Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book

REVIEW: Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book

I was excited when I learned about the Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book. I’ve been using their cellulose/cotton blend sketchbook for years, and love it, but there are certain things you can only do with 100% cotton paper. I was expecting great things from this new book.

Hahnemühle didn’t let me down.

Video – The Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book


  • Paper:
    • Content 100% Cotton Rag
    • Weight – 250 gsm/120 lbs
    • Color – natural white
    • No. of Pages – 30 sheets/60 pages,
    • Characteristics – age-resistant, acid-free, vegan
  • Cover:
    • Color: black
    • Hard-cover, fine grain
    • Rounded spine
    • Rounded corners
    • Edges extend past paper
    • Hahnemühle Rooster debossed on back
  • Color-coordinated black ribbon and elastic closure band
  • Sizes available — both landscape & portrait
    • A6/14,8 x 10,5 cm/5.8 x 4.1 inch
    • A5/14,8 x 21,0 cm/5.8 x 8.2 inch
    • A4/21,0 x 29.7 cm/8.2 x 11.7 inch
    • 14 x 14 cm/5.5 x 5.5 in
    • 19,5 x 19,5 cm/7.7 x 7.7 in

The sizes listed are paper sizes. The cover of the book is about 1/8 inch larger.

100% Cotton Watercolour Book by Hahnemühle Exterior cover

Look and Feel – The Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book

The Book has a casual elegance. It’s an understated black. There is just a hint of texture, more felt than seen, and the only adornment is a small Hahnemühle Rooster debossed on the back. However, the rounded spine and corners speak of quality and attention to detail.

100% Cotton Watercolour Book by Hahnemühle Spine closure edge details

The edges of the book extend past the paper itself. I know some people have a decided preference for extended edges while others prefer the cover to be flush with the paper. It isn’t a deal breaker for me either way, but I think the extended edges give a little more protection.

An elastic band keeps the book closed. It is inset into the outside of the back cover and is just tight enough to keep the book closed securely without cutting into the edges of the book.

100% Cotton Watercolour Book by Hahnemühle Lays Flat

The book lies flat. I gave it a little priming by gently folding backwards, but it didn’t really need it. I do it by force of habit because most sketchbooks do.

The stitching is even and doesn’t get in the way.

The surface texture is the same on both front and back, so you can do double-paged spreads easily.

It is cold-pressed with an even texture through-out. The texture is enough to encourage a little granulation, but not enough that it shows up in the finished work.

The paper is fairly stiff — more likely to bend than wrinkle, but you can roll it gently and flatten it out once dry and not leave creases.

There are 30 sheets/60 pages of natural white paper. It’s heavier than most watercolor books I’ve used at 250 gsm/120 lbs. Heavy enough to be sturdy, hold up well to lots of water, yet light enough to keep the book from being bulky. Despite the heavier paper, the book is a light carry.

All Hahnemühle papers are age-resistant, acid-free, and vegan.


I received the A6 (5.8 x 4.1 inch) version of the watercolour book, which is actually my favorite size, but it’s a little small for my destruction tests. I like to splash all over and have to contain myself a bit at this size. I did put this paper through the mill, though, and it held up to my highest expectations.

For the first test, I taped the paper down with masking tape, and drew some lines with masking fluid.

Then I added water until there were puddles standing, and used a paint/water mix that was … well, like water.

The paper did puff up, momentarily, but then flattened out (I’ll talk more about this later in the next example). There were some small blossoms and hard edges as I added wet paint into half-dried areas, but it wasn’t bad for the techniques I was abusing.

Once I blotted, scrubbed, removed and re-painted on the half-dry paper I let it dry. Water is brighter than paint, so I expected color-shift to something lighter. You can see above that it did, but the color stayed brighter than I thought it would.

Sample art in 100% cotton Watercolour book Hahnemühle

Once the painting was completely dry, I removed the masking fluid and it peeled off with no problem.

