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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.