Nostalgie paper is 190gsm very smooth white paper (no cotton content) which is similar to Stillman and Birn Epsilon and Zeta (in fact it’s midway in weight between the two). Here is a photo comparing the surface with the Hahnemuhle Watercolour book – note: the paper is whiter than it appears in this photo.
After struggling with using my fountain pens in the 100% cold press paper in the Etchr sketchbook (the last book I used) it was a real shock to use paper which was so smooth and easy to use with pen. The ink just glided over the surface – it’s gorgeous! The funny thing is that the ink flowed so well, that I found the medium gold nib in my Lamy White Joy flowed too much and created too thick a line. So I actually started drawing with a different Joy with a finer nib so I had more control.
I did some rough sketches using watercolour pencils as part of my teaching pages for my Sketching Architecture workshop and these worked out fine, although paper with little more tooth on the surface is is generally better for pencil work. BTW this is an exclusive look at one of my handout pages from my local workshops and shows the type of things I explain in detail in SketchingNow Buildings (2020 Group Run Through starting 15 Jan).
One of the things which is really nice about this smooth paper is that my sketches felt more slick and almost felt printed. I’ve really enjoyed flipping through my pages in this book. Impossible to show in an image, but it’s gorgeous to flip through and I just love the smoothness of the paper.
The one thing that was difficult for me was the size of the book. I would not normally choose to use an A4 landscape book as a everyday sketchbook. But Hahnemuehle sketchbooks are SO incredibly difficult to find in Australia that when I found this book (old stock) I bought it immediately. I’m used to using 150gsm paper for my everyday sketchbooks so the heavier weight felt a little more precious and this prevented me on some occasions from attempting a super quick rough sketch.
This was particularly the case when it came to drawing people (which I haven’t done much lately anyway.) It wasn’t until the last few days that I pushed through this crazy mental barrier and tried a few people sketches. I was surprised by how nice the Nostalgie paper was for my quick rough people sketches and I was getting some really fun textured effects. I’m totally kicking myself now that I didn’t try sketching people in this book sooner.
I normally struggle using A4 landscape for everyday sketching. When I come home from my big trips I have often tried to finish up my moleskine book with ‘back home’ sketches. But I normally abandon it as it’s just too big and hard to fill up with boring everyday sketches. Plus it is a little heavy to carry around everywhere.
Finally, here are some sketches to show the watercolour textures and wet-in-wet results I achieved on this paper. (click on images to view larger)
Summary: If you want to achieve smooth watercolour washes and work in a more traditional way this book might not be the best option. However, if drawing in ink is important to you and you’re happy with some fun watercolour textures and unexpected results, then I recommend that you consider trying this sketchbook for something different. I do believe that mixing up the paper you use is really good for your art.
I REALLY loved using Nostalgie and I’m excited that two weeks ago I discovered that Parkers in The Rocks had some stock. So I bought a A5 portrait version and I can’t wait to try it. I also want to revisit Stillman and Birn Epsilon and Zeta so that I can make a more informed report on any differences. It will never become my standard go-to everyday sketchbook, but for a bit of variety it is perfect.
And, I have to also prepare a review on the Hahnemuhle Watercolour sketchbook which I have also used recently… and spoiler alert – I loved that book too. So stay tuned…
Have you used Nostalgie? I would love to hear what you thought about it. Also, please let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions about the book.