First, there was Bamboo Mixed Media and Sketch paper. Now, Hahnemühle has added Hemp Sketch paper and Agave Cold-Pressed watercolor paper to their Natural line.
All four of the Natural Line papers are a natural white color. They are all acid-free, age-resistant, and vegan. They are all a combination of a fast-growing, easily renewable sources and cotton fiber by-products of the textile and oil industries.
Hahnemühle Natural Line: Bamboo
This review is more of an introduction to the new Hemp Sketch and Agave watercolor paper, but I want to give you a little information about the Bamboo papers, for those who haven’t had the chance to try them out.
The Bamboo Mixed Media weight is 265 gsm(125 lbs). The paper is made from 90% bamboo fiber and 10% cotton rag. I’ve used many different mediums on this paper over the last couple of years — sketching, drawing with pencil and pen, watercolor, markers and more. It’s also suitable for pastel and acrylic.
Although it is lighter weight than your average watercolor paper, it’s sturdy enough to use for cards. I’ve done some quilling (paper rolled into shapes) and glued it on (the second example above from the right). The Bamboo mixed media stayed perfectly straight, handling glue and the weight with no problem.
The colors are vibrant — it’s one of my favorite papers. I love the small 3.1 x 4.1 size, so perfect for mini-paintings or tangling.
Bamboo Sketch Paper
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I’ve never used the Bamboo sketch paper. That will have to be corrected! I’ll just give you the information from the Hahnemühle blurbs.
The Bamboo Sketch weight is 105 gsm and the paper is 90% bamboo fiber and 10% cotton rag. It’s suitable for sketching and drawing, with excellent contrasts and color adherence.
Sample Examples and Giveaways
The Hemp Sketch and Agave Watercolor are just arriving in the U.S. and Canada, so the product has been going to stores first. I was sent some samples so I could get a start on this review. If you notice writing on my examples, that is why. The actual block and sheets will not have writing on them.
I will have the real thing before this review goes live — not just for me either. I asked for and received enough for two giveaways! You can enter those at my blog and Instagram account. The links will be at the bottom of the review.
Hahnemühle Natural Line: Hemp Sketch
The Hemp Sketch weight is 80 gsm (40 lbs) The paper is 60% hemp fiber and 40% cotton rag. It has a texture that pulls the color from pencil or pen. Because of the texture, you get lines that are feathery, rather than crisp and bold. It erases and blends beautifully, making it wonderful for graphite, and chalk.
It’s a bit too textured for fiber-tipped pens and markers. You can get a beautiful look, but I think it would eventually fray the tips.
Due to the light weight, the paper curls if you are applying pressure as you draw. It can be flattened with weight afterward.
On the other hand, despite the light weight, it is resistant to indentations and scratches. I deliberately tried to get those. I even used a palette knife and scored the paper. I used a pencil with a sharp point and dug it in until the lead snapped. I pressed hard when using pen — enough to make my hand ache — and still had no indentations or scratches showing in my finished work.
Pencil erases almost completely, and you can redraw over the erased area.
The paper is semi-transparent so you only want to use both sides when you want to see something from the other side.
I made use of the transparency and drew one of my Fun & Easy patterns. First, I drew the finished Penquilephant and a grid on another piece of paper, then laid it under my Hemp sketch paper. I just slid the grid piece to line up and draw each step. That way I have steps that line up, with little variation. I drew these steps using a gel pen.
Using my pattern, I drew a larger penquielephant and went crazy with color. This is where I was really digging in with the pen. I used gel pens and click markers (sort of a cross between markers and colored pencil). Alebrijes are supposed to be bright and bold, and this paper made that possible.
Hahnemühle Natural Line: Agave Cold-Pressed Watercolour Paper
The Agave weight is 290 gsm / 135 lbs. The paper is a 70% agave fiber and 30% cotton rag blend. The paper is rather smooth for cold-pressed with an all-over even texture. It’s stiff, so in many ways it acts like hot-pressed.
The first thing I tested for was the paint flow. I misted the paper thoroughly and added watery paint, letting it flow all over to see how much the paint moved and blended.
I had lots of control over the paint flow. I wet the paper so it was soaked but the water didn’t run or puddle. A thin wash of paint added with the brush feathered a bit, but didn’t move much. When I added more water with a mister, the paint began flowing and blending nicely.
The paper curled at the edges while drying but only a little during the actual painting. I gently curled the paper in the opposite direction and it flattened easily.
