DOODLEWASH REVIEW: Hahnemühle Sketchbooks & Paper

Hahnemühle watercolor book, watercolor journal, sketchbook, Turner watercolor block, Cezanne watercolour block

The supplies I’m reviewing today might not be too much of a surprise.  Hahnemühle recently sponsored a Doodlewash giveaway with some lovely products.  They also sent four products for review- a Nostalgie Sketchbook, a Watercolour Book, Cézanne Watercolour Block, and a Turner Watercolour Block.  In this review I start with a little bit about the company, move into the products, next pricing and availability, and then have my little say at the end.

Hahnemühle is one of the leading suppliers of fine art papers in Europe.  The origins of Hahnemühle paper making come from a rich history that started in 1584 in the South Lower Saxony’s Solling uplands in Germany.  Hahnemühle’s paper has been processed in the same place for 430 years.  The company is named after Carl Hahne, who purchased the company in 1886.  Read about the company’s history here.

“We employ traditional and proven technologies, using the Fourdrinier and cylinder mould machines. The distinguishing feature of Hahnemühle was and will be the ability to combine tradition with modern technologies. This way, paper is produced according to old recipes, passed from generation to generation, and it continues to meet the highest demands of present-day standards.  Our paper technologists are proficient in their trade. With high-quality pulp and by using formulations that are partly several centuries old, they produce traditional artist papers, FineArt inkjet papers and specialty papers for industry and filtration.”

Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketch Book–  40 sheets/80 pages of acid free smooth 190 gsm/90 lb paper.  The book is thread stitched and available in A4, A5 and A6 sizes in landscape and portrait. The color of the cover is anthracite and has linen like pattern.  The sketchbook is “suitable for use with all dry-painting techniques in addition to wet colours.”  The book that they sent me is the A5 landscape (5.77” x 8.19”).  It lays flat- without the need to break it in, and has a red ribbon bookmark.  The paper is “natural white,” I like the color of the paper, it worked nicely for this ink sketch.

NostalgiePoppies

I used fountain pens with two different colors of ink and a waterbrush for the flowers. The ink did not feather.  I went over some spots several times with the fountain pen nibs and waterbrush, no bleed through on the other side.  The paper did start to pill slightly where I really went over some spots- mostly in the center of the open poppy.  When I run my fingers over it, I can feel it, but it’s not visible in the sketch.   In my experience, this is not uncommon with smooth sketch papers.  I really liked how this book works with ink and wash.  In person, the fountain pen and sumi gold inks look beautiful on this paper.

I also did some field testing with quick basic sketches, a cactus practice.  Copious cacti- so many on that mountain!  I used pencil and a light application of watercolor.  The paper held up well with no deterioration or bleed through.  It had some curling on the edges, but that’s to be expected with 90 lb sketch paper and watercolor. I used a waterbrush and the watercolor behaved like it does on cartridge paper- soaked in and dried pretty readily with a dull/flat look.  I should add that all watercolor used in all of the watercolor examples is Daniel Smith.

Watercolour Book– 30 sheets/60 pages of natural white 200 gsm acid free paper with fine grained surface on both sides and it is surface sized. The book is thread stitched, has an elastic band, red bookmark, and available in A4, A5 and A6 sizes in landscape or portrait. The paper is natural white and the cover is a dark grey synthetic linen. The book they sent is the large A4 landscape size (8.19” x 11.28”) and it lays flat without breaking it in. The paper is from their Akademie line where “natural felt is used….with rag fiber content.”  It is Fourdrinier machine made paper marketed to be “multi-talented”: …equally suitable for watercolours, gouache, tempera, pastel, charcoal, pencil and crayons.” Both sides of the pages can be painted/sketched on. This is a nice watercolor sketch book.  The paper has a nice feel to it, erases well, and to me, is higher quality and more workable and pliable in comparison Travelogue Watercolor Journal.

Hahnemühle watercolor book, watercolor journal, Nostalgie sketchbook, Turner watercolor block, Cezanne watercolour block. painting by Jessica Seacrest

I did a few watercolor sketches in this with and clipped the ends down.  The one shown above included watercolor that has granulating properties and more muted earthy colors. The paint remained vibrant, and with using the clips, there was very minimal buckling to the paper. Much less buckling than with something like the Global Art Materials Travelogue Series Watercolor Journal– a review on that can be found here and see in a side view how the paper buckled in that one for comparison.  I’ll warn you though, there are a lot of journals in that post, so scroll down a bit.

