Saturday, April 17, 2010

Experimenting with Fabriano's Soft Press watercolor paper

I am continuing my experiments with various watercolor papers. This time, I have tried Fabriano's Soft Press 140lb paper. I think this is going to be a winner!

Fabriano states that the soft press is somewhere between its hot press and its cold pressed paper. I wanted to try it out for myself with a quick sketch. I started the most typical Venetian scene possible: gondolas facing San Giorgio's. I may or may not complete this small  5"X 7" painting, but I am ready to share the following observations :
The soft press paper:
  • has a texture similar to most CP papers: in other words, it is not as slick as most Hot Press. You don't have the impression of being on a skating rink.
  • allows for extremely easy lifting of paints.  For example, on the main gondola cover, most of the highlights were achieved by lifting of paint, either while wet or once it had dried.  I loved that feature of this paper. This probably makes the paper closer to HP than CP. 
  • should be ideal for florals
  • is probably not the best for texture , although this is only an assumption on my part since I have not yet tried to achieve any special texture effects on this paper. Any comments about this?
  • is a lot more economical in Ottawa, Canada than any of the Arches paper ( almost half the cost of the 140 lb CP Arches).
I really enjoyed working on this paper and this is definitely a paper that I will try again.

I would be very interested in reading comments from those of you who have painted on this Fabriano 140 lb Soft Press paper.


  1. I'm enjoying your experimenting with the Fabriano. I like it - as much as the Arches, in fact. It has a different feel - softer, more sensual :) According the what I've heard, it's better than Arches for lifting because it is sized all the way through...I think I have that right. Anyway, I like these paintings you're doing and hope you continue with the paper (esp. since it's 1/2 the cost of Arches). We all have our favorites...Arches and Fabriano are two of the best, I think.

  2. Hadn't heard of this paper before, at least not the Soft Press. I'll have to try it, especially if it would be good for florals! Thanks for the info.

  3. Kathy,I don't think all art product stores carry it.
    I have not tried much layering yet with it. If I do, I will post my observations.

  4. 7 years later :) how do you distinguish right from wrong side - just a little more texture?

    1. You can read the company name on the right side at the top or bottom.