Friday, August 5, 2016

Playing with Papers!

Sometime back I got a variety of papers from Legion Paper, and since I love bookbinding I put them all together under one cover and bound them into a Sampler Journal...check out their Sampler Department for a dizzying array of choices for all kinds of paper needs:

It's quite a big book with multiple signatures...and I left the stickers on the papers so I would remember what I was using!

I'm only partway through this book...maybe 2/3--but I decided (since I'm expecting more papers to test!) that it was time to share my impressions thus far. 

As usual, I am most interested in papers that would work well in a journal, with a variety of mediums: fountain pen as well as disposables, graphite pencil, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, and of course, watercolor. 

I generally enjoy a cold-press or its equivalent, but sometimes hot press and a bit of rough as well.  I look for a pleasing surface that not only looks but FEELS good with these varied choices--I prefer a tough surface that will take some punishment, too.  It's a lot to expect from a paper, but some of these really stand out.  I'll be ordering more for my next bookbinding marathon!

Some of these papers are not meant for watercolor, but pleased me mightily by working just fine for that medium.  Loved them...

Other papers are lovely for the purpose for which they were intended, but for the way I work, not so much.  A soft surface drives me crazy with its tendency to drag both pens and pencil points, as well as absorbing watercolor too readily.  I think they're likely perfect for printmaking, but not for my needs. are my findings so far, in no particular order or ranking--they're just how the ended up bound into the book, sorry.

Saunders Waterford was quite nice with a variety of's a watercolor paper, with a slightly soft surface but very nice with ink as well.

For some reason colors dried lighter on the Waterford than I put them down...that often happens with a paper with a lot of sizing, but this was more than I'm used to.

On the other hand, these brush tests worked beautifully on the Waterford.  I'd give it a big thumbs up and remember to mix my washes stronger.

I adore Drawing Bristol, I just do--always have.  For a variety of mediums.  WANT MORE.

I use Stonehenge a lot when I'm binding books, mostly because I love the Kraft paper tan (this isn't it's darker and warmer.)  I was disappointed to find ink feathering more than I expected, so I'll be careful how I use it.

It's delightful with dry mediums. though!  Stonehenge stays in my arsenal.

Somerset Velvet--not for me.  Too soft, pens and colored pencils tend to drag on it. 

Arturo Cover on the other hand is wonderfully versatile!  LOTS of thumbs up, and I definitely want more.

I really didn't expect the Arturo Cover to work this well with juicy watercolor, but it performed like a champ.  Love!

More Somerset Velvet.  Nope.  Not for me.  Way too soft.

I had three weights of Multimedia Aquarelle and loved all three!  Great, bright, strong paper, handled pretty much any medium I threw at it, including a fine pen.

This is the lightweight 90 lb. Multimedia Aquarelle...I deliberately made a wet, juicy wash to see how much it would buckle.  Absolutely minimal!  The thinner, lighter paper would allow more pages and more signatures in a journal.  Thumbs up!

Yep, I'm in love...brush testing on this page, pleased with how true the colors remained, too.

MORE Multimedia Aquarelle.  Must.  Have.  Gorgeous stuff, and truly multi-media.

Folio, nope.  Probably as its name suggests, a printing paper.  It took pen okay but not all that exciting.

Folio is definitely NOT pleasing with watercolor, the wet pigment soaks in and looks gray.

Lanaquarelle, on the other hand--YUM.  Same colors on this paper as on the Folio were much more vivid.

Lovely with all these mediums, too.  Ordering more...

Ink wanted to feather on the Folio, especially if the pen writes rather wet/juicy.

Sorbet text is quite lightweight, and comes in rich for light washes, a dryish application of gouache, or colored pencil, though.

This is Arches Cover, not their watercolor paper, but--I wasn't thrilled with it for ink, either, it felt a bit soft.  (But then I don't like their watercolor paper...)  It DID work well with a different pen, and as always that makes a huge difference.

Again, ink wants to feather some on Coventry Rag...not high on my list.

So overall, for me...not Arches Cover, Coventry Rag, Folio, or Somerset Velvet, but the others have definite possibilities for my artist's-journal keeping self!  (As they say, YMMV.)


And this from Legion Paper's website...they're good folks and very helpful: 

"It is our mission to continue to travel the world in search of the most intriguing and best performing papers - from delicate handmade papers that reveal striking texture and color with every sheet to the most technologically advanced digital printing papers produced today.

Following [on their page] are just some of the mills that we represent.  In addition to these, we have over 40 other mills all over the world with whom we work on a regular basis to have papers made to our, and our customers', specifications."

If any of these interest you as much as they did me, go to the Legion Paper link, above, and then to the specific paper you want to know more about.  On each paper's page there's a "where to buy" link in the bottom right hand corner! 

Going there now...wheeee!


  1. Thanks for this informative post, Kate. And I'm so happy to read that you don't like Arches watercolor paper either. I've tried it several times over the years, thinking it must be the best since so many people seem to love it, but I find it too scratchy and rough, and I think my colors look dull on it. I thought I was the only one who wasn't a fan. Nice to know I have company.

    1. I've used the HP when I need to, but otherwise, no thanks! It's like all the people who love Lamy pens, I guess--I had to try them, but...not for me.

  2. This is so helpful and I'm going to stop by Blick and pick up a couple pieces of the multimedia aquarelle - it sounds great. I'm also not a fan of the Lamy....but it's interesting to try new products.

  3. Watch for an ucoming post! I'm in the process of testing a new Stonehenge watercolor paper that is a WINNER. Waiting to get HP samples, too...

  4. Thank you for this very informative and helpful post! I will be referring back to this often, I'm sure.

  5. Awesome review and article. Thank you so much. I will definitely Check it out. Nite I'm trying to figure out how to save your article instead of just the link! Ha. New phone.


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