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Read our
Guide to deciding which Fine Art/ Watercolor paper is best for you

Click on any media to read a description:

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag | Epson Ultrasmooth | Arches Infinity
Somerset Velvet | Epson Textured Fine Art


Fine Art reproduction has reached a new era with giclee printing. Original watercolors and fine art photography can be reproduced on real watercolor paper! All of our fine art papers are 100% cotton rag fibers. This assures the highest quality and archivability with each print.

We can print your large format giclee artwork on a number of fine art papers, including those listed below. If you have special media that you want printed on, you may purchase the stock and negotiate printing prices.

However, the media found on this page are usually the best paper choices for fine art reproduction.

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How to decide which paper is best for you


There are four main areas you must consider when choosing a fine art paper. these are:

Whiteness.

Fine art papers come in basically three flavors of whiteness: Bright White, Natural White, and Warm.

Bright White. Bright White means the paper has been subjected to brighteners, any one of many chemicals that will bleach the cotton fibers to appear a brighter white. This process is both beneficial and worrysome.

The benefit is a more pure white appearance. The worry shared by many in the industry is that the paper may yellow as the brighteners fade. Because the manufacturer relies on brighteners in order to make the paper white, the cotton fibers don't have to be as white to begin with, thus if the brighteners fade, the rag underneath is more yellow than Natural white stock.

Papers that are Bright White:
Natural White. Natural White has the exact opposite set of problems and benefits that accompany the Bright White papers; namely that it isn't very bright white (go figure), but it won't yellow as much or at all. The paper is what it claims: naturally white. This means the manufacturer relies on the cotton fibers themselves to make the paper white. Thie is a more archival option.

To some the choice between Natural White and Bright White is tough. Let's get the following straight: Bright White probably won't fade horribly, and Natural White has a subtly pleasing warmth to it, desirable in many fine art circles. So try not to judge the papers on their hang-ups (whether it will fade or whether it is not white enough), chose them based on whether you want it bright or slightly warm. The longevity concerns are included solely for your information, and if you are concerned still, give us a call and we'll be happy to discuss the options with you.

Papers that are Natural White: Warm. Warm papers have no brighteners, and will have very little problems with yellowing because they are...yellow! This warmth is often desirable with fine art prints.

We currently do not stock any warm papers

Texture & Surface Stability


Surface stability is subjective, and would best be discussed over the phone due to it's nature. For now, keep this in mind: all matte surfaces, including fine art and watercolor papers, are fragile and show marks relatively easily.

Texture can be divided up into three areas: Smooth, Velvet, and Textured.

Smooth. Smooth fine art paper is not completely smooth. It is smooth relative to other surfaces, but it always does have the slightest texture or "calendering" to it. But for all intents and purposes, the smooth watercolor papers are smooth.

The following are smooth papers:

Velvet. Velvet is so named because it isn't smooth, but it isn't very rough either. This is half-way in between smooth and textured surfaces.

The paper that is velvet is: Textured. Textured stock has the rough look that is commonly associated with watercolor papers. Most artists prefer this paper for reproducing their artwork, and you would be surprised how amazing photographs look on the stock as well.

The textured fine art papers are:

D-max and Color Saturation

D-max. D-max is how deep the blacks are on that paper stock. It is a subjective measurement without a densitometer, and it is also subject to the quality of your color profiles.

However, we can generalize all the papers into two loosely-defined catagories: Great D-max and Good D-max. Color saturation seemes to go hand in hand with D-max, so we'll put them in the same catagories.

Papers with GREAT color saturation and D-max:


Papers with GOOD color saturation and D-max:
Thickness (weight)



"Thickness" can be determined using a micrometer, and many papers are defined by a thickness in mils (one thousandth of an inch). However, the most useful and universal definition of a paper's sturdyness is given in terms of its weight.

Weight. Weight used to be given in pounds (lbs) per ream (or roll) of paper, but that was a very arbitrary definition as rolls & reams were different sizes.

The "in" way to define paper is in terms of the grams it weighs per square meter (gsm).

Cardstock Thick is anywhere from 350 to 500 gsm. These papers generally cannot be rolled! This stock is more expensive, and must be purchased in cut sheets. It is more expensive to ship as well, because it must be shipped flat. You'll noticed that most of these papers end with (sheet stock) this is because they also come in a cheaper, thinner, roll stock.

Also, if you are considering ever purchasing these papers for your own use, they are too thick for most desktop printers made before the year 2003. Only printers with straight feed slots can handle them.

Papers that are 350 to 500 gsm:

  • We do not currently have sheet stock of our papers. If you need the final product to be thicker, we can mount it for you. Contact us for details.

Thick Stock is anything from 225 to 325 gsm. These papers are just as good as the sheet stock, only thinner so they can be purchased in rolls. This makes them more economical to make and ship, saving you money.

Papers that are 225 to 350 gsm:

Regular Stock starts around 150 gsm and gets up to around 225 gsm.

Papers that are 150 to 220 gsm:
If you have any questions, feel free to call!



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For the most comprehensive, and step-by-step guide to our services, read and fill out our ordering and submission checklist.





Phone: 801-484-1768
E-Mail: heath@masterlabdigital.com
Mail: BAE c/o MasterLab, 5209 South 300 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84107


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