

Paint is able to move and blend smoothly without unnatural streaking. There's also no noticeable grain pattern on the paper.

Layering works fine. Colours appear vibrant.

The paper quality is surprisingly good, very comparable to more expensive watercolour paper from popular brands.

Here's a close up on how granulation may look on the coldpress surface.

Another pen, ink and watercolour sketch.

I'm quite impressed by the quality of Baohong watercolour paper. It's extremely satisfying to see how your watercolour performs and looks when dry on the paper. Considering the price is noticeably cheaper than other brands, this watercolour paper is definitely one I can recommend easily. It's still more expensive than non-cotton watercolour paper, but it's worth trying if you want to have an easier time with wet-on-wet watercolour techniques.

Check out this detailed review by another artist too.


You can find Baohong watercolour paper from Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP), Shopee SG, Lazada SG, Straits Art (Singapore)