When I tell my friends that I’m going to an art supplies shop, they usually expect me to buy some watercolor paints, but that is just one item of many that artists care about. We do have a thing for brushes, erasers, clips, sketchbooks, and most certainly paper.
A good sheet of paper can mark the difference between “This needs to be redone” and “Oh wow, this is amazing!”
This is especially critical with watercolors, which is an extra sensitive medium where every extra drop of water counts, and every paper grain shows. Using a good material like the Bellofy Watercolor pad makes me focus less on possible glitches and more on what I’m painting.
In this article, let me show you why this pad is worth trying for (if you haven’t).
Watercolor paper can be made from 100% cotton, which has the best quality, or a mixture of cotton and pulp, which has some acid, and comes pretty cheap, but soon deteriorates, and if you care about your masterpiece you wouldn’t want that! The third option is another mixture with cotton and no acidic additives. This gives good results too. If you want to know more about watercolor paper, do read our guide on choosing watercolor paper.
Back to this pad, so this sketchbook is made from a mixture of cotton and acid-free recycled materials. It is thus durable, it treats your colors nicely, and it’s eco-friendly, which means a lot to some of us who cares for the environment.
The surface gets its grain from the way it’s pressed. The best is cold pressed paper, which has a clear grain, but it’s not rough just textured.
The hot pressed paper is much smoother. And the hand made variety is really grainy. Some consider hand made paper the highest quality ever, while others claim that it’s a tight budget option. I believe it’s amazing, but it has very specific applications.
This paper is halfway between the cold pressed and the hot rolled. It is supposedly smooth, but many users can feel its grain.
I actually like the rougher surface, I think it gives great effects. Although I have to say this is a personal artistic style thing. It also has a lot to do with your current project requirements.
The pad comes in a nice 9 x 12 in format. This is approximately the A4 paper size. I use to both the A4 and the A3 sizes, but I find the A4 more practical, I can carry it around, and the page is quite sufficient to do a study for an assortment of objects, a portrait, or a small landscape.
The smaller pads aren’t really my cup of tea, unless they are dedicated to a specific function; like postcard paper, which is blank greeting cards that you draw and send to your friends, lovely idea by the way!
However, the Bellofy A4 size is optimum for me. Probably also for art students, hobbyists, and professionals working on something.
The weight and thickness of the paper reflect its quality. The heavy paper doesn’t wrinkle, tear, or pile up the paint. It can be taped to a board and its surface doesn’t suffer or scratch when you remove the masking tape.
Professional paper weighs 140 lb or more, the Bellofy paper weighs around 98 lb. So this will exclude professional paintings. But having said that even seasoned artists need less heavy paper for sketching, preparing for a project, and keeping a journal.
The general practice is to have a stack of papers glued from one side, so you can cut a sheet and use it.
Another option is the block; which is glued from all four sides, and taking out a single sheet from the stack is done with a paint knife.
The glue is usually weak and the sheets separate on their own. so if you want to use the pad as a journal or sketchbook, that will not work.
The third format is the side spiral, and here you can certainly keep your work nice and neat in one sketchbook, but it gets hairy if you want to detach a paper. It’s also a bit of a hassle if the coil is mounted on the right and you are a leftie.
I think that this is one of the best features of the Bellofy Watercolor pad. The spiral binding on top makes it usable by left-handed as well as right-handed people. And it has tiny little perforation right beside the coil, so you can keep your sheets, or you can neatly detach them to be submitted in class or elsewhere.
Watercolor paper is broadly classified into professional grade and student grade. The professional grade is made from 100% cotton, it weighs more than 140 lb, non-acidic, it should be cold-pressed, and the material is treated with antimicrobial chemicals to guarantee durability, no degradation in the paper or colors, and long life for the painting.
Student grade paper is basically an economic choice. It can be lighter, machine-made, the material used is usually a mixture, and it is usually not very durable. Its main function is to let students experiment and practice.
The Bellofy Watercolor pad can’t really be placed with either category. And that is probably why it works for both.
Professional artists do not work all the time on premium quality paper, but when they experiment, keep a journal, or prepare for a bigger project, they like to do so on paper that is not too light. It still needs to be of very good quality.
Students find the Bellofy Watercolor pad very nice and affordable. It is also very practical to carry around with its convenient A4 size.
As mentioned above; the binding makes it a wonderful choice for left handed and right people, and also for the various functions of journalling with sketches that you keep, or doing assignments that you neatly tear out and give away.
This sketchpad comes with 100 good quality sheets. This number should be considered when we compare it to other brands, which have 15, 25, or 50 sheets. The price as such becomes quite affordable, I believe it has a lot of value for money.
The Bellofy Watercolor pad is a versatile choice, it is definitely fit for student use given the weight and thickness, but as I mentioned earlier, professional artist can use this pad for practice and art journaling too.
It has a very good quality that would let you focus on your subject and actually enjoy doing that painting.