When I first started out in watercolours, I bought a bunch of cheap drawing sketchbooks (with about 160gsm paper) because I was reluctant to buy expensive paper while I was still learning. All the paintings I did on this paper turned out badly as the paper would pill and fall to bits if I used a heavy wash or tried to put more than one layer of paint down. I bought one expensive pad and I found it a lot easier to paint on this 300gsm paper, but I was still afraid of ‘wasting’ it with failed paintings. One day I was in the newsagent and I saw some Monte Marte watercolour pads. At the time I hadn’t tried any of Mont Marte’s other products, but when I examined the paper, it seemed thick and sturdy and had a nice texture. The A5 pad was also only about $5, so I bought one to try.
The little silver circle in the top right corner of the cover page says the paper is made in Germany. The back of this page has a few tips for beginner artists using watercolour; though I’d already come across much of this advice before, I thought it was a nice touch and would be good for anyone picking up some watercolour paper as a complete newbie.
Though it claims the sheets are white, they are more of a pale cream colour. It also says this is a rough toothed paper, but I think it is more similar to medium-tooth or cold-pressed paper in other brands (I compared it to my Daler-Rowney and Fabriano watercolour pads). That being said, it is a nice texture, and will allow you to use watercolour techniques like dry-brushing that works on standard watercolour paper. It cockled a little bit when a lot of water was applied, but not too badly; I used a bulldog clip to pin the outer edges together and I was able to paint on a mostly flat surface.
While this isn’t as good as, say, Aquafine or Bockingford paper, it’s definitely a good starting point for a beginner or someone who is still learning and wants the freedom to practice without fear of using up expensive paper.