When using watercolors, inks, sometimes gouache and even charcoal, my favorite support to work on is Arches 100% cotton, hot pressed watercolor paper in block format. Arches watercolor blocks come in three varieties: hot pressed, cold pressed and rough. I prefer the hot pressed, or “grain satiné”, because it’s smooth enough for the precision illustrations I like to do yet “toothy” enough to show good texture, as you can see from the photo of two watercolor washes below.
The blocks, for me, are a clever and practical format. I tend to work small and like to be able to work anywhere so the block is the perfect match. Also, you never have to stretch the paper or worry about buckling, no matter how wet you work, provided you wait for your artwork to dry completely before removing. Here is my Bette Davis ink illustration still on the block.
Once you’ve finished and your artwork is completely dry, all you have to do is insert a palette knife, butter knife or exacto blade (be careful with this one!) to separate the page from the block and then run it around the edges. Et voilà!
Everyone has their favorite tools to work with and this is just one example of my many favorites. What kind of paper do you enjoy working with?