I’ve always used 140 lb. watercolor paper in my art… mostly because that is what is available in pads and I’ve always been a little scared of the huge fancy paper sheets!
I’d like to try out some 300 lb. paper though, and I’ve been having a little trouble finding some in the brands that don’t use gelatin to size their paper. There are a few different art stores in town, and they each seem to carry different things that I need.
I was at Utrecht pricing out baroque wood panels when I discovered their own brand of “French Premium Watercolor Paper“. Since at this point my 300 lb. paper options were limited to sheets of Fabriano Artistico at Art Media, I used Utrecht’s “ask the expert” feature on their website to ask what they used for sizing (fully expecting to be ignored I might add…thanks Winsor & Newton, for making me so jaded!).
Not only did they reply, but my expert wasn’t able to find out the answer right away and kept me posted on his progress as he sought out the answer. Three emails and one week later I got the good news:
I just got confirmation that Utrecht French Premium Watercolor Paper is prepared using non-animal, starch-based size. I hope this helps answer your questions. Please let me know if you need further help.
Sweet! Thanks Utrecht! Nice to know there are two shops in town to get the supplies I need. I’ll have to check out the three other art stores I shop at, since none of the stores in town are convenient to where I live and I often pick up supplies if I happen to be in the area. Heck, maybe I’ll even buy some, instead of simply window shopping!
Utrecht kindly let me know in a follow up that their 100% rag watercolor paper (not the French Premium) uses synthetic sizing that may or may not be derived from animal sources, and they have no way of knowing whether animal or vegetable sources are used at the mill. Gotta stick with the French Premium for animal free paper!