Stonehenge Aqua- Hotpress, Coldpress, and Black Review

If you're on the market for a very affordable cottonrag paper that's available at a wide array of places, Stonehenge's Aqua might be the perfect paper for you.   Legion Paper makes a variety of interesting papers, from printmaking papers to drawing papers to Yupo, a polypropylene 'paper' that plays well with loose alcohol ink techniques.  A few years ago, Legion also started manufacturing watercolor papers- specifically Stonehenge Aqua, available in Coldpress and Hotpress.

You have a few more options beyond Hot and Cold though.  You can get Stonehenge Aqua in 300lb and 140lb, in 'blocks' (bound only on two sides with inexpensive adhesive), pads, or sheets, and you can even get it in Black (keep reading for my Kitchen Sink review of Stonehenge Aqua Black!)

And shoot, Legion makes it easy to try out their papers- they offer cute lil mini pads in singles or packs.

Although I'd known about Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress and Coldpress for awhile due to Artsnacks samples, I'd blown them off until Kabocha convinced me to give them an earnest, full size try.

Stonehenge Aqua- 9"x12" Block, 140lb

Coldpress- Size not available on Amazon, $18.15 on Blick

Hotpress-$20.79 on Amazon, Size not available on Blick

Black- $23.13 on Amazon, $17.99 on Blick

Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress Vs Coldpress:

Stonehenge Hotpress Demonstration

Illustration on Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress watercolor paper

  • Affordable
  • Great if you're impatient and don't want to use too many washes or layers
  • Dries fairly fast
  • Smooth texture may be easier to control
  • For a hotpress, can take a lot of water well, but really shines with drier applications
  • A good paper for watercolor illustration

*Kabocha's Favorite
  • Great for Inking

  • While it can handle a lot of water well, a coldpress it is not.  Sedimenting pigments may look 'dirty' on hotpress, as there's no valleys to fall into
  • May dry too fast for wet into wet techniques to work the way they would on coldpress


It's biggest flaw, to me, is that it's not a coldpress, but as a hotpress, it's amazing.   When I recommend a hotpress paper- this is the one!

Stonehenge Coldpress Demonstration:

Illustration on Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress

  • Affordable
  • A good paper for watercolor illustration
  • Likes water and wet into wet applications
  • Study
  • Takes ink well
*Becca's Favorite

  • Sometimes has a mind of it's own.
  • A more textured coldpress than some (I like this)

I actually paint on Stonehenge Coldpress pretty frequently now, as it's an economical alternative.  It is definitely NOT Arches, and has a mind of it's own, so I wouldn't recommend this as an Arches dupe.    That's not to say it's a finicky paper- but it seems to have less sizing than Arches, and may get kinda pulpy or reminiscent of painting on fabric.  I don't find these issues to be too prevalent, just something I keep in mind when I'm painting.

A note about the 'blocks':

These blocks are bound using adhesive on two sides-if you like to work really wet, I recommend you remove the paper from the block and restretch before painting.

Stonehenge Aqua Black- Kitchen Sink Review:

Metallic watercolor illustration on Stonehenge

  • Opaque and metallic watercolor and gouache are gorgeous on this paper
  • Dye is fast- will not bleed or reactivate
  • Cottonrag- fairly uncommon with colored watercolor papers

  • This paper seems a bit softer than the white Stonehenge Aqua, and is less welcoming to mixed media applications
  • POSCA markers eat this paper up

A decent paper with limited use, but economical enough to have around just for fun.


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