From the blog

Fabriano Alternatives

Fabriano is an ancient paper used by botanical artists because of the fine surface that is suitable for demands such as creating fine and precise botanical specimens paintings. How is Fabriano different from other watercolour materials? How did the changes to the Fabriano paper affect botanical artists? Many botanical artists are not happy about the changes made to the surface. And that is why they are looking for alternatives that can bring their past painting experience back home. It was expected that artists wanting the surfaces they are used to could finally try other products in their quest to get the surface comparable to Fabriano. Although these alternatives to Fabriano did not solve the past problems botanical artists have been through.

Before diving into Fabriano alternatives, here are a few recommendations for artists looking to replace Fabriano Artistico:


Experimenting with different watercolour papers gives you the hype to know what works best and what does not. Until you try it out you will never notice the difference and you will not know whether you like a paper type or not. Don’t listen to what others are saying but test it yourself, the way you put down your arts is different and what works for someone else might not work for you. What you should try out include; different types of watercolour, different paperweights perform differently, try both sides of the watercolour paper you will find the side that works for you, and eventually, test different  watercolour papers at different times because environmental factors make the difference on the watercolour paper behaviour. Take notes on how the watercolour behaves at different seasons of the year. Vellum is the king of all, it doesn’t disappoint. While experimenting, you just need to employ botanical painting techniques and not full botanical artwork.

Drastic shift to vellum

There has been a shift from Fabriano Artistico to vellum recently. Why is that? Vellum has a traditional surface that many botanical artists have been using to paint some of the famous pieces of art. So, what are the major perks of working with vellum? One, it doesn’t degrade easily as paper does over time if not protected. And secondly, colours on vellum read much better than paper, which adds more impact when seen from artistic halls or exhibition rooms. Although vellum is becoming popular, there are two considerations botanical artists must keep at the back of their minds; vellum is high-end and you will spend more than you would on paper. Vellum looks right when mounted and that calls for some expertise.

What is the way forward for botanical painting artists?

Changes detected on Fabriano Artistico and Fabriano Classico-5 recently are not appealing to the botanical artists and that’s why there is a shift towards vellum although it is expensive compared to watercolour paper. If any botanical artist has experienced any problems with the watercolour paper they are using or with the stock they bought a while ago, there are two possible variables Fabriano stock depends on how long since they were made, which retailer you bought them from and what techniques of painting an artist uses for botanical painting. Some newer versions of watercolour paper may come around soon as watercolour paper millers learn techniques of producing smoother surfaces that work for botanical paintings.