The Watercolor Workshop – Brushes and Surfaces

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“The Watercolor Workshop” is a video course on watercolor painting designed for beginner and intermediate artists. The goal of this course is to provide the learner with a rich learning experience through "easy to digest" modules consisting of video demonstrations and accompanying ebooks.


Description: An overview of specific brush types, watercolor paint composition, watercolor papers, and stretching watercolor paper.

Suggested Materials: 140 lb. Cold press watercolor paper, masking tape, masonite board, Hake brush, water

Next Module: Application Techniques


Every demo above is included (and more not pictured.)


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The Watercolor Workshop – Brushes and Surfaces — 39 Comments

  1. Just a quick question, you have shown what brands of watercolour paper you will be using for this course however you have not mentioned what size we should aim to purchase, I noticed the strathmore showed 9 x 12inches do you recommend this or can you give us an idea of minimum size required.

    • Hi Katrina,
      For most of the demonstrations, I will be working on smaller papers. This works best for showing the detail work on camera. (I generally tend to work small for most of my work anyway, no matter the medium.)

  2. I note that you use lbs when speaking of weight of the paper. In Australia we no longer use this weight measure. Some people may become confused by it especially those born after the introduction of metric measures. I just thought I’d mention it for your future reference.
    I am most impressed with your teaching methods. Not all instructors explain the steps as clearly as you do. I am looking forward to working through this course with you.

    • Hi Edith,

      Thanks, and you’re absolutely right! Here’s a breakdown of how watercolor paper weights match up…

      90lb. = 200gsm
      140lb. = 300gsm
      300lb. = 640gsm

  3. Hi Matt,
    Your courses are excellent. but I am facing a big problem. I am from India and the paper brands you recommended for pastel, charcoal, water color (canson, strathmore and bristol) are not available at local store or online website. can you please refer some other brand names of paper for pastel, charcoal and water color. It will be a great help for me.

    • I haven’t viewed Matt’s video yet but Arches is excellent watercolor paper and is used by many professional artists. Also used are Kilimanjaro and Fabriano. If you purchase a watercolor “block” – a pad of 20 sheets per block in 140 lb. paper or 10 sheets for 300 lb. that are glued together (you paint on the top one and then use a sharp blade to cut it from the next when finished painting), it eliminates the need for stretching.

    • Ritushree,
      Are you able to buy stuff from Amazon and have
      it delivered where you are? I’m in Houston, Tx
      and there are lots of stores…
      But I get lots of stuff off Amazon.
      There are lots of products and I love the Prime shipping.
      Good luck in all of your artistic endeavors!

  4. Do you have to work with stretched paper within a certain amount of time, or is it something you do once and then the paper is good to go indefinitely?

  5. I’m having the same problem with most of this videos, they stop & go most the time all along the video’s time length, is there something wrong with them ??
    Thanks, regards,
    Enrique G.

    • Hi Enrique,
      The videos are set to play in High Definition by default. If they are buffering (starting and stopping), try turning off the High Definition by scrolling over video and clicking on the “HD” icon. This will make the video load “loads” faster.(:

    • Hi Lou Ann,

      I personally love the Cotman series by Winsor and Newton. While most people will argue that these paints are “student grade”, I’ve found them to be high quality and of course, affordable.

  6. One thing to consider when stretching is the sizing applied to the paper. Prolonged soaking in water may result in losing some of the sizing, resulting in unexpected effects in the paint when it is applied, basically because the paper is now more absorbent. I find that with heavier papers, taping or using pre-gummed boards (all 4 sides) doesn’t require stretching, especially if you let it completely dry before cutting free.

    • Hi Nadereh,

      Any brand of watercolor will work. I don’t have any experience with the brand that you mentioned, but quality does matter in the results. If you are looking for a recommendation, I would suggest Cotman Watercolors by Winsor and Newton.

  7. Hi – I have a question about the paper taped preparation. When I do that, the paper are not always smooth when I paint. It wrinkles. Do I have to cheap and bad paper? (My spelling is not to good, because Im writing from Denmark:-))

    • Hi Anne,

      If you find that the paper is still wrinkling beyond the confines of the tape, you may try switching to a heavier paper. It is more expensive, but it’s less likely to wrinkle. 140 lb. papers usually do an adequate job, but if this paper continues to wrinkle, you may consider moving up to 300 lb.

  8. Hi, Matt. I know you like Grumbacher brushes, but they a little out of budget right now. Is there any other brand that you recommend for starting out?

  9. I find that when I remove masking tape, it pulls a thin top layer off the paper, sometimes pulling toward the center of the paper (where my painting is). I’ve seen some people clip paper to a board but it doesnt seem to stretch it as well. Thoughts? Suggestions?

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