10 June 2014

beginning a new sketchbook

I recently finished filling my latest art journal and needed a new one. I have some new signatures partially sewn together for handbound ones but no covers made yet.

So I chose to buy an Alpha series sketchbook made by Stillman & Birn. Summer is a bit hot to tote around a lot of stuff so I decided to go a bit smaller; this sketchbook is 4 x 6" and fits easily in any bag.

Today I sketched a couple of pages, drawing palettes as I usually do on the first pages, to test the paper. I thought that the Alpha would not work as well with wet media as the Beta I've used before --- I was wrong! Fountain pens and brush pens glide smoothly and watercolor works beautifully without wrinkling pages or bleed-through.

Along with a smaller journal, I'm trying to go lighter in what supplies I carry. A tiny palette made from a plastic pill box, a Lamy pen, a tiny mechanical pen & kneaded eraser, a waterbrush, and folded paper towel. I prefer using real brushes like the one on the first page, but when away from home, I don't always want to carry a water supply.

I don't normally carry the 2 brush pens shown, but wished to test them on the paper as well. They might be added to the bag once in a while -- I like using the one with gray ink for shadows. I need to practice a lighter touch with these brush pens though.

Lamy Safari fountain pen with Noodler's Lexington gray ink, Pentel pocketbrush pen, an unknown Pentel brush pen with "soft black" ink that is more gray, and a bit of watercolor in a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook.


  1. Nice to read your experiences with the Alpha. It was the 1st Stillman & Birn I triedand I like it nearly better than some other sketchbooks.

  2. The paper takes ink and watercolor beautifully! It reminds me of Fabriano Soft Press watercolor paper, though lighter in weight. The first Stillman & Birn book I tried (and LOVE!) is the Beta series, which is more like cold-press watercolor paper.


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