With both of these books- sketch and watercolor, after I took the plastic wrapping off of them and left them on my desk, the covers bowed.  I put a rubber band around the sketchbook when I put it into my bag.  The Watercolour Book has an elastic band, but it bowed out in the middle.  The bow in the cover calmed down after a while, it’s like it needed a little bit of an adjustment period.  Still keeping a rubber band around the sketchbook, it looks the same as in the photo, pulling up on the end.  First photo sketchbook, second watercolor book. Both books have a durable feel.

When these become more readily available in the states, and depending on the price point, they will give some serious competition to competitors.  I like both of these books and will continue to use them.

Moving on to the watercolor paper blocks.  Both types of blocks that they sent are professional grade, 9.4” x 12.6,” 10 sheets, and glued and gauzed on all sides to keep the paper flat during use. Both are archival quality and acid free.

Cezanne

Cézanne Watercolour Block is a 300 gsm/140 lb cylinder mould made, natural white, 100% cotton rag surface sized matte paper.  The surface is a rough hot press, which means it has a slight tooth, but is smooth enough to sketch on.  It has a softer feel- not as stiff as Arches cold press and not as soft as Fabriano Artisitco cold press watercolor papers. I tend to paint fairly wet and this paper remained flat.  It is “especially suitable for wet painting techniques: watercolour – especially glazing – lavis, gouache, tempera and acrylic. I usually look at covers as an indication of what I will find on the inside.  One thing that I thought was odd given that this is watercolor paper- the photo on the cover, I believe, is of the oil painting Apples and Biscuits, on canvas.

Paul Cézanne“A prolific artist, he produced more than 900 oil paintings and 400 watercolours, including many incomplete works.”

Turner

Turner Watercolour Block is a 300 gsm/140 lb cylinder mould made, natural white, 100% cotton rag without surface sizing, matte paper.  This paper acts a little bit more absorbent because it is not surface sized.  Watercolor paint on paper that is not sized, may not look as brilliant because it tends to soak into the paper more- this did not prove to be true in my experience with this paper (see below). I keep emphasizing surface sized because I’m not sure if their is sizing in the pulp, although I suspect there is.  It is suitable for all wet painting techniques: watercolour, lavis, gouache, tempera and acrylic.”

If you are not familiar with William Turner’s work, here is a link and it’s worth clicking on. The light in his paintings is amazing.

The two papers side by side.  I couldn’t tell a difference just by looking at them.  Yeah, not a very exciting photo.

Hahnemühle watercolor book, watercolor journal, Nostalgie sketchbook, Turner watercolor block, Cezanne watercolour block

Time only allowed for quickie painting, these were a lot of products to review.  My one purpose with these examples is to give a visual representation between the difference of the Cézanne paper with surface sizing, and the Turner paper without it. In the close-ups below I used the same non-granulating watercolor paint, and brushes. Cézanne sized paper on top, Turner on the bottom. As you can hopefully see, the Turner paper has a more textured look.  Good for someone looking to express a more impressionistic style I would think. To the eye and to the touch, the two papers look identical prior to applying paint. Some people soak their paper to remove the surface sizing. Pencil marks on both erased with ease.  Paint lifted easily from both- I used a paper towel and blotted.  I did not attempt to lift paint after it dried though. I enjoyed both papers.

HMDesertPaintings

I also did some swatches with the new Daniel Smith 2017 colors (thank you Ophelia!).  I used a fountain pen with Platinum Carbon ink for the writing, it worked nicely on both papers. I used a Pigma Micron Pen for the circles, that’s where I could tell the difference between the papers.  It worked better on the Turner paper because the ink soaked in more readily. Cézanne sized paper on the left, Turner on the right.

Daniel Smith 2017 watercolors on Hahnemuhle cezanne and turner watercolor paper

Now for pricing and availability.  I was sent these products by Hahnemühle USA out of Illinois.  They sent me a list of retailers. Not all of them have the items reviewed here listed on their sites yet, but may have them stocked on the floor or can special order them.  Dick Blick and Jerry’s Artarama are expected to have all of these available mid-summer. Customers can also special order all of these from both Blick and Jerry’s now.