Starting a second layer of less watery paint, I continued with the abuse. Removing color, scrubbing, repainting over those areas. Color stayed bright. As I scrubbed in the same area (the sky) for the third or fifth time, I was getting feathery effects, but no paper pilled up, and I was still able to repaint.

The masking tape came off without a hitch.

Sturdy paper, great paint flow and able to handle lots of abuse. My kind of paper!

For this painting, I used brush pens filled with water-based dyes. The bristles are plastic, which I think are harsher and abuse the paper even more.

To test the paper even further, I drew some random pencil marks and erased vigorously. Aren’t I a brute?

I didn’t use masking tape, and one of the things I was watching for was color leaking at the inside seams and staining other pages of the book. I deliberately used lots of water in that area, but the color did not leak.

After repeated scrubbings, I did finally get one area towards the center where the color started to get muddy. For the most part, the colors stayed intense. The actual painting is darker than it appears in the scan — the colors are very transparent so the scanner saw right through them.

The page wasn’t taped down and I started with just as much water as I did with the first example. Instead of puffing, there was just the slightest curl — nothing that would cause paint to run wildly.

For my last example, I switched to gouache. It’s heavier than traditional watercolor and I wanted to see how the paper took the weight. After the painting dried, I rolled it from the short edge inward until it curled past the seam, and I was able to flatten it back out without a crease or cracking the gouache.

Overall – The Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book

The Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book has a casual elegance, and it’s an understated black with rounded spine and corners, plus a matching ribbon and elastic closure.

There are 30 sheets/60 pages, heavier than many watercolor books at 250 gsm/120 lbs. The paper stands up to extreme abuse, keeping the colors bright and intense.

Links of Interest


Disclaimer: I received an A6 100% Cotton Watercolour Book from Hahnemühle for the purpose of this review. I received no other consideration, though this post contains affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews

21 thoughts on “REVIEW: Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book

  1. Another excellent review; thank you, Sandra! I think I missed a couple of previous reviews and will have to go check them out when I have a moment. I’m hoarding travel-size watercolor books so I really appreciated this write-up. 🙂

  2. Hello Ms. Sandra,

    Thanks so much for another wonderfully informative review. There is a term that is new to me. You say that ‘small blossoms’ appeared on the paper. What does that mean? Is it a puffy bubbly texture of the paper layers separating? Please do explain that. Thanks a ton!


    1. Thank you, Mugdha! When you add water or wet paint to an area that is drier, but still wet, the paint creates a flow mark, as the wet paint spreads out and lightens the previous area. There are several names given to this effect – blossoms, blooms, backruns, cauliflowers and I’m sure there are more. They all describe the same effect. Sometimes, you want these, and other times you don’t. Technique is the main cause, but it happens more easily on some paper than others.

  3. Great review. I prefer a sketchbook with 100% cotton rag and heavier than the normal 90 lb. So not easy to find. I know the quality of Hahnemuhle so I will be checking this out. I do like the covers to be a bit stiff and to extend beyond the paper like a book. I find the elastic bands tend to stretch out and become useless after a bit but that is not a deal breaker for me as they can easily be cut off when they cease to do their job. Thank you for the thorough review.

  4. Great review, Sandra! I’m not too far from wet paint. I will be making a trip down there! Haven’t been in a long while.
    I ordered a block from Blick of this. I’ll be grabbing the books for sure! Thank you for all your knowledge and advice. Much appreciated. 🤩💖

  5. Do all your pages lay flat? I got an A6 portrait and found every fourth page had a bit of glue at the bound edge so it had to be bent open instead of naturally laying flat. I contacted the company and they said they rarely get this complaint. So I bought a landscape A6 and it had this same problem.

  6. I’m a longtime, huge fan of Hahnemühle papers and am so excited to hear about this! I noticed that Blick carries them now, so maybe you can add that fine retailer to your list. Thank you for the great review, Sandra!

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