A Paper for Botanical and Beyond!

Peter painting a loose botanical watercolour on Botanical Ultra Smooth Paper

In light of some of the criticism that has been given to the changes Fabriano have made to their Classico 5 paper, UK paper manufacturer, St Cuthberts Mill, has produced a 50% cotton, Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper to rival, if not exceed, the Italian paper. Kim and Peter put it through its paces to see how it performs.

The cover of the Botanical Ultra Smooth Watercolour

Just like the Fabriano Fat Pads, we offer the Botanical Ultra Smooth Watercolour Paper in fat ring-bound books of 25 sheets in A5, A4 and A3. As the paper is very strong, we would advise cutting each sheet from the spiral rather than trying to tear sheets out or simply leaving them in situ.

Close up of the Botanical Ultra Smooth Watercolour Paper

The mould made, Hot Pressed paper is 300gsm, acid free, 50% cotton and surface sized so will suit Watercolour. As with all Hot Pressed papers, washes can be repelled making the paint puddle easily and causing pronounced watermarks. If this is not the intended effect, the addition of ox gall to the water will reduce the surface tension of the water and allow the paint to flow better. It will accept layering of the watercolour and really comes into its own for ‘tight’ detailed painting such as botanical or scientific illustration because the paint is not affected by any surface undulation so the artist can control the brush strokes and the way the paint goes on in a precise manner. The smooth whiteness – particular to this paper – also makes it a great surface for illustrations executed in gouache, pencil, pen and ink.

Botanical Illustration on the Botanical Ultra Smooth by Kim Curtis

Kim’s tight, illustrative style showing the building up of layers…

Botanical Watercolour by Peter Taylor Ward

…whilst Peter’s looser washes of Sennelier Watercolour pool nicely on the paper.

Graphite Pencil Drawing on Botanical Ultra Smooth

It is a nice surface for soft and harder grades of graphite too. Here Peter has sketched with Cretacolor 2B and 4B pencils with the whiteness making a great contrast to the pencil line. It is easy to smudge and blend on the paper but take care not to over-use the eraser if you want to maintain the smooth surface.

Filbert by Kim Curtis using Unipin Fineliners and Kuretake Bimoji on Botanical Ultra Smooth

The paper takes Ink pens such as the UniPin Fineliners, Faber Castell Pitt Artists Pens and Kuretake Bimoji Brush Pens well. This drawing demonstrates all three.

Kurecolor on Botanical Ultra Smooth Paper

..and nice effects can be achieved with Graphic Markers such as the Kurecolor Twin S.

Kurecolor on Botanical Ultra Smooth Paper

The Markers will bleed on the paper but this allows for great graduation and blending of colours so looser pieces in marker work very well…

Kuretake Bimoji Brush Pen and Kurecolor on Botanical Ultra Smooth Paper

..or where outlines will be defined by an application of Brush Pen or Fineliner over the Marker.

Botanical Ultra Smooth with Sennelier Watercolour and Pro Arte Renaissance Brush

Of course, the paper need not be used only for Botanical Illustration and we hope our feature has helped you to make a decision on whether this would be a suitable surface for your artwork…even if its not flowers!