Wet Paint has the Nostalgie Sketchbooks, and as of the writing of this, they are on sale.  I linked to the product pages where available.

Wet Paint, St Paul, MN

Dick Blick – Online and Blick Locations

Talas, Brooklyn NY

Binders, Atlanta, GA

Flax Art & Design – San Mateo, CA

I found the products for sale, not surprisingly, on Amazon.com, click here.  All of the products there look like they are shipping from the UK.  Check out the link, but to give an idea the A6 watercolor book is around $14 and the A4 about $26, both with free shipping from the UK.

I would like to thank Carol and Joe of Hahnemühle USA, not only for sponsoring an awesome giveaway, but for giving me the opportunity to experience and share about these products.

And here’s where I have my little say.

Putting oneself out there like this, these reviews and sharing, can subject one to criticism and unkindness.  I am so thankful for all the kindness and sharing that many of you have expressed!  Truly, thank you.  I want to remind readers what Doodlewash is all about.  Here is a link to the Doodlewash Manifesto, Charlie, the creator of Doodlewash wrote it- it’s brilliant. For anyone questioning what I share- I write about supplies not technique or skills. I review supplies to the best of my ability, and with integrity.  I’ve never professed to have mad art skills, and I’m not here to wow you with those. I write these to help provide information and personal insights about supplies that you may decide to use, and will hopefully wow yourself with.  Like many of you, I’m on an artistic journey and learning as I go along, everything is process. These reviews are written to help people figure out what supplies are right for them as they go along in their own processes.

Kindness in life is key.  May you be well.  Happy painting and sketching.

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Join us for World Watercolor Group!  It’s a group for everyone who enjoys watercolor. It is a very active group. There’s also the #WorldWatercolorGroup tag to use when sharing your work on social media.  More info in the link above, or click here.

Hi I'm the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression. Follow me on Instagram!
Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
46 Comments
  1. Judy Salleh 6 months ago

    Thanks for reviewing the products – the Turner one certainly looks interesting along with the A4 Sketchbook. Happy Easter!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi Judy, thanks for your comment. I hope you had a wonderful holiday 🙂

  2. Ann E Grasso 6 months ago

    Happy to see you back on the review trail! I was excited this Saturday to find this review in my inbox and read it before even scanning the rest of the overnight mail. I always forward your link to a small group called Creative Tuesdays, and we enjoy discussing your information. Continuing thanks and appreciation for your time, carefully constructed and thoughtful reviews.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      It seems I can’t get off this trail Ann…hehe! Glad you are finding them helpful! And as always, I appreciate your comment. I always enjoy seeing your inspiring photos!

  3. Monique 6 months ago

    I love your parting words!
    And I love all your reviews.

    You are humble and honest..and nice and kind.

    Personally I bought 2 products of theirs on my one and only trip to Paris..in sennelier..and I love them.I wish I had bought more..what were the chances of us arriving at te store as they were closing for lunch:(:(

    A wonderful man..let us stay a few more minutes..but ..but ..but:(

    Happy Easter.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Ooo Paris! Sennelier! Sounds like a wonderful trip! I hope you can find the products again. Thank you for your wonderful comment Monique 🙂

  4. Cathy 6 months ago

    I, too read your review first before reading any of my other emails. Thank you for your through and practical reviews! Have you retried Winsor and Newton, they do seem to rewet better now with the new formulation (at least with Perylene green). Thanks again Jessica!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi Cathy, aww you make my heart feel good, thank you. There is one color from W&N that I’ve been using a lot, a violet of sorts, but I can remember the name just now. It rewets nicely 🙂

  5. dkatiepowellart 6 months ago

    Jessica I am so surprised at you getting negativity in response to reviews. I’ve not had that experience and I write reviews weekly, and I’ve not heard of it from Teoh Yi Chie (Parkablogs.) Brush it off!

    Huge fan of Hahnemühle’s paper and their journals are strong and lay wonderfully flat. I just started on my first Watercolour Book… so far, a winner. It totally rivals Moleskin!

    I’ve also reviewed the Nostalgie Sketchbook (I finished my first) and though the paper is light, it takes most anything I throw at it (I tend to clip pages on all my journals tho.) I also reviewed their Hahnemühle Post Cards (I want them here in the states!) and the GreyBook, which is grey paper and Doesn’t take washes terribly well (one layer) but it great for Neocolors, pencil, markers.

