Winsor & Newton professional

Winsor & Newton professional

Winsor & Newton provides everything related to art creation: Paints, paint surfaces, brushes and even small things like erasers, markers and charcoal. Their range of artist supplies is impressive. Of course, several of these items are made by someone else but are ordered and reviewed by W&N before putting their own name on the item.

This also applies to their Winsor & Newton professional paper. Who actually manufactures the paper is not made public. On the W&N website it only says that it is made in Italy, according to other sources it is a French paper and several years ago it was made by Invernesk who owns several paper mills.

W&N professional is a new watercolor paper, just a few years ago it replaced their previous cotton paper. The paper is mold made, from 100% cotton. It is sized both in the paper pulp and on the surface with plant-based starch, but it apparently cannot be counted as vegan, as traces of gelatin may be present.

The paper is available as hot-pressed, cold-pressed and with rough grain. The formats are edge-glued blocks, spiral bound blocks, loose sheets (76×56 cm – 22×30 inches) and in rolls. It is only available in 300 gr/m² (140 lb) except for cold pressed sheets which are also available in 640 gr/m² (300 lb).

W&N professional is very white, no natural white option is available. The whiteness is achieved without using optical brighteners. As a sheet, the paper has two sides with natural deckled edges and two torn sides. The paper is significantly cheaper than other papers of the same type. In Sweden, a sheet 56×76 (22×30 inches) costs SEK 60-70 ($6-7), while e.g. an Arches costs SEK 90-100 ($9-10).

The rough paper, which I tried, has a small knobbly, fairly hard surface that reminds a little of the surface of an Arches paper with the same grain. The sizing is a bit “glossy” and does not take the color very well before it has been softened with water.

I saw a video on YouTube of a desperate artist who couldn’t get the paint to stick to the paper. An untreated W&N professional does not accept the color very well, it almost has to be rubbed in place. But coat the paper with water and let it dry, it is then ready for a more natural painting. Incidentally, this should be done with all good watercolor paper, it is not unique to W&N. Maybe a youtuber should know that before she reviews watercolor paper online.

Example of the paper’s reluctance to take the color.

YouTube player

The first painting sample is on W&N untreated paper. The other is W&N which is coated with water and then allowed to dry. The third paper is untreated Arches. Examples 1 and 3 have some similarity, the color doesn’t quite stick to the paper, with W&N being worse than Arches.

W&N untreated paper
W&N water treated paper
Arches untreated paper

Any good watercolor paper does well by being treated with water and then allowed to dry before you paint on it. Simpler watercolor papers do not need to be watered first because they have no sizing on the surface.

It is not that W&N professional is particularly hard sized. It’s just a somewhat artificial feeling that the quite sparing sizing gives. But after a coating with water, the paper behaves really nicely. It has good wet-on-wet properties and gives even and fine washes, although the paper is reluctant to absorb liquid. It retains the color quite well, which also makes it suitable for layer upon layer painting, it is probably not suitable for someone who wants to remove paint afterwards.

W&N professional is quite hard and rigid, it tolerates violent treatment. You can rub and scratch without ruining the paper. Any type of masking works well. Scraping with a sharp knife or using sandpaper works painlessly, there is no tendency for the paper to fluff or break.

W&N has a beautiful paper surface and the color adheres quite strongly.
The left is untreated paper and the right side is coated with water and then allowed to dry before the paint is painted over both sides. It’s not that W&N has very much sizing on the surface, just that it’s a bit of a strange sizing.


W&N professional is a versatile watercolor paper suitable for all possible techniques. It has superficial similarities to Arches but is significantly cheaper. The paper is unusually reluctant to receive liquid, the type of sizing is the reason. It is very durable and holds the colors convincingly. A really good all-round paper with few weaknesses at a reasonable price.

Name: Winsor & Newton professional
Manufacturer: Winsor & Newton
Manufacturing method: Mold made
Material: 100% cotton
Sizing: Internally in the pulp and on the surface, no animal glue.
Surface: Available as cold pressed, hot pressed and rough
Format: sheets 56 x 76 cm (22 X 30 inches), blocks and roll.
Thickness: 300g/m² (140 lb) – 640g/m² (300 lb) cold pressed sheets only.
Color: Extra white

A hazy winter day painted on W&N professional watercolor paper

Tillverkarens hemsida:

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