Five Reasons

Why You Should Use Loose Watercolour Sheets

Five Reasons Why You Should Use Loose Sheets


Of the three most commonly used painting mediums, Watercolour is typically the one where artists define their own preferences. While watercolour pads and blocks are extremely economical and provide the practising artist with many consistently sized sheets, as the artist progresses they may want to explore various sizes, finishes and weights that using one pad does not accommodate for. This blog highlights the Five Reasons why you should use Loose Watercolour Sheets.


1. It's More Economical

Due to the sheets being available in singles the practising artist can choose to have a limited amount of paper. This is useful if the artist has never used a certain brand or texture before and doesn't want to invest in a pad containing many sheets of paper. Additionally as the loose sheets are typically Full Imperial in size they can be cut down at the artist discretion to smaller sizes than available in most pads. But more on this in a second. 


Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Rough Single Sheet

Fabriano Artistico Traditional White Rough Single Sheet

2. Unique Sizing Customisation

As stated, most watercolour paper is sold loose in Full Imperial, this large size can then be cut into by the practising artist. Other than the rectangular pads that are commonly sold, the paper can be cut into any shape or size the artist desires, giving way to new methods of expression. Such as mountains on triangular cut paper or a boat porthole view on a circular piece. As well as unique shapes the paper could be cut into smaller sizes than commercially available. Ideal for postcards and tags. 

3. Allows for Exploration of Different Textures 

With watercolour pads you are typically limited to one choice of texture throughout. This is less of an issue if you want to use one type of paper surface or just want a basic surface to start out on. But having access to various textures can enhance and influence your work greatly. Other than specific mixed surface pads the best way to access various textures is to buy loose sheets with varying textures on them. The overall cost is similar to a pad and you will get more mileage than expected due to the sheet's large size. Great for beginners looking to explore work surfaces. 


Arches Traditional White Paper

Arches Aquarelle Watercolour Sheets

4. Ability to work on a larger scale 

As much as loose sheets are easier to cut down to size they are also an excellent surface to work large scale onto. Full Imperial is 30”x22” which is similar in size to a standard large canvas. The large work surface lends itself to expressive open works and can be used to great effect. While most artists work on a smaller scale in Watercolours, using the full sheet's potential can result in work that is unique and impactful.

5. Stretching and Framing is Easier 

Unlike with most pads you can choose the size of your work surface when working on a loose sheet of paper. And this way it becomes easier to frame work. Stock frames come in odd sizes and if you pre plan your frame before cutting the paper you can actually create work that is curated to fit a certain frame perfectly. Additionally as they are loose sheets they are more likely to need stretching and a bigger sheet will provide ample opportunities for that.



Image Credits;

Sandra Manchester