While surfing around in the online watercolor world, I kept seeing the name Hahnemühle come up. People were talking about their line of watercolor papers and their watercolor books.
Of course, I had to try this brand. I bought this watercolor Book, and then I received some cold press watercolor blocks – the Cézanne, William Turner, and Leonardo from Hahnemühle. Today, I’m going to review the Watercolor Book in A5 size. I’ll be reviewing the cold press blocks in the weeks to come.
Size: A5 (9 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches) Landscape. Also available in A6, A5 and A4.
Weight: 7.8 ounces
No. Pages: 60 pages, 30 Sheets
Paper: 200 gsm, natural white, rag fiber content, fine-grained, acid free
Cover: Synthetic linen
Extras: Ribbon, Elastic band
Suitable for watercolors, gouache, tempera, pastel, charcoal, pencil and crayons
Look & Feel
The Hahnemühle Watercolour book is filled with 30 sheets of Akademie watercolour paper, which has rag fiber content. The cover is plain, but elegant. If you decide you want a custom look, the dark grey would frame a watercolor painting nicely. I think that is what I’m going to do, glue down a painting on the front.
The cover is completely plain on both the front and the back, with the exception of the Hahnemühle Rooster debossed on the back cover corner, and the color coordinated elastic band.
The binding is well-sewn, with even stitches and nicely aligned signatures.
The ends of the elastic band go completely through the book board and are attached on the inside of the back cover. That means there is no bulge on the outside, but you can see the ends beneath the end paper glued to the inside back. It looks worse in the photo than it does in real life.
The ridge that that you see around the ends runs all the way along the top, the bottom and outside edge of both the front and back inside covers. Sort of like a faint crown molding. It’s only on the inside. I think it would look cool it if were on the outside too!
The edges of the cover overlap the pages. That isn’t a problem for me, but I know that some people prefer them to be flush.
The corners are rounded, and the cover fabric is tightly and evenly wrapped around them with no uneven folds.
The paper is 200 gsm, natural white with rag fiber content. It is acid free. The texture is fine-grained and according the Hahnemühle website, it is suitable for watercolors, gouache, tempera, pastel, charcoal, pencil and crayons.
This is a scanned close-up of the texture. In real life, it is smoother, both to the eye and to the touch.
The book lies flat.
You can fold the book back to make it easier to hold in one hand, but it does make the signatures pop outward and I think it is a strain on the stitches, so I wouldn’t do this myself, except for purposes of this review.
This is a good-looking watercolour book, plain but elegant. It’s light enough to carry, and sturdy enough to hold up to the travel.
But what about the paper? How does it perform? Read on.
If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that I start out by trying to destroy the paper. I like to find out just what the limits are.
I really overworked the paper and discovered that this paper doesn’t like heavy washes. It pills when you work wet-into-wet, especially if you scrub. No surprise. Most watercolor books have this problem.
My resulting painting was something truly ugly. I intended to just move on, and not show the work. Then I saw a video by Yong Chen where he used a extraction technique to create negative shapes. I’ve seen negative shapes used in many ways but this was new to me. How better to test the strength and lifting capability of this paper.
I covered my mess with mixes of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. After it had dried for a couple of hours, I followed Yong Chen’s method of lifting. As you can see, I wasn’t able to get all the way back to white, but I lifted a LOT of color. Now that the paint was dry, there was no pilling.
The area on the sheep’s chest was so much lighter (from the original painting) that I did add a little color back in to make it blend just a little better.
The page curled a bit, and dried with some dimpling. I didn’t tape it down so I could probably have prevented that. Most of the curl and dimpling weighted out when I put a book on top overnight.
Since the website said the paper was suitable for other media than watercolor, I decided to try that. I used a water-soluble graphite pencil for this study, and found I could get a good range of values using it both wet and dry.
Then I re-drew the scene with a technical pen and painted it with watercolor. Afterwards, I drew some more with the pen.
I used a .03 fiber-tipped pen. The lines went down evenly, with no skipping, feathering or blotches either before or after. Even when I went really wild in the sky, scribbling with some pressure, there were no issues with the pen. Sometimes, if you use a pen like this on watercolor paper, there will problems with the pen from wear. My pen worked just fine after I finished with this line and wash.
Now, I was ready for a full painting that I wasn’t trying to ruin. I hadn’t tested with masking fluid yet, so even though it wasn’t needed for the painting I planned, I used two different brands of masking fluid on the bare-branched trees. It was on for over two days, while I worked on this painting.
When the painting was fully dry, the masking fluid came off with no problem whatsoever.
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.
Places where you can buy Hahnemühle Watercolor books:
Hahnemühle is the oldest German papermaker, manufacturing papers for traditional and digital artists as well as industrial papers. Their distinguishing feature is the ability to combine tradition with modern technologies. They developed the first acid free and archivable machine made paper and the first Fine Art Inkjet papers.
They have produced their paper at the same place for more than 430 years.
Papers characterized by the Hahnemühle ‘Rooster’ are produced with focus on quality instead of quantity.
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