Comparing Stonehenge Sheets and Pads

Comparing Stonehenge Sheets and Pads

Today, I’m comparing Stonehenge sheets and pads. “Why?” you might ask. “Aren’t they supposed to be the same paper packaged in different ways?”

Yes, that is the premise. The company says the formulation and manufacturing process is exactly the same, so the quality is the same for full sheets and for pads.

But how do they compare for feel when in use?

A reader asked the same question after reading Which Paper is Best for Colored Pencils? I answered the comment directly, then decided to expand on my answer.

First, I want to thank the reader for taking the time to read that post and ask a question. I’ve learned over the years that if one person has a question, it’s likely others do, too, so I’m grateful for everyone who asks questions!

If you have a question, may I encourage you to ask it? It’s easy to do. Just click on the contact link at the top of this page or at the bottom of this post, or follow this link. Fill out the form, hit SEND, and that’s it. I will answer you directly, of course, but you may also provide the topic for a more in-depth post!

Now, on to comparing Stonehenge sheets and pads.

Comparing Stonehenge Sheets and Pads

Let’s begin with the question that began this conversation.

I read somewhere that the Stonehenge pad and Stonehenge single sheets are different. I have been buying the pad, because I have to order from online, and shipping and handling costs become a factor. Are the single sheets of a higher quality opposed to the pad? Does it have more tooth?

Stonehenge pads, back to front: 8″ x 8″ White, 5″ x 7″ Colors, ACEO White and ACEO Colors.

The quality of the paper is consistent between full sheets and pads, so there’s nothing to worry about here. The weight of the paper is the same whether you buy full sheets or pads, and between the different sizes of pads.

Having said that, I will also say that Stonehenge was originally designed for printmaking, so it’s a soft-ish, absorbent paper. The surface of full sheets is almost velvety to the touch. It takes a lot of layers, but can also have marks or lines impressed in it quite easily by accident.

The pads have a slightly smoother finish. That means the paper is less susceptible to accidental damage. But it also means that your pencils may perform in a slightly different manner.

Side-by-Side Comparison

I’ve used full sheets for years and have always liked the way colored pencils work on this paper. Prismacolor was made for Stonehenge (or Stonehenge was made for Prismacolor) in my opinion. I’ve found no other paper-pencil combination that’s such a perfect fit for the way I draw and sketch.

I recently purchased five pads of Stonehenge paper in various sizes and have found that paper to be very satisfactory. However, I’m comparing my full sheets (which are several years old) with new paper in the pad. If there is a difference, it may have more to do with changes in manufacturing process than with the paper itself.

But I did make a side-by-side comparison.

Below are two small sketches. The top sketch is on a scrap of a full sheet of Stonehenge. The bottom sketch is on the same color paper from one of the ACEO pads. I sketched the same general subject (imaginary mountains) and used a Prismacolor brown for each sketch.

The results look pretty much the same, don’t they?

Comparing Stonehenge Sheets and Pads
My Observations

But there was a slight difference in the way the pencil felt on each paper. The scrap leftover from a full sheet was softer feeling as I drew on it and the color glided onto the surface with more of a buttery feel.

The paper from the pad was also soft in feel, but not quite as soft. Since I sketched with the side of a well-sharpened pencil, it was easy to expose the surface texture of the paper.

There was no noticeable surface texture on the scrap from the full sheet.

There was a slight visible surface texture on the paper from the pad. In fact, you can see the surface texture in the paper from the pad in this illustration.

You can see more texture in the paper taken from a pad of Stonehenge (right), than on the full sheet sample. So there is a slight difference.

Covering that surface texture was easy and I was able to draw extremely light values and dark values very easily. But it wasn’t the same as drawing on the full sheet.

There is also a difference in how the pencil felt gliding across the paper and there was a bit of difference in the resulting artwork.

Is one better than the other?

No. They’re just different. But one will definitely suit certain methods better than the other.

For example, I do a lot of layering and blending by drawing one color over another with light to medium pressure. But, I like deep color and full saturation (no paper color showing through the colored pencil.) For me, the full sheets definitely provide a better surface.

But as I mentioned above, developing full saturation with no paper showing through the colored pencil was easy on both papers. It was just a bit easier on the full sheet sample.


If you enjoy drawing on Stonehenge paper, but prefer paper in pads, I think you’ll find Stonehenge in pads to be an acceptable alternative to Stonehenge in the full sheet.

However, if you want paper that feels exactly like Stonehenge full sheets and that is available in pads, I recommend Stonehenge Aqua 140lb hot press paper. This is a watercolor paper that looks and feels just like the original Stonehenge (in my opinion.) You can use it with dry color as well as watercolor pencils and watercolor. If there’s a disadvantage, it’s that this paper is available only in white. Look for “blocks” instead of pads.

Read my review of Stonehenge Aqua for more information.

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    1. Gail,

      Thank you and you’re welcome.

      I wouldn’t have thought there was any difference either, except I heard other artists talking about it. So I decided to find out for myself. Of all the papers I use, this is the only one with a little bit of difference between the full sheets and the pads.

  1. thank you, Carrie! i think next time will buy the full sheets, since my own preference is not quite slick & my padded Stonehenge is slightly too textured for my taste
    Hey! i can foresee endless column fodder here for you! What about a similar article with MiTientes? Various Stirns whatever papers, the Greek lettered ones?

    1. Valerie,

      I prefer the full sheets, too. What’s more, I much prefer the older versions of Stonehenge (when there was only white) to the current paper. There isn’t much difference, but there is some.

      I use Canson Mi-Teintes in pads and full sheets and there is no difference in them.

      I also use Pastelmat in pads and full sheets and there’s no difference.

      So for now, Stonehenge is the only one I’ve used with this kind of difference between pads and full sheets.

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