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  #151   Report Bad Post  
Old 03-12-2012, 04:50 PM
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DrDebby DrDebby is offline
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

This is a mini review for the Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook.

I have a Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook I've been using for my Imaginary Trip to the Beach class. I was sketching some birds with my fountain pen (an eyedropper converted Preppy) with Noodler's Brown #41. I had, unbeknowst to me, slightly unscrewed the body when I pulled the cap off and it started leaking. Big blotches of brown ink, on me and the sketchbook. I grabbed my paper towel from using watercolor and wiped off me and the pen (discovering the operator error). When I got back from cleaning everything at the sink, I blotted the puddles with another paper towel. There was no bleed through to the other side of the page! I was figuring I'd have brown splots on the back of that page and maybe the next page since I'd let it just sit there while I cleaned everything else up. Good paper in those sketchbooks.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:36 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Thank you Dr. Debby for your comment. It actually doesn't suprise me that the extra heavy weight Beta Series wouldn't bleed through. But I wanted to try the same mishap on the lower weight Alpha Series. So I spilled some ink on one side of an Alpha sheet, let it sit for two minutes, then wiped off the mess with a paper towel. Interestingly, the reverse side of the Alpha showed no bleed through either.
Michael
ink splatter.pdf
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  #153   Report Bad Post  
Old 03-12-2012, 10:39 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Cool!
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:38 AM
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JamieWG JamieWG is offline
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

I see on their Facebook page that Stillman & Birn now has official paper sample packets available for those who want to check out the different papers! Here's a link.

Jamie
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:23 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Thanks Jamie. They will even send the samples out to Australia, yeah. Michael was that a little hint that the books will be available out here soon too? I hope so, am keen to get my hands on one. Hopefully they aren't double the price just because they are imported like so many other things.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:59 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Kamie, Thanks for the link; I sent for my sample!
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:28 AM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

I've been working in all the S&B's, trying them out here and am really impressed.

I especially love the Beta and Delta heavy paper - it's bombproof! no leak through, minimal buckling with very wet, repeated washes - otherwise no buckling at all. It's a lovely surface to work on, I'm working my way through various media on that link. These would be my books of choice.

The Epsilon plate finish is great for line/dry drawing/ink line but also tolerates washes well. For wet media the Beta and Delta retain more glow.

The Alpha and Gamma are great workhorses with heavy paper that tolerates any medium I've yet thrown at it

I really like square sketchbooks and do like ivory/cream paper - so it has all that covered with its choice of natural white or a warmer ivory colour and the choice of weight and paper type.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:39 PM
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Paperblanks journals revisited

In a complete contrast to the heavy-duty S&Bs, I bought a Paperblanks journal this weekend. I was looking for a compact, lightweight book that I could use for quicky pencil sketching, with thin paper and lots of pages. I have my watercolor books for more elaborate drawings, but I've been looking for a book to use when getting out my travel kit and watercolors really wouldn't be feasible.

While I was looking at likely candidates at the store, I opened a Paperblanks book. I hadn't used one for years -- I never really liked the paper much. But this stuff felt different under my fingers and I got curious if the company had made changes. I whipped out my iPhone and looked up reviews of Paperblanks to get more information. (Ain't technology great?) I found an recent article in the Paperblanks blog that described the company's recent commitment to fountain pen-friendly paper. I was intrigued and bought the book.

When I got home and tested the book, I was absolutely stunned. The paper -has- changed. It is thin as Moleskinne, but smooth and opaque. The surface feels a little velvety and has nice feedback when you write. I did tests with fountain pens, brush pens, and watercolors, and the paper came through with flying colors. No feathering, no bleedthrough, and almost no showthrough for ANYTHING I tried, including juicy brushpens and multiple watercolor washes.

It is really impressive. I wouldn't use this journal for full-page watercolor washes or multimedia collages -- it's not a Stillman & Burn. But for a pocket sketchbook or a writing journal, I really recommend it. I actually prefer it to my Rhodia webbie, because the thinner paper feels more appropriate to a book of its size.

I posted some photos of the test pages if you're curious:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbansp...7629728430464/

In particular, check out the heavy inkwork page (http://flic.kr/p/bY4uKE) and its verso. (http://flic.kr/p/bY4vEQ)
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:42 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Thanks for the review. Great testing and information.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:09 AM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Elaine, forget the pages... I LOVE the cover you picked! Seriously, that's an interesting discovery, because I have an old Paperblanks that doesn't perform the way you describe. I might have to get a new one (if only for the gorgeous cover!).
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:41 AM
urbanspinner urbanspinner is offline
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Yeah, the cover was why I picked it up in the first place. "Why do Paperblanks have such sucky paper when the covers are so great?" "Oh wait, this paper is different." "Huh, it looks nice." ...
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:30 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

WOW I got my sample packet from Stillman & Birn today, beautiful stuff! AND Michael included a note apologizing for the delay in my request... (as if I would complain about a delay for a free sample) so he included a 5.5x8.5 Gamma sketchbook!!!!!!!

Some great paper company, eh? It is a gorgeous hardbound book with fab-oo heavy ivory paper. I am going to love it. Now I need a "theme" to honor such a nice book.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:37 PM
Hoplite Hoplite is offline
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

I was looking for a journal that had paper that could stand up to watercolor and ink washes, so 300 g/m2 (or gsm if you prefer). They seemed to be extremely rare, and all were cold pressed, so a little rougher than I wanted (for pen and colored pencils). Then I found Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal 300 g/m2. This stuff doesn't seem to exist - Strathmore's site won't even yield it on a search (stm 460-79 for the 9x12). Haven't had a chance to use it, but it's a vellum surface - seems a little smoother and whiter than their Mixed Media pads.

What I didn't like was that the cover - while stiff and protecting, is cut flush with the pages, which means it won't protect as well as one that slightly overhangs.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:25 PM
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Blick has all the Visual Journals, including Bristol smooth for ink. Check 'em out.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:20 AM
Hoplite Hoplite is offline
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Re: Sketch Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by CandAlArt
Blick has all the Visual Journals, including Bristol smooth for ink. Check 'em out.

Well, there's one they don't have (yet, at least). Not to mention the local Blick's doesn't have any.
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