Review-Hahnemühle A5 Watercolor Book

  • If anyone wants to read another review of the Hahnemühle A5 Watercolor Book, I posted one today at my Life Imitates Doodles blog.  I’ve been posting the examples I did for the review but for those who read this at a later date, I’ll add them here with meat of the review.  At my blog, I cover more about the look and feel of the book.

    To test for general ability to handle washes and to lift color, I overworked a painting, then completely covered it over with a mix of Ultramarine Blue & Burnt Sienna.  Then, once the paint dried thoroughly, I used Yong Chen’s method of lifting color to create negative shapes.  The paper held up extremely well to this.

    According to the website, the Akademie paper in this book is good for other media, so I did a value study with pencil.  The paper had enough tooth to grab the graphite, without breaking up the line.

    I redid the same painting with a nylon-tipped pen, using it for linework both before and after I painted.  I really scribbled in the sky, using far more pressure than I normally would.  The linework stayed nice and bold, and I had no damage to the nylon tip.

    Then for the last painting, I used two types of masking fluid and left it on for over 24 hours.  After the painting was finished, the masking fluid came off with no problem at all.

    The Hahnemühle Watercolourbook is a light but sturdily sewn book with a dark grey synthetic linen cover that is simple but elegant.  The 200 gsm white paper has an even texture that is smooth enough for pen and pencil, but works well for watercolor.

    It will pill with heavier washes, but if you allow paint to dry first, color lifts well.  It holds up to masking fluid.

    All in all, a good watercolor book for carry, great for quick sketches, and if you allow layers to dry in between, works well for fully-worked paintings.

    Not had it pill with even the heaviest of my washes.  And the longevity of the spine is amazing — takes a beating.  I also reviewed a year ago — I love this journal!

    It’s is surprising how differently our experience with products has been given we live nearby.  I’m not sure if it is because I’m so close to the Gorge or simply the way we store and handle our products.  Probably a combination of both.  Paper is so sensitive to the environment. That’s one of the reasons I like to read a lot of reviews.

    I’m hard on sketchbooks.  They get tossed in my bags, dropped off mountains (well, fine, only one drop, once. I’m kind of a clutz, though, and wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it happening again….), used in the rain, stepped on by dogs and people…

    The binding’s usually my biggest problem.  I broke a S&B softcover within days.  Seriously.

    How’s this one compared to others, bindingwise?  I could really use something bulletproof. (figuratively speaking)

    I don’t think there are any bindings that are bulletproof, but this one is sewn together very well.  If anything were to happen, I think you might pop a signature loose.  A hardcover is going to be stronger than a softcover.

    I am also hard on bindings, but I like bound books better then spiral bound books.  Reviews in bold.

    Both the Hahnemuhle Watercolor and the Hahnemuhle Nostalgie (their sketchbook weight) have terrific bindings.  I’ve been through four watercolor journals since I wrote my Hahnemuhle Watercolour review… never a binding problem.  I lay mine flat and flex them hard with clips because i do heavy washes and never had one come loose.

    Pentalic I simply won’t buy.  I wrote a review of their bound journals of which TWO unraveled within a short time of starting and after months and no response to what I said to them they sent me more saying they’d solved the problem and the day I opened the book (I want to like them they are an Oregon company) the paper fell out of one side.

    Moleskin I’ve also never had a binding problem with but once, and they replaced it promptly.  I always feel once can be an error, especially.

    Regarding paper: this is where I go for Hahnemuhle over Moleskin, who changed their paper some time back.  Moleskine’s new paper has sizing in it which makes the watercolor sit on top of it.  I wet mine down thoroughly and that helps… but I have to do that if I want washes to work properly.

    Hahnemuhle doesn’t have that issue.  Sandra has had hers pill but I’ve not had that, and while I would not say I SCRUB the paper often, I through a lot at it.  Sometime layers of grisaille in the form of waterproof inks, then topped by washes.  So I am a fan of the paper too — and I love their bamboo paper and am waiting for them to do a bound journal with it!

    BTW, I cannot stand the Fabriano journal — the paper pilled with the second wash on a completely dry paper.  They were upset when they heard it and sent me more and again the paper was bad.  My overseas friends rave about it and all I can say is the exterior of their journals looks different so perhaps we are not getting the good paper.

    I think the river can make a microcosm environment.  And i can’t figure it either!

    Kate, more than any other medium I’ve ever used, I think watercolor results change with the slightest of variation in environment and technique.  I suppose the difference in our experiences could come from almost anything.  But I like the mystery – watercolor lends itself to that.

    I thought I’d add to my review.  Last night I was playing around with my Zensations Fineliners and the paper in the Hahnemühle was perfect for them!

    Beautiful work,,love the color..what is the weight and roughness of this paper?

    Sandra and Kate – love your work.

    Pamela, the paper is 200 gsm/135 lb (if I calculated right).  It’s a fine grain but has more touch than you might think from the feel.

    Thank you, Sharon!

    I’m just starting to work in my Hahnemühle watercolor book. it so far only has one painting. I have to get used to it.

    The paper is a bit different.  I love how easy it is to lift color.  Now when I use other papers, I have to re-adjust and remember to reserve whites and light areas more carefully.


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