    I wanted a place on Flickr that celebrated Hahnemühle’s journals, and started a Flickr group for them: https://www.flickr.com/groups/3399663@N25/

    Happy Easter!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi Kate, I’ve just been enjoying your sketches on your blog and the Flickr group. I love the one with all the dangling beads and charms :). I also enjoyed reading about your Lojong practice. I’m happy to hear that neither you or Teho Yi Chie have experienced any negative responses. People can be funny and very judgmental about art. Which is often odd to me, because art is a form of personal expression, which I don’t think can be done wrong, or even unskilled. It is all process and the skill one has is appropriate for where they are presently at in their process. Some people have just been in an artistic process for longer, or may have come in with innate talent- mostly I think a lot of hard work and effort went in to gaining skill with time and experience. But, I know not everyone is of a similar opinion.
      …and I just saw your jewelry on Etsy! We have a lot of common interests.

      I appreciate you reaching out!

  6. Yukari 6 months ago

    Great review! I simply love your poppy sketch! I think I’ve seen the sketch journal at Arizona Art Supplies in Scottsdale.. I’m looking to do some mixed media art journaling this summer and these look great for that. Thank you!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Thank you Kari. Somehow I think I do better with ink than watercolor. I think about it in a different way and I may want start thinking about watercolor in the same way. Let me know if you find any products at AZ art supply. The one down here doesn’t always have what the one up there carries.

  7. bizzyella 6 months ago

    Excellent final paragraph, though I’m sorry you read comments that were hurtful. Why do people do that? Anyway, good for you for continuing to contribute anyway. And thanks for the careful and complete review.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Thank you 🙂 What you are doing in France looks amazing!!

  8. Teresa Robeson 6 months ago

    I know I’ve said this many times before but I LOVE your reviews! The only downside is that you make me want to run out and buy all these wonderful supplies…and I just don’t have a large enough budget. 😉 Thank you, Jessica! <3

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hello lovely Teresa. You always make me smile :). Hopefully the reviews being a little more spread out will help out your budget, and mine…hehe!

  9. KathyAnne 6 months ago

    I too LOVE your reviews and am so excited whenever I see one in my Inbox! Can’t possibly imagine why anyone would send you negative comments — please just let it go! Like Teresa, the downside is wanting to buy all/so much of what you review! And I have — thanks to you! — found some amazing products. Thank you!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi KathyAnne, thank you for your comment 🙂 . I’m so happy you have found these reviews helpful! I know what you mean though about wanting to try it all! Recently I’ve been enjoying the simple nature of the pencil 🙂

  10. Carol 6 months ago

    Thanks for another excellent review, Jessica!💖

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      You are welcome Carol, and thank you for your comment 🙂

  11. rafiqzain 6 months ago

    Wonderful

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Thank you Rafiq.

  12. M. L. Kappa 6 months ago

    I just bought a Hannemuhle block today – the Venetto, it’s what they had available in my local shop in Athens. I’m sorry you did not get to review that one – I’m dying to use it now. And they’re better priced than Arches, here at least. Let’s see!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Ooo, have you used your new block yet?? I just went to look on IG to see if you had tagged anything. I’m curious to see how you like it 🙂

  13. Ellie 6 months ago

    Thanks so much for this and all of your reviews! Never doubt that you truly provide excellent, objective information that is so helpful to us. Unfortunately, there are those who feel that they must bolster their own weak egos through criticism of others. But I am always to happy to read your reviews and see how you use the materials – your artwork is LOVELY! Like Teresa Robeson, though, the downside of your great reviews is that my budget and my desires have to battle a bit. ( :

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi Ellie, I know, the temptation is real!! I had to watch it myself, and that is one of the reasons why I’ve changed to doing the reviews intermittently. It was getting a little overwhelming, needed to give myself and everyone else a break! 🙂

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 months ago

    Jessica, I’ve always been positively impressed by your thorough reviews of products, and your detailed descriptions. You’ve influenced a few of my own purchases. This review of sketchbooks is really useful as I’ve been searching for one with specific properties. Painting similar art on two books really lets us see the differences between them.

