Review: Testing 11 paper samples from Legion Paper

Legion Paper is a company started in New York in 1994. For a paper making company, that's actually quite young. But when I saw the variety of paper they make, I was blown away.

This box set that I bought is a limited edition set created to raise money for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. All proceeds will go to the fund.

The limited edition box has 11 types of paper as samples. So it's a good opportunity for me to test out some of their paper.

The paper pads in the box were small. 2.5 by 3.5 inches only. There's another box set that sells the 9 x 12 inch paper pads but that was promptly sold out so I had to get the box with the small pads instead.

The pads in the box were

  1. Yupo Translucent
  2. Yupo Medium
  3. Yupo Heavy
  4. Stonehenge Light
  5. Stonehenge White
  6. Stonehenge Warm White
  7. Stonehenge Colors
  8. Stonehenge Kraft
  9. Lenox Cotton
  10. Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress
  11. Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress

Let's go through the papers one by one.


Yupo is a paper that I've never seen or used people. It's such an unique paper.

The paper is made of synthetic (polypropylene) substrate with non-porous surface that repels water. It is bright white and very smooth. The material is like matte plastic cut into really thin sheets.

Because the surface repels water, this paper is not suitable for use with ink and water-based media and watercolour.

YUPO gives visual artists an amazingly beautiful canvas to work with. Its bright white, smooth finish gives artists the flexibility to work in several different mediums to achieve unique and creative results.

Here I've used graphite, coloured pencils and alcohol markers (Copic).

I'm quite surprised that it can handle graphic because it's so smooth. But it certainly cannot handle layers well because the paper has no tooth to get grab onto more pigment.

For the coloured pencils, I applied yellow first, followed by red over the yellow. The red wasn't able to layer on top of the yellow which I found really interesting. The texture on the paper just cannot take on more than one layer of coloured pencils.

As for alcohol markers, they draw a bit more slowly compared to using them on normal cartridge paper. It's also very difficult to blend the markers because the paper does not absorb the ink so you cannot layer another layer of ink. When you try to blend the different shades of marker inks, they just mix together.

The first coloured swatch was created with Caran d Ache Neocolor, the oil wax pastel. Surprisingly, I was able to add another layer over the first. I think this has got to do with the texture created by the pastel rather than the non-existent texture on the paper.

You can certainly use pen and ink on Yupo paper, but because it repels water and liquids, the ink is not going to dry. And if ink does not dry, they are going to smudge when you accidentally run your fingers or palm over them.

The wetter the media, the more likely it's going to not dry.

This is how watercolour looks like on Yupo paper. The colours look really weak because the paper does not absorb water and the wash is really thin. I had to dry the watercolour using some hot air (from my computer), but even so, some parts are still quite sticky.

This was what happened when I wiped it with some wet tissue. You can clean away almost all the paint. The paper can look as good as new.

Yupo paper is really an interesting paper. I'm not sure what it's good for.

And if you want to make your drawing permanent on Yupo, you have to use fixative. But before you use fixative, do test your fixative and your media on some scrap paper first to make sure there aren't any surprises, e.g. like ink breaking up.

Yupo Translucent and Medium

Both Yupo Translucent and Medium perform similarly to Yupo Heavy with the only difference being the paper weight. Yupo transparent is 153gsm, Medium is 200gsm and Heavy is 390gsm.

Stonehenge Kraft

This is paper inspired by paper grocery bags. I must admit I was amused by they describe the paper.

This paper is 100% cotton, That's a surprise because I don't really see brown-coloured cotton paper often. It's quite thick at 250gsm.

Some people like to use toned paper for drawing because you can add highlights and shadows easily. You can do that here with Stonehenge Kraft but note that the paper is thick, so you can certainly draw on it, but I'm not sure if it would be the most appropriate paper to draw on. It seems like it's more suitable for use as a mixed media paper.

Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress

Stonehenge Aqua is 300gsm 100% cotton watercolour paper. This paper has a rougher surface compared to all other paper in box set. By coldpress standards, it's has the usual level of roughness. The pattern is not discernible so that's good.

When graphite and coloured pencils are used on it, they are not able to cover the white of the paper because of the rough texture.

With brush pen, you also get the rough edges easily.

