Review by Tina Koyama
If you missed Part 1 of my review of the Stonehenge Legion Mini Artist Pad Sampler Set, you might want to start there. Part 1 gives an overview of the whole collection and includes a review of seven papers. Today I’ll cover the remaining papers.
Although six pads in the sample set remain to be tested, it’s complicated. The papers are Yupo Translucent, Yupo Medium, Yupo Heavy, Stonehenge Colors, Stonehenge Kraft, and Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress Black. The pad of Stonehenge Colors, however, includes five tones – Natural, Warm White, Cream, Fawn, and Pearl Gray – so you’ll see tests of a total of 10 papers. To further complicate matters, Natural, Warm White and Cream are fairly close in color, and since the individual colors are not identified in the sample pad, I had to guess based on somewhat ambiguous images found on various retailers’ sites. As if that weren’t enough, the Warm White included in the Colors set is slightly different from the standalone Warm White that I showed in Part 1! Note to Legion: I would have appreciated having the paper names printed directly on the sample sheets.
On one side of most samples, I tested student-grade Van Gogh watercolors, a Winsor & Newton Watercolor Marker, a Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pen, and a Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle pencil. (I placed a small piece of graph paper beneath half the Yupo Translucent sample so that the degree of translucency could be seen.)
On the reverse side, I used a Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen, my Sailor Naginata Fude de Mannen fountain pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo ink, a Staedtler Mars Lumograph H graphite pencil, a Tombow Mono 100 6B graphite pencil, a Caran d’Ache Luminance colored pencil, and a Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencil.
For Aqua Coldpress Black, I picked out some especially opaque media to see how they popped: two colors of Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle pencils, a Sakura Gelly Roll gel pen, a Caran d’Ache Fibralo metallic marker, an East Hill Tombstone white brush pen, a Prismacolor Premier pencil, and Uni Posca Paint Markers. (I didn’t have any gouache paints to test, but I bet they would be cool on both black and Kraft.)
First, some thoughts on Yupo: It’s the weirdest “paper” ever. A synthetic material, Yupo is “recyclable, waterproof and tree-free,” according to Yupo. It’s closer to plastic than paper. The most experience I’ve had with Yupo is the Field Notes Expedition notebook, which I use to sketch in the rain (yes, of course, I do). I usually use a soft graphite pencil, which skates silently on that completely frictionless surface and looks as almost as dark as a Sharpie!
Other materials behave just as surprisingly. Since Yupo doesn’t absorb moisture at all, watercolors and other wet media sit on the surface until they dry, which can take a long time (a few hours for some of my tests). I’ve seen some watercolor painters create fantastic effects by taking advantage of this unique quality. But some materials will never dry, like gel pens, and can be rubbed off months later.
The Pentel brush pen’s pigment ink looks rich and solid. On the other hand, the Koi coloring brush pen looks flat and dull. The most surprising effects came from the two colored pencils I tried. The soft, wax-based Luminance could barely be applied; the pigment felt like it was simply sliding around. The oil-based Polychromos, however, had much better results. The best thing to do with Yupo is to try it with as many media as possible! It will likely surprise you, no matter what you use.
After Yupo stole the drama show, all the other samples behaved exceptionally normal by comparison. Although weights were not given on any of these samples, the Aqua Coldpress Black and Stonehenge Kraft feel like 140 pound. The Colors are lighter (I’m guessing about 90 pound).
The Black Coldpress has a strong tooth similar to its white counterpart (reviewed in Part 1). All the Colors have a much lighter texture that feels the same as the Lenox Cotton and White (Part 1).
Overall, the subtle tooth on the lighter papers (Lenox Cotton, Warm White and White in Part 1; Kraft and Colors in Part 2) is probably what stands out as most distinctive about the Stonehenge Legion collection. It’s smooth enough not to cause problems with fountain pens, but it also has enough tooth to make pencilers happy. At least, this penciler: I’m looking forward to using the 9-by-12-inch pad of White I just bought for a colored pencil class I’ll be taking soon.
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