” Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. It’s a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. […] This extraordinary, non-absorbent surface resists tearing and buckling and remains perfectly flat, eliminating the need for soaking, stretching, or taping. […] Yupo is pH-neutral, flawlessly smooth, and recyclable.” – dickblick
I allowed Husband to spoil me one day, and bought a small 5″ x 7″ pack of Yupo paper. As we were wandering Curry’s, I got hung up at the Winsor & Newton Marker display, and he wandered off to look at other things. Suddenly he peeled me away from the display and pulled me to the paper section, pointing at the slogan on the Yupo pad, “A different way to watercolor”. Excitement in his eyes, he said he already looked it up on his smartphone, and apparently there’s no buckling on this paper – a complaint I had vented about numerous times before.
- Wooow, this is really smooth. *keeps touching the paper, leaving a zillion fingerprints*
- This can’t possibly stay straight once enough water sits on it.
- The slogan says it’s a different way to watercolour, but it’s not on the “Suitable for” list printed on the top right corner(?)
- This must feel like mixing watercolour paint on a clean palette – lots of beading, difficult to get the paint+water off the brush and onto the surface
- Will the dried painting crack if I bend the paper?
As promised, this paper did NOT buckle. I put a lot of water on it and it never curled one bit. The paper takes some getting used to, as I feel it forces you to accept losing some control. It’s a bit hard to encourage the blending of colours, or adding water without it leaving little circles where your brush lifted off. However, it does give unique control in the sense of “post-masking” (0:50 in the video above). After the paint dries, it is so easy to add some water and lift [98% of] the paint off. Together, this means it is easy to correct mistakes of the erasing type, but difficult to correct mistakes where you have to add colour.
Super carefully, I held my breath and mildly curled the paper (as curled as a “U”) in both directions. The paint did not crack. I suspect it has more to do with the paint than the paper. One big disadvantage is that watercolour paintings on Yupo paper are VERY water sensitive. If you’re not careful, it could all wash off. Taylor Ikin suggests sealing finished paintings with a coat of Blair 201 matte finish or Krylon matte finish. I’ve tried sealing an acrylic painting in the past and had a very bad experience. Likely it’s because I used the wrong spray paint. Nevertheless, as I plan to mail this painting off to a friend (the subject matter is an inside joke), I didn’t want to risk it. I will try it out on some other test painting.
It’s an interesting material offering an interesting experience. If just thinking about watercolour blooms and wet-in-wet techniques makes you want to scurry to your paintbrushes, then this paper is perfect for you.
Me, I think I just want bigger sheets. : )
Have you tried Yupo paper yet? What were your thoughts?