As a watercolour paper, it works fine. There's nothing too good or bad that I can talk about. I only used the paper that I have to create colour swatches so I can't say much. I need to get larger sheets to really test them out.

From what I can see so far, the colours can spread better compared to non-watercolour paper, such as the Stonehenge drawing paper.

Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress

The Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress version features smoother paper texture. It's still 300gsm 100% cotton paper we're talking about so it's durable for multiple layers of watercolour.

When you draw on it with pencil, ink, brush pens and crayon, it feels exactly the same as drawing on Stonehenge non-watercolour paper. So in this aspect, you're not really taking advantage of the watercolour paper. Because the paper is thick, you can also use mixed media on it.

Stonehenge Light

In the Stonehenge series of paper, there are many types of paper that differ by paper weight and colour of the paper. But in general, they are meant for drawing, mostly for draw media work.

Stonehenge Light features 135gsm 100% cotton paper. It's quite thin and functions as typical cartridge paper.

You can use light washes on the paper and the water will not bleed through, but because the paper is so thick, it's going to buckle when it's wet. The 100% cotton does make the paper feel durable, but because the paper is thin, it's best not to apply too many layers of paint on it.

The paper is not the best paper for watercolour although it can take light washes. With paper like this, watercolour paints typically do not spread well. Meaning, it's not easy if you want to paint a nice gradated wash.

Stonehenge Warm White

Stonehenge Warm White, as the name implies, has paper that is off-white. There's a slight warm tone to it. You could also say that it has a cream-like colour on it. The paper is 250gsm, and it's 100% cotton.

For drawing performance, it performs very similarly to Stonehenge Light.

Stonehenge White

This is similar to Stonehenge Light except it's available in 135gsm and 250gsm. It's still a 100% cotton paper.

Stonehenge Colors

Stonehenge Colors is like the other Stonehenge drawing paper but comes with various colours in the pad. The colours are mostly light colours.

Stonehenge Lenox Cotton

Lenox Cotton is an interesting paper. By now, you may have noticed that all the paper mentioned above are all 100% cotton paper. Lenox is also a 100% cotton paper at 250gsm.

This paper is slightly more textured than Stonehenge Light, Warm White. So it's more like light-medium grain paper texture.

The interesting thing about this paper is when you use it with watercolour. It's like the paper is quite dry. It will soak in the watercolour and still show some white of the paper. The extra whiteness makes the colours less vibrant compared to watercolour paper. I've used some other watercolour paper before that are as dry and I don't like them.

Lenox Cotton will probably work better has mixed media paper.

Larger pictures

You can click on these images to see a larger view.

Top row left to right: Yupo Translucent, Yupo Medium, Yupo Heavy, Stonehenge Kraft, Lenox Cotton.
Bottom row left to right: Stonehenge Light, White, Warm White, Colors, Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress, Stonehenge Aqua Hotpress


I like that Legion Paper has so many variety of paper you can choose from, so regardless of what media you use, there's probably the best type of paper for your usage.

I'll probably buy some of the large sheets or pads to try out in greater detail in the future. As of right now, I can say that the papers in this box set are all quality paper, you just need to pick one for the media that you use.

You can find Legion Paper on Amazon US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES. It's also available on other Amazon branches but Amazon USA has the best price since the company is from USA.



Thanks for this comprehensive

Thanks for this comprehensive testing and review of this wide range of papers! That Yupo paper is so strange, but I did find one use for it: sketching in the rain! :-) I'm not kidding. If you use soft graphite pencil (like 8B), it flows beautifully on the Yupo, even if the paper is already wet. And if more rain falls on it, it won't smear at all. Then just go indoors, leave the page open to dry, and it will eventually dry completely, just like new -- no ripples or buckling at all. Try it next time you have a rainstorm! ;-)

- Tina

I use Yupo as a portable

I use Yupo as a portable watercolor mixing palette. A small sheet fits inside my little palette. When I am done painting, I just wash it off and use a foam eraser to remove any staining pigment. I've used the same piece of Yupo for three years.

I wish Yupo was not allowed

I wish Yupo was not allowed to be called paper.
Yupo is a sheet of plastic, has nothing to do with paper which has to be a mixture of cellulose fiber (whether they come from trees, shrubs or cotton).
People can use what they want but I bet a lot of people see the word paper and don't realize they're working on something that will last hundreds of years in a landfill.

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