Today I’ve got a Hahnemühle watercolour book review! I bought this in Munich a few years ago now. I was in Schachinger Künstlerbedarf, this amazing Aladdin’s Cave of an art shop. Ah travel – I miss my pre-pandemic life. I kind of forgot I had this, and actually I ended up buying a second one when placing an order for some paints after I got back home. Sadly that one still sits in its wrapper. I will explain.

Hahnemühle watercolour book review

Hahnemühle Watercolour Book Stats

Size: A6
Number of pages: 30 sheets (60 pages)
Paper: 200 GSM, natural white, acid-free, Hahnemühle watercolour paper
Cover: hard, linen-effect
Rubber band: yes
Hidden pocket: no
Panorama sketching: yes

My Experience

I am not a seasoned sketcher, having started my art journey only a few years ago. My full-time job keeps me pretty busy, and between 2019-2020, I really didn’t do any sketching or painting at all. Somehow I also bought a sketchbook from Great Art (their brand). Thus, this Hahnemühle sketchbook has sat collecting dust. I ordered the Koval Arches Sketchbook from their Art series in the post-Christmas period. I bit the bullet because every other time I’ve checked the Koval website, it’s been out of stock. Its arrival is imminent, hence my fevered effort to finish up at least one of my ongoing sketchbooks… both had 21 pages left. So, I think to make it in the estimated 3-5 days shipping, I’ll need to fill 5-7 pages a day. Thank goodness for the bank holidays!

What this exercise has done however is it’s allowed me to really get to know this sketchbook. What I like about it is the cover. It’s hard, so provides a natural surface to sketch on, and protects the pages inside, and I don’t have to worry about it losing form or becoming crumpled in my bag. The linen-effect cover doesn’t ever feel grimy or oily, like sometimes those leather-effect covers can. And the A6 size is really handy to pop in my handbag. What I really dislike about it however is that the paper really isn’t suitable for doing any sort of wet in wet experimentation. It dries pretty quickly, so you can’t manipulate the paint the way you could on a good 300 gsm watercolour paper. I’m not sure if it’s the paper weight or the sizing used on the paper – I don’t have enough experience to say. The grain also isn’t very pronounced, so experimenting with granulation is also a no. But pen work is absolutely fine on these pages, and adding light washes to pen studies works very well.

This sketchbook probably better suited for sketching on the move with pen or pencil and maybe adding light washes of colour; as opposed to experimenting new watercolour techniques or doing a “dry run” of a watercolour piece because the pigment and water just does not move on the paper properly.

Example Sketches

The Venice sketch is pen and watercolour. I did wet-in-wet for the ocean scape, but as you can see the depth of colour is not as rich as you would get with nice 300 gsm paper. It’s also a bit overworked because the paper just dried too quickly and the pigments didn’t move around as I’m used to.

The Chanel nail varnish sketch was pen with watercolour pencils. So those blended out ok on this paper.

The lavender sketches, I also played around with varying degrees of wet-in-wet, which you can see give variable results.

The final sketch, Lisbon cafe, was ink with some watercolour splashes on dry paper. The results I thought were better than wet-in-wet

Final verdict of the Hahnemühle Watercolour Book Review

That said, having finished up all 60 pages, I quite enjoyed having the Hahnemühle watercolour book as my wee companion. I think this sort of sketchbook would be a great one for urban sketching because it takes pen work quite well (fineliners and nibbed pens), and will take light splashes of watercolour, which from what I can see, is the way most urban sketchers use watercolour paints anyway. The hardcover also means you’re never hard pressed to find an adequate surface to paint on, and the fact that you can paint on both sides of the paper and over a spread of 2 pages for panorama sketching also lend to the suitability for urban sketching.

Happy sketching! x

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