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Ask an Expert - Forum > Stonehenge Aqua Synthetically Sized

I have been using Stonehenge papers for decades for both drawing and printmaking. I wanted to try Stonehenge Aqua because of how much I enjoy Stonehenge printmaking so I bought a block. After my first watercolor, I was quite disheartened to find that synthetic sizing is being used. I've used Arches for more than fifty years, as I know the company uses gelatin sizing.

Is there any way to get the company to consider the use of gelatin sizing as an option, as another choice?
May 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMark
There are a few reasons that we use synthetic sizing over animal gelatin. The first is that synthetic sizing is a more animal friendly product since there are no animal byproducts used in the manufacturing process. The second is that when using a paper sized with animal gelatin the paper can give off a foul odor and cause skin irritation in some cases.

The third reason is performance. Recent technology has made it where synthetically sized papers outperform papers that are sized with animal gelatin when it comes to lifting, blending and color saturation. Some pigments are more difficult to lift than others and through blind testing we found that the synthetically sized papers did a better job of picking up these delinquent colors than the gelatin sizing.

The reason that Arches performs differently is that it is double sized; meaning that the paper is sized with gelatin during the manufacturing process and the paper is then hit with another round of sizing in a sizing bath. This is why Arches watercolor is more rigid than Stonehenge Aqua.
May 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLegion Paper