I think I’m seeing a triggerfish in this abstract, but my test with this was done for now, so that will wait for another day.
Next, I did a destruction test. This is where I go overboard, fussing, lifting color, repainting, scrubbing and generally doing a lot of things you shouldn’t really do. It tells me what the paper can really handle.
By drawing my subject first with a fiber-tipped technical pen, I discovered that the paper handles pen very well, with smooth coverage and bold lines.
Lifting color was easy, and it went almost all the way to the white of the paper. Sometimes, when lifting is too easy, you pick up color instead of adding it. That was not the case here.
My lifting, scrubbing and repainting cycle was repeated several times in the same area. The colors lost brilliance and became muddy, but I believe this was because I allowed them to mix not because of damage to the paper.
With both the test of paint flow and color lifting, I needed a little more water than I normally use. I think this is what gave me the extra control, and prevented accidentally lifting color.
Many of my colors were chosen to see if they would granulate, and they did. You can see it best up in the right-hand corner of the painting.
Now that I knew how the paper handled, I got serious.
I switched to gouache for my last painting. The only test was to paint with a very heavy application in some areas. Once dry, gouache can crack if the paper is too light or flexible.
After this painting had set for a couple of days, I gently flexed it back and forth to see if the paint would crack. It did not.
Overall, I found this paper to be sturdy, allowing great control of the paint flow and allowing easy color lifting. I had to use a bit more water than I am used to, for certain techniques.
Today, I’m starting a giveaway for:
One Hahnemühle Hemp Sketch Pad, 80 sheets, A5 / 5.8 x 8.3 in
One Agave Watercolor Cold-pressed, 12 sheets, 24 x 32 cm / 9.4 x 12.6 inch
One Agave Watercolor, Cold-pressed, 12 sheets 8 x 10,5 cm / 3.1 x 4.1 inch
Bamboo Mixed Media, 10 sheets, 8 x 10,5 cm / 3.1 x 4.1 inch
Sorry, U.S. only for this one.
Hahnemühle uses fibers with lignin-free cellulose from trees grown in sustainably managed forests. They are FSC- or PEFC-certified. They also use linters — fine fibers that are a by-product of textile and oil industries. They recycle production waste and packaging material and use electricity from 100% renewable energies. They continually search for fast-growing, renewable cellulose alternatives.
All Hahnemühle papers are independently certified as highly resistant to aging and are vegan.
They have a wide range of papers so there is something for every artist, from beginner to professional.
Hahnemühle Natural Line – Where to Buy
Bamboo Mixed Media Cold-pressed Available in:
Pad, 10 sheets, 8 x 10,5 / 3.1 X 4.1 in
Pad, 15 sheets, 15,3 x 25 / 6.02 x 9.8 in
Pad, 25 sheets, 24 x 32 / 9.4 x 12.6 in
Pad, 25 sheets, 30 x 40 / 11.8 x 15.7 in
Pad, 25 sheets, 36 x 48 / 14.2 x 18.9 in
Pad, 25 sheets, 42 x 56 / 16.5 X 22 IN
Sheets, pack. unit 10 sheets, 50 x 65 / 19.7 x 25.6 in
Roll: 1,25 x 10 m / 4.10 x 32.8084 ft
Bamboo Sketch Available in:
Agave Watercolor Cold-pressed Available in:
Block, 12 sheets, 8 x 10,5 cm / 3.1 x 4.1 in
Block, 12 sheets, 24 x 32 cm / 9.4 x 12.6 in
Block, 12 sheets, 30 x 40 cm / 11.8 x 15.7 in
Block, 12 sheets, 36 x 48 cm / 14.2 x 18.9 in
Block, 12 sheets, A4 / 8.3 x 11.7 in
Block, 12 sheets, A3 / 11.7 x 16.5 in
Sheets, pack. unit 10 sheets 50 x 65 cm / 19.7 x 25.6 in
Callia Artist Brushes: Flat Wash Brushes, Round Brushes
Arteza Gouache Paint, Set of 60 Colors/Tubes (12 ml/0.4 US fl oz)
Daniel Smith Set Mezzi Godet in Metal Box
Disclaimer: I received a sample packs of Agave Watercolor paper and Hemp Sketch paper from Hahnemühle for the purpose of this review, and two sets of each product for giveaways. I received no other consideration, though this post contains affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in