Paper: Canson Heritage Watercolour Pads (review)

Good watercolour paper is expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for a nice paper that is easy on the budget. While browsing eBay one day, I came across a store having a ‘buy any two watercolour pads/blocks and get a third free’ sale, so in addition to the two blocks of Saunders Waterford I bought, I also picked up a pad of Canson Heritage watercolour paper.

As far as I know, all of Canson’s Heritage watercolour paper is 300gsm, though like with most brands, you can get it in Hot, Cold or Rough press, as well as in blocks instead of pads. My preference is for rough-textured papers so that’s what I got.

In terms of colour, it’s slightly whiter than the Saunders Waterford White paper I have (which has a slight cream tint) and about the same as Arches. The texture is almost identical to the Saunders Waterford as well, a nice, non-uniform surface that allows dry-brush techniques to work really well. I used some pretty thick washes in my sample painting and though it buckled significantly (as most pads do, which is why I normally prefer blocks), it didn’t pill up or fall apart like some watercolour papers do when I tried scrubbing or lifting techniques.

If you buy Canson Heritage in a gummed pad, you’ll be paying about the same as you would for the equivalent sized/weight pad of Arches or Saunders Waterford, give or take a couple of dollars. But for some reason the blocks are comparatively more expensive at around the same price as Arches; at Jackson’s in the UK the Canson is $5 dearer, while at The Art Shop in Victoria, it’s $5 cheaper, but both are still significantly more expensive than the Saunders Waterford.

Here’s the painting I did on Canson Heritage watercolour paper.

Canson’s Heritage watercolour paper is definitely a worthy entry into the watercolour paper market. It’s a good quality paper that performs just as well as the other major watercolour brands and seems to be easily available, at least from online stores. It isn’t all that competitive on the price front, but if it’s on sale or if you need more watercolour paper at short notice and can’t get the sort you regularly use, you should give it a try.

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