The Jackson’s sample pack wasn’t the only one I got in my Jackson’s order back in 2021. I also tried a super-cheap St. Cuthbert Paper Mill sampler, cheap mainly because the size of the paper is really small (7 unequally-sized cuts measuring roughly 5.5″ by 7″ or 8″.) Since this is a size I often paint in anyway, the smallness didn’t bother me, but I did get fewer chances to form an opinion than I would from my own cuts off a larger page. Still, here are my quick thoughts on each paper.
Bockingford 300gsm/140lb Rough Press White
The painting I used for this has been lost to history, but my notes were: “Some buckling. Easy to get “drybrush” effect (a bit too easy IMO).”
Bockingford 300gsm/140lb Cold Press White
Oddly, this one felt like it handled water better than the Rough Press. Maybe I used less, but I felt like I used plenty!
Bockingford 300gsm/140lb Hot Press White
This was a great paper to use for gouache. The smooth texture allowed the paint to go down easily and the white color shows off lots of subtleties of color.
Saunders Waterford 300gsm/140lb Hot Press Natural White
I chose a line drawing to pair with hot press paper, as I was able to get smooth lines without ruining my felt tip with too much texture. Colors came out bright and vibrant in one layer. I was even able to change my mind a few times and sop up colors and redo them without harming the paper. The natural (slightly ivory) color meant that I didn’t get quite as much luminous white shinethrough as I might have with the High White, but for a fall painting like this, it’s fine! No blucking issues. Dried nearly flat.
Saunders Waterford 300gsm/140lb Cold Press White
Though I struggled with this painting, it wasn’t the fault of the paper, which gamely took all the water I threw at it without curling. I did get some dried paint lines but this was my fault for the very incorrect way I did things in this painting (painting the sky around the leaves in sections). Nice bold colors. Minimal buckling issues. Dried nearly flat.
Saunders Waterford 300gsm/140lb Rough Press High White
This was my favorite of the Saunders samples! I put this paper through the ringer, with several layers of very wet paint, but it dried like a champ. The gradients came out extremely smooth thanks to the rough press texture. It was a little difficult to get vibrant color in the first layer, thanks again to the rough press, but I’m happy with how it turned out after layer 3 or so. Also, because the paper is so extremely white, it really lent itself well to a sense of sky glow.
If you’re making a Jackson’s order already, you really can’t go wrong with one of these tiny sampler packs. They’re so cheap, and although small in size, they give you a great idea of the different properties of different types of paper. My favorite of these was the Saunders High White.