REVIEW-Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook

I reviewed the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook back in 2018, before I started doing videos. It’s one of my favorite non-watercolor papers, and Hahnemühle sent me some more. I decided that I’d do a video and update the review.



Size:  Portrait:

  • A6 / 4.1 x 5.8 inches
  • A5 / 8.1 x 5.8 inches
  • A4 / 8.1 x 11.7 inches

Size:  Landscape

  • A6/ 4.1 x 5.8 inches
  •  A5 / 5.8 x 8.1 inches
  • A4 / 8.1 x 11.7 inches

Size:  Nostalgie Postcard -approx. 4 x 6 inches
Paper: 190 gsm / 90 lb, natural white, fine-grain

No of Pages in Sketchbook: 40 sheets/80 pgs
No of sheet in Postcard Pad: 20 sheets per pad
Binding: Glued with sturdy cardboard backing

Suitable for all dry-painting techniques in addition to wet colors.

Look and Feel

This sketchbook is cloth-covered and hardbound with sewn binding.  It is a lovely weight and sturdiness for carry.  The textured cloth gives the book an elegant look that is equally suitable for the office, school or home use.

The front has no branding or illustration …

… nor does the back except for except for the Hahnemühle rooster debossed at the bottom.

The covers are larger than the body with squared corners. The signatures are sewn together so that the pages are neat and flush with one another. 

The binding is also sewn neatly with no hanging threads or uneven stitching. There is a red ribbon bookmark attached.

The book lies completely flat when opened. 

The paper is 190 gsm / 90 lb, natural white, and fine-grain. It’s stiff, smooth, and thin, similar to cardstock, but oh! so much more mixed media friendly. The paper is the same in all sketchbook sizes and the postcards.

The Nostalgie postcards are square, and glued into a pad. They aren’t quite the 4 x 6 inch that we are used to in the U.S., being just a little shorter lengthwise and a tad taller width-wise.

The paper is the same as you find in the sketchbook. There is an address panel printed on the back for an address.


Colored Pencil

The surface of the Nostalgie paper, though not actually slick, is a bit hard and smooth for complex layering and blending with pencil or colored pencil.

The colors go down bright and bold and there is a quality to the appearance that I like.  In many ways, I felt as though I were using marker pens rather than colored pencils.  That may actually be a plus for many people who don’t spend time layering and blending.


I don’t think I have another non-watercolor sketchbook that takes watercolor as well as this paper does.  I kept painting with wetter techniques and I love the way it handles.  The first painting, I just rolled a little bit of tape, sticking one piece to the top outside corner and one to the bottom.  There was so little curling, buckling or dimpling that I didn’t do anything to hold the paper flat after that.

When the paper dries, there is minimal dimpling and the texture of the paper has hardly changed at all.

I started my first painting by scribbling with masking fluid, which soon turned into the bones of ancient birds, and once dried I slapped on color at random.  When the masking fluid was removed, I used a Platinum Carbon fountain pen with a super-fine nib because I knew the sharp point would catch on any torn or damaged paper.

It didn’t.

I decided I wanted to try a fully developed watercolor painting.  I did use some wet-into wet on the background, but this time I went more for glazes, letting each layer dry and adding more color once it did.  Here I found that after a glaze or two, it was harder to get crisp edges, and some of the brush strokes showed in the lower layers.

I don’t consider this a weakness but they are limitations to work with.  I like the sort of swirling motion that developed from the brush strokes in the background, and I used it to get the striations on the tulip’s petals.

In my opinion, this paper would be fantastic for plein air/urban watercolor sketching.

Technical Pen/Brush Pen

I actually have a preference for a softer surfaced paper for my pen, so I can build up a wider range of values, but I also like to vary how I work. This is the sketchbook I’ll grab when I want crisp, bold lines and sharp contrast.

I used both technical and brush pens in varying nib sizes to draw this.  The pen glides across the paper and it was a true delight to watch and feel the lines appearing on the page.

Mildliner (highlighters) and Fineliner pens

This drawing was done using Mildliner pens, which are a larger-nibbed marker style pen originally meant for high-lighting text, but which give a softer color than most marker pens.  I used a smaller nibbed fineliner pen for the line work.

