We passed an art supply store in Belgium and, out of curiosity, went in. Looking over their selection of paper, I noticed that they had a black watercolor paper made by Royal Talens under their van Gogh label. Although I like the black Derwent paper I typically use, it is not intended to be a watercolor paper and at times this limits what I can do with it.
I bought a 12-page tablet of the van Gogh paper and was eager to see how it compares to the Derwent paper that I brought along on this trip. Specifically, I wanted to know if it can take multiple coats of paint, how it would handle lifting of color, and how well it could take very wet or very thick paint. I worked all of these questions into this small abstract composition above and was pleased with the results overall. In particular, I like that it holds strongly onto the first coat of paint when I glaze over it with a second coat, as on the windmill in the front left.
Both papers are sturdy, but the van Gogh paper is textured and stands up to the watercolor media better. Both products come in a tablet with is great for sketchbook artists. The Derwent paper has a slight suggestion of red to it which I have appreciated very much as it seems to help make the colors glow. The van Gogh paper does much better with watery paint and both do equally well with thick paint.