The Art of Making

Making the finest quality water colours is an art form. That's why Winsor & Newton call their approach to water colour papermaking: The Art of Water Colour Paper.

The paper craft starts with the selection of the finest ingredients - 100% cotton or archival grade cellulose wood pulp.

These raw ingredients - cotton or archival grade cellulose fibres - are then dispersed and interwoven on a traditional cylinder mould at the paper mill, following artisan practice that dates back to the 19th century. The fibres are also internally and externally sized to perfectly manage water absorption and ensure a resilient surface that won't cockle or warp.

The result produces exceptionally strong, durable water colour papers that offer a handmade finish and are available in a variety of different surface texture options that are ideal for water colour, gouache, ink and acrylic.

What type of water colour papers does Winsor & Newton make?

Created in the tradition of fine papermaking, using the finest raw materials and cylinder mould made, Winsor & Newton has launched two new velvety smooth water colour paper ranges; 100% cotton and archival grade cellulose wood pulp.

Tested and used by artists and proudly bearing the Royal Warrant seal, these water colour papers are superior water colour papers for fine water colour art and have been designed to match the high performance standards of our water colour paints.

What are the specifics of the two water colour papers in the range?

How is the paper made?

Crafted from 100% cotton or archival grade cellulose wood pulp, our two water colour paper ranges are made on a traditional cylinder mould with internal and external sizing for exceptional strength, balanced absorbency, colour performance and resilience in every sheet.

What is cylinder-mould made paper?

A traditional cylinder mould is used to make Winsor & Newton papers, following a practice that dates back to the 19th century. There are only a few remaining cylinder mould machines in the world and we are fortunate enough to be able to craft out paper using this process.

The slowly rotating cylinder mould picks up the paper stock and puts it onto a continuously moving woollen felt. This ensures the fibres are dispersed and interwoven, giving the paper far greater strength and dimensional stability, minimising warping or cockling when water is absorbed by the paper

What are the benefits of cylinder mould made paper?

Cylinder mould made paper is stronger and more stable. Cheaper mass-produced machine made water colour papers lose their interwoven strength because the fibres point in the same direction, reducing the paper dimensional stability and strength, resulting in warping and cockling when water is applied.

Our traditional cylinder mould production process combines the consistent quality of machine made (fourdrinier) with the individual character of handmade papers such as clear watermarks and deckle edges.

Cotton is the finest type of water colour paper. What is the cotton composition of Winsor & Newton 100% cotton water colour paper?

The finest water colour papers are made form 100% cotton so our new range leads with our 100% cotton papers. The fibres in cotton are longer, stronger and naturally absorbent, making them ideal for water colours. Cotton paper is exceptionally smooth and looks and feels handmade. It is also naturally archival so it won't degrade or colour over time.

What is Winsor & Newton archival grade cellulose wood pulp paper?

A more affordable yet still exceptionally high quality alternative to 100% cotton is premium archival grade cellulose wood pulp paper. Ours is made from the finest archival grade wood pulp. This has any impurities and acidity extracted and is then combined with natural spring water with neutral ph properties for a highly resilient, high performance paper that looks and feels handmade.

Where is the paper made?

Our papers are made for us at a paper mill in France. As the world's leading artist toolmaker, Winsor & Newton would only put their name to water colour paper of the highest quality. Each and every sheet is inspected by hand before leaving the paper mill.

How is it the paper sized?

Sizing is an important consideration when creating water colour paper of the finest quality and refers to the application of a protective coating to make the paper more water resistant.

The 100% cotton paper and archival grade cellulose wood pulp paper benefit from having all of the cotton fibers internally sized to the core and externally sized - or coated - to ensure optimum absorbency and strength.

Internal sizing takes place while the raw materials are still in a liquid state while external surface sizing is applied to the surface of the paper once the sheet has been formed.

What is the benefit of externally and internally sized paper?