    You’ve written often that you don’t consider yourself a great artist but I’m often enchanted by your work, especially by the lovely mandalas. However, your poppy painting is gorgeous – I like the circular marks that make it a bit abstract, as if other thoughts entered your mind while painting the flowers.

    Making your art public on the Internet is an act of courage – you won’t see mine anywhere because of many reasons, but a lack of courage is one of them. I admire your work and hope you aren’t discouraged by the trolls.

    I always look forward to your product reviews. Thank you for your contribution to the art world and to Doodlewash.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi Sharon, always great to read your thoughtful comments. What specific properties are you looking for in a sketchbook? And did one of these have it? If not let me know if I can help any in trying to identify one that is right for you. The one thing about just regular sketchbooks, the paper often does not contain sizing, so watercolor will look dull and not move over the page. Anywho, you may know all that, or maybe don’t want sizing, and I’m just being uselessly chatty.

      Your comment also made me realize something, which is awesome! There is a part of me that does not want to conform and fit in as a “great” artist. I even refuse to take art classes. I think about them being a good idea and helpful, but when it comes down to it, I won’t do it. There are other places in my life where this is true as well. So, I have some things to think on 😀.

      Always enjoyable to interact with you!

      • Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 months ago

        The Watercolour Book sounds right to me – I want the paint to feather but not soak through, the paper to lay flat as possible while working it (though I don’t mind clips on the corners) and the color to be as brilliant as possible. Not too concerned about buckling as I can weight a dry book and usually get it to flatten. Sounds good enough that I’m willing to try it.

        I’ve always had trouble with blocks – I can never separate them correctly and it frustrates me. I’d rather buy single sheets of paper and tape them down to a wooden support, but this is for larger pieces anyway.

        Again, my thanks.

      • Author
        Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

        I’ve ripped the paper trying to separate it from blocks. What I’ve found that works the best is slipping a palette knife in to separate the pages.

  15. Teri C 6 months ago

    Love this review. I’m always on the lookout for new art supplies 😳😳😂😳😜😍.
    For the record, you ALWAYS do a great review that everyone loves except a few jealous dummies.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Thanks Teri. We don’t see each other in person often, but I feel fortunate to have you as an art buddy. Recently I though, the heat is coming and she will be leaving for the summer. I hope we are able to get together before then. I’m going to text you right now!
      <3

  16. mudpilewood 6 months ago

    Great review, but it was, truthfully, your great illustrations/images that made me read the post. Someday I will stop running around the planet and learn to paint or even to doodle would be a great start.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Hi Breeze, thank you for taking the time to comment. Running around the planet sounds like a great way to learn how to doodle and/or sketch. Happy travels!

  17. As an absolute beginner I like very much your reviews, interesting and your sketches are a great source of ideas…By the way I’m a big fan of Hahnemühle paper for my inkjet photo prints, for sure an excellent company with a long history. Thanks for your reviews
    robert

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 months ago

      Thank you Robert, happy to hear this was helpful to you. I had come across info about people being satisfied with their paper for photo printing, good to know that you are of a similar opinion. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂

  18. quinn 6 months ago

    I appreciate your reviews so much! Thank you for taking the time and care to try products and describe your experiences so well. Buying art supplies is a fairly serious economic decision for me, and must all be done online, so it is very helpful to read more than a manufacturer’s descriptions.

  19. Peg Boyd 4 months ago

    Jessica,

    Fantastic review!. I had been using the Hahnemuhle Repot and Art Book-A5 (8.27 x11.7 inches). Classy looking and holds up to light washes well. I purchased it from Adorama Camera in NYC. Because of your review, I purchased the Watercolour Book via Amazon. SAA is the vendor. As you say, the pages are the same on front and back. If you want to paint across the center of the book you will be fine. You do have to clamp the pages down, the paper buckles. However, your work will be ok. It looks like my painiting is drying ok withe buckles receding.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 4 months ago

      I’m glad the Watercolour book worked out for you Peg! Yay 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  20. […] including ones that seem hard to find, unique, or uncommon in the US. They carry those nice Hahnemühle Nostalgie & Watercolour sketchbooks. Their staff has always been genuinely helpful and […]

  21. […] of Good Watercolour Paper (Professional […]

  22. Mary Roff 7 days ago

    Thanks for the great review..it’s very helpful

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 5 days ago

      Thanks so much Mary, I’m happy to hear that it was helpful 🙂

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