As with the technical pens and brush pens, the pens went on the paper smoothly, with little streaking.  The ink dried quickly and there was little color shift (lightening or darkening of a color as it dries).  The colors went down bright and bold.

Fineliner Pens

I hadn’t really meant to do another fineliner drawing for this review, but shortly before Easter, my five-year old great niece asked for an Easter Octopus.  I quickly drew one and her short attention span satisfied, she wandered off.  I decided to keep going.  I don’t think this is still an Easter Octopus – more like an alien, steampunk octopus I think.

I really layered the colors with this one, using squirkling and hatching methods to blend the colors, and I think I could have gone on forever with no problem from the paper.

Alcohol Marker/brush & technical pen/fabric-tipped markers (my Bleedthrumanade tutorial is here).

Alcohol markers bleed through to the back on almost any paper that isn’t specially made for them. And those papers are usually too slick for any other medium. I like to take advantage of that, by doing what I call a Bleedthrumanade.

I color the entire front of the sheet with alcohol markers, and then draw something.  Once done, I turn the page over and use the color that has bled through to the back to create a totally different drawing.

With the Nostalgie paper, I’d say about 75% of the color from the front bled through to the back, which isn’t bad. If you look closely, you’ll see elements of the design from the front.

On the front, I used brush pens to draw and color over the alcohol marker, and dabs of white paint marker for the highlights.

On the back, I used fabric-tipped markers to even out the color and carve out the negative shape of a lady in a hat.  You can see that the marker in the color left streaks, which is natural for markers. There are methods to avoiding it, and more for using it as shading or texture (but that’s a whole different post!).  I used the streaking to add texture and make it clearly stand out from the lady.

I finished off by using technical pens for the line work.

The Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook is a handsome, well-balanced sketchbook, Even though hard-bound, it is light enough for carry.  It handles various mediums well, but shines the most when using pen and markers.  It handles watercolor, even wet-in-wet, better than most non-watercolor sketchbooks.

About Hahnemühle
Founded in 1584, Hahnemühle produces traditional, digital and industrial papers. Though the owners have changed over the years, Hahnemühle has produced its paper at the same place for more than 430 years. The company was the first to develop acid free and archivable machine made paper and is one of the last to produce high quality artist’s papers and high purity filter papers for various purposes. Their highly awarded Digital FineArt Collection is the world market leading paper range today.  You can read more about Hahnemühle’s history and philosophy here.

Giveaway is now closed

The winner was Ann Brantingham.

U. S. only

One winner will receive:

  • One Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook -Landscape A6/5.77″ x 8.194.1 x 5.8 inches
  • One Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook -Portrait A5/5.77″ x 8.19
  • Two Hahnemühle Nostalgie Postcard pads
  • One 3-Pk Zebra Zensations Technical Pens
  • One 12-Pk Zebra CLiCKART Retractable Marker Pens
  • One 5-Pk Zebra Kirarich Glitter Highlighters

Two Ways To Enter:

  1. Send me an email at with: ‘I want to win Nostalgie Books‘ in the subject line
  2. Visit my LifeImitatesDoodles Instagram account and follow the instructions there.

Giveaway ends on Friday, July 17, 2020 at 11:59 PM PDT. Winner will be notified by a response to the email they sent or by DM if the winner entered on Instagram.


Remember – July is (drum beat) … WORLD WATERCOLOR MONTH! Be sure to check Doodlewash for giveaways and check out the cool World Watercolor Month items for sale! The goal is to raise money for The Dreaming Zebra Foundation and support arts education and our future artists.

Published by Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

16 thoughts on “REVIEW-Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook

  1. Wow, that is really fabulous paper! I have a lovely Japanese pen that I ruined writing on rough textured paper, so it’s nice to hear that this paper is gentle on finer nibs. And I love that it takes pen and ink as well as watercolor. Thank you for a very thorough review!

  2. Wow, you create a huge variety of artwork with enormous range of materials, applications, and subjects. Well done, Sandra.
    I love this company and use their paper when I want to gift someone a painting. It’s just plain dependable and consistently excellent quality.

  3. I like your review ! I like that these books lie flat among all other things like all the different types of mediums it handles very nicely. Your art is amazing !

  4. Excellent review again Sandra! Thanks for the support! Let Carol know if you ever need Nostalgie in a larger format in pads.

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