Artist’s love new things. New pencils. New equipment. Yes, even new paper. Maybe especially new paper. The latest paper on my list is a watercolor paper from Legion. This is my Stonehenge Aqua 140lb Hot Press Paper review.
Legion offers trial samples of all their papers, so if you’re thinking about trying something, this is a great opportunity. I got free samples of Stonehenge Aqua a few weeks ago. They’re now 99 cents, but that’s still a great price.
I received three 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of paper: one each of 140lb hot press, 140lb cold press, and 300lb cold press. They were packaged in a clear, resealable envelope from Clear Bags, a company I’ve used for packaging artwork. The packaging is ideal for storage, too, so the paper I haven’t yet used will stay crisp and clean.
The samples arrived in a large, cardboard envelope sent by regular mail, so they arrived undamaged. Crisp and clean and unbent.
Stonehenge Aqua 140 Hot Press Paper Review
If drawing paper can be beautiful, this is. The texture is wonderful. The 140lb hot press looks and feels almost identical to traditional Stonehenge. Since I wasn’t sure what to expect, this was a delightful discovery. (The other two sheets were also lovely. I plan to try one with water soluble media and one with solvent blending.)
The hot press also performs much like traditional Stonehenge for dry mediums. I used colored pencils on it without the use of solvents and had good results. I also tried water soluble colored pencils, with equally good results.
The jury is still out on using solvent blending (I haven’t yet put it to the test,) but I believe Stonehenge Aqua 140lb hot press paper would also perform with solvent blending.
What I Like about Stonehenge Aqua 140lb Hot Press Paper
Looks and feels like traditional Stonehenge 90lb paper
In fact, I placed a sheet of Stonehenge paper and Stonehenge Aqua 140lb hot press paper side by side. Other than the thickness of the Aqua, it was very difficult to tell them apart just by looking at them.
Pencils behave much the same on each, so if you like the way your pencils feel when you draw on regular Stonehenge, chances are you’ll like the way they feel when you draw on Stonehenge Aqua 140lb hot press.
Works very well with dry media
As already mentioned, drawing on this paper was a delight. Both wax-based and oil-based pencils colored well, with even color down and excellent blending.
My test with wax-based pencils produced solid color faster, but that’s not unexpected. Wax-based pencils are usually softer than oil-based pencils, so they lay down color more easily on almost any kind of paper.
But the oil-based pencils also layered well.
In the following illustration, the large flower was drawn with a combination of Faber-Castell Polychromos (oil-based) and Prismacolor Premier (wax-based.)
The smaller flower was drawn only with Prismacolor.
The large flower is finished; the small one is not.
Those two dark shapes are areas where I layered and burnished. Color saturation is so rich and deep, you’d have to use a magnifying glass to find places where the paper shows through after burnishing.
Works very well with wet media
Since Stonehenge Aqua is a watercolor paper, I had to try it with water soluble colored pencils. I used Faber-Castell Art Grip Aquarelle pencils. Not the best water soluble colored pencils available, but useful.
But as you can see here, the results are still good. I applied color dry, then activated it with a damp brush and finished it with dry color. Would the results have been better with an artist grade water soluble pencil? Probably, but I was still quite pleased.
This is just a couple of layers of color drawn on dry, then activated with water. I drew one layer on the inner portion of the bottom petals, then pulled wet color into the outer portions.
The shadow represents two or three layers of color activated with water, then drawn over again with dry pencils.
Both sides of this paper are excellent for drawing. It’s also heavy enough that if you mess up one side of the paper, you should be able to start over on the back.
At least for dry drawing. You can use water to activate water soluble colored pencil when you draw on the back, but if you do more than one stroke with a wet brush, you will lift color. That can make for some interesting results, but it also makes for a good deal of frustration! Stay tuned for a tutorial on that drawing.
What I Don’t Like About Stonehenge Aqua 140lb Hot Press Paper
At present, I have nothing negative to say about the paper. I wasn’t happy my first drawing, but that had more to do with color choices and my first time drawing a flower, as I mentioned at the end of the tutorial on drawing complex flowers.
The paper performed to expectation.
I did prefer working on it dry, but that reflects more experience with dry media than with wet. I’m currently working on a small landscape using water soluble colored pencils, and it’s coming along quite well.
The only other thing I have to complain about is that I used up most of the sheet for my experiments!
Should you try Stonehenge Aqua 140lb hot press paper? Yes. It’s almost always worth your time to try new papers.
It’s my opinion that if you like regular Stonehenge, you’ll like this paper. Not only will it be able to do everything regular Stonehenge can do; it will allow you to do much more.
If all you do is buy the sample set, it will be well worth your time and money.