Sizing helps the paper keep its shape and primes it to consistently absorb the perfect amount of moisture. Multiple layers of paint can therefore be applied for more depth, the paper can withstand the roughest of editing techniques and colours remain brilliant and intense even when dry.

What textures are the papers available in?

Cylinder mould made water colour paper offers a handmade finish with a variety of different surface texture options. Winsor and 100% cotton paper is cold, hot and rough pressed while Winsor & Newton archival grade cellulose wood pulp paper is available in cold pressed only.

Are Winsor & Newton papers archival?

Made to the highest possible archival standards, they will not yellow or degrade over time - and have been developed alongside Winsor & Newton Professional water colour paints and sable brushes for best results.

Are Winsor & Newton water colour papers acid free?

Acid free and with no optical brighteners, Winsor & Newton water colour papers offer brighter natural whiteness and are velvety smooth to the touch, even when rough pressed, enabling artists to achieve exactly the techniques they envisage.

How do Winsor & Newton water colour papers perform in technical testing?

Product performance - Technical specifics


  • Proven to offer an excellent surface that resists damage from editing techniques including masking fluid

  • Proven dimensional stability - will not go out of shape.

  • No cockling or warping even under very heavy water saturation


  • Proven to be acid free, no optical brighteners and colour remains brilliant when dry

Texture quality

  • Proven quality paper that responds to all paint application techniques

  • No cissing or colour bleeding. Also easy to lift colour from the surface

  • Proven quality of internal and external surface sizing. No signs of feathering with Winsor & Newton drawing ink

Symbiotic colour performance

  • Proven even layers of colour, no patchiness or blotchiness

  • Proven smooth flow and natural colour migration

  • Proven multiple layers over dried colour

Multi-media compatible

  • Proven to work across mediums including water colour, pen and inks, charcoal, pastel, gouache and acrylic

  • Not compatible with oil or pigment marker

Water colour marker compatible

  • Proven the respond easily to rewetting and perform excellently with Winsor & Newton water colour markers

How do Winsor & Newton water colour papers perform in artist testing?

In artist testing versus competitor papers, Winsor & Newton Professional 100% cotton and Winsor & Newton 100% cellulose watercolour paper outperformed or matched all key competitors overall and for even colour washes, soft merge wet into wet, dropped water effects, hard edges, colour build layering, colour mixes and colour strength.

What are the key benefits of the paper range?

From the world's leading artist toolmaker

  • New 100% cotton or archival grade cellulose wood pulp water colour papers from Winsor & Newton

Traditionally made paper that looks and feels handmade

  • Cylinder mould made for finest quality water colour papers

  • Papers look and feel handmade with a watermark and deckle edges.

Made using the finest raw materials

  • 100% cotton made from the highest grade cotton fibres

  • Archival grade cellulose wood pulp made from the finest grade wood pulp and natural spring water

Exceptional strength and dimensional stability

  • With cylinder mould made paper, the fibres are dispersed and interwoven for exceptional strength and stability

Balanced absorbency and superior resilience in every sheet

  • Internally and externally sized for even washes, lustre and transparency of colour

  • A resilient, durable, rough editable surface that won't cockle or warp

High quality surfaces with excellent colour performance

  • Acid free, no optical brighteners and brighter natural whiteness

  • Rough grain, cold and hot pressed (100% cotton) or cold pressed only (archival grade cellulose wood pulp)

Naturally archival papers that stand the test of time

  • 100% cotton or archival grade cellulose wood pulp papers will not degrade or yellow over time.

Making the grade

  • Every sheet is carefully inspected by hand before leaving the paper mill

What heritage does Winsor & Newton have in artist materials?

Winsor & Newton have been creating the world's finest art materials since 1832. And with all of those years of professional excellence and artisan craft comes a passion for innovation. To constantly evolve and find new solutions while retaining the very best traditional techniques and processes.

Winsor & Newton's introduction of exceptional water colour papers is testament to this commitment to art and science; creative and technical excellence; heritage and modernity.