14 September 2016

new journal, first pages

I still have one more un-used hand-bound journal on my shelf, but this time I decided to use this Epsilon sketchbook from Stillman & Birn that a dear friend gave to me. The paper is made more for ink than watercolor, but light not-too-juicy washes work well on it. And my fountain pens simply glide over the smooth paper!

Every one of Stillman & Birn products are a dream to use, and the binding lasts no matter how rough I get with it.

As always, I drew my current sketching palette on the first page. Actually, this is the second 2-page spread -- I left the inside covers blank for collecting random quotes. Lately I have been carrying a larger purse than my norm, allowing me to carry a full-size sketchbook and this pocket art toolkit from Expeditionary Art inside the bag. Smaller bags only hold my tools and I carry the book separately. 

In the kit are two fountain pens (one with water-resistant ink and one with water-soluble ink), a waterbrush, two travel brushes (a #8 round and a dagger), a mechanical pencil and tiny case holding a kneaded eraser, a tiny stencil brush for spattering, a shortened white pencil, a shortened blue-gray watercolor pencil, a re-usable towel for wiping, and two pocket palettes, also from Expeditionary Art. I can switch out either of these palettes with a third one: one holds a basic warm/cool limited palette, one holds granulating earth colors, and one holds gouache. Not shown is a 4th set I made myself using a business card case that holds a basic palette of 14 paints.

Just after putting together my pocket palette set of granulating earth colors, Jane Blundell posted one she put together . . . so I had a bit of fun comparing our sets side-by-side. I have a set of Daniel Smith color dots that I used for the colors she uses that I don't own. She also recently put together a set for urban sketching along with some suggested options, so I added that just for fun.

I think I am done trying to post using my camera and computer. Overnight, the editing program used to adjust for bad lighting, crop photos, etc. changed yet again. The new format is not as user-friendly for me; my iPad is much easier and I can use it anywhere wi-fi is available.


  1. I love starting a new sketchbook! I may have to put a Stillman & Birn on my wishlist for birthday or Christmas. I have never tried one but hear a lot about them on FB. Which one do you recommend? I am primarily a graphite artist but want to start doing more watercolor sketches.

  2. For graphite or ink, the Alpha and Epsilon are best (Alpha having a brighter white paper). For watercolor, the Beta and Delta are best, being heavier (Beta paper is brighter white). The Zeta is for mixed media, sort of an all-purpose paper. Watercolor works on all of them but the heavier paper books can handle juicier wet-in-wet watercolor; the lighter weight papers could buckle a bit.


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