Monday, April 13, 2009

Comparison: Canson vs. Clairefontaine Watercolor Pads

Canson vs. Clairefontaine

Having had the recent opportunity to test Clairefontaines watercolor pads, I was curious how they stacked up against the Canson Montval pads I have been using forever.

Here are my initial thoughts:

Color, weight & surface texture is pretty much identical on both.
Clairefontaine paper is stiffer than the Canson.
Clairefontaine has a stiffer backboard, which is great for painting on the go.
Canson pages are micro-perforated and can be removed at true size. Clairefontaine pages would have to be cut to be removed.

Canson vs. Clairefontaine

$4.99 at The Fine Art Store

Artist grade watercolors on the Canson Montval appear to be showing darker/thicker, but on closer inspection, this seems to be because they stay more on the surface of the paper, rather than soaking in. I find they end up looking rather flat.

"Canson Montval Watercolor Blocks, Field Sketch Books & Pads:
Top Spiral-Bound Watercolor Pads 12 sheets Size 5-1/2 x 8-1/2
Montval's natural whiteness and double sizing is well suited for all wet techniques, including watercolors, wash, gouache and acrylics. Pads feature micro-perforated sheets, giving a true sheet size. Acid-free 140 lb. cold-pressed paper."

Canson vs. Clairefontaine

Artist grade watercolors on the Clairefontane paper seem to soak more into the surface, blend better and give a better sense of depth.

$7.55 at The Writer's Bloc

"Clairefontaine Watercolor Pads are designed for watercolor, gouache, or wash drawing. This side wire bound pad has 20 sheets of 300 g acid free paper with a cold pressed surface. The rigid backboard lets you make your creations anywhere. Size: 5 3/4" x 8 1/4". C96033."

I'm liking everything about the Clairefontaine book much better than the Canson. The size fits better in my hand, it has a stronger backboard, and paint just looks better on this paper. I can live without having the pages be easily removable, and at .37 a sheet versus .49, I think I'll be switching to the Clairefontaine...permanently.

Canson Completed

Canson piece completed.

Clairefontaine Completed

Clairefontaine piece completed.

2 comments:

John Nicholas said...

da bean,

Ive still got most of a pad of Canson watercolor paper I am trying to force myself to use up. You are right, it is so heavily sized that it seems almost "glazed". I had some small luck with soaking it a long time and using it really wet in order to loosen up the sizing on the surface.
The Strathmore 400 line of paper is rather nice. Of course, Arches, Fabriano etc are great if youve got the foldin' green for it.
Enjoy the ink reviews on FPN. TX
JM

Biffybeans said...

Hi JM -

When you only use one product, (as I did for a long time) you can really see the differences when you try something new. I will probably never buy the Canson again.

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