Thursday, December 08, 2016

Watercolor Basics: Paper Review Fluid 100

For the past few years, I've used Fluid's Easy Watercolor Blocks for my convention style mini watercolors.  These blocks are affordable, easy to find, and easy to work with  but are cellulose based, so you can imagine how excited and curious I was when I saw that Fluid has introduced a new cotton rag paper to their lineup.  Fluid 100 is available in the same convenient blocks (no stretching, no buckling!), in many of the same sizes of Fluid EZ blocks.  And me being who I am, privately buying a block and testing it on the low down was not an option- I had to share my thoughts with you guys.

I purchased my first Fluid 100 block at the Nashville Pla-Za, but I have also seen them at David's Art Supply (New Orleans) and online at DickBlick and through Amazon.


This post is part of my ongoing Watercolor Basics series.  You can find more posts, including tutorials, here.



Fluid 100 Vs Fluid Easy Blocks

Fluid Easy Blocks
Image Source

  • Available in blocks
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes from 4x6 on up
  • Gum bound on two sides
  • Cellulose (woodpulp) based
  • Fairly inexpensive, smallest size starts at $3.89 on DickBlick
  • Not available in sheets
  • Decent for alcohol markers
  • Alright for light watercolors- light washes, minimal layers
  • Available in hotpress and cold press


Fluid 100
Image Source
  • Available in blocks
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes from 4x6 on up
  • Gum bound on two sides
  • 100% cotton
  • Fairly inexpensive for cotton-based watercolor paper, smallest size starts at $4.38 on DickBlick
  • Also available in sheets
  • Not recommended for watercolor markers
  • Good for more detailed watercolors, can handle heavy washes, glazing
  • Available in 140lb or 300lb
  • Available in hotpress or cold press



The Field Test


The Fluid 100 block is gummed on all four sides, with a small opening for your palette (or X-Acto) knife.  This is much more secure than the regular Fluid watercolor pads, which are only gummed on two sides, and the paper is prone to coming loose under heavy water saturation.

Before painting, I penciled and inked this illustration.  This was inked with a Sailor Mitsuo Aida brushpen.


The Fluid 100 watercolor paper is cotton rag, and handles washes quite well.



Colors are very vibrant on this cotton rag paper, and the Fluid 100 paper can handle multiple layers of watercolor without pigments sloughing off.




Field test from Fluid 100 review

The Verdict

Fluid 100 watercolor paper is an excellent, affordable cotton rag paper that's available in convenient blocks.  I highly recommend this paper, especially for artists who are ready to move on from student grade papers, but cannot afford more expensive papers like Arches.

Other Illustrations on Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper:

Original illustration available for purchase here.

Original illustration available for purchase here




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