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Old 08-04-2011, 04:04 AM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Thank you, Debby, Aiylah, for your comments.

I was doing this sketch on a whim when listening to Owl City's Enchanted and then remembered on this Stillman Epsilon book, I couldn't do watercolor wash. Sigh. So after I did all the pen work, I used pan pastels and then put fixative on it so it doesn't smear as badly. The surface is very good for fountain pen and very erasable for pan pastels. A good match in general for this paper.


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Old 08-04-2011, 10:27 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Super sketch. Nice save with the pastels instead of water color.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:27 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Thank you, Debby.

I got a packet of 24 Prismacolor Artstik finally and had to test it out of course.

On Stillman Epsilon Sketchbook

Just a doodle to test out how the stik handles with thinner wash and then more layers. Left background is Prisma Artstik and right background is Koh I Noor Woodless Progresso colored pencils.

The artstik is definitely the way to go for large backgrounds. It's very hard to pin down details even if you do it with the sharp tip of the square stiks. You just can't see where you are going with it. But the colors are rich. Much richer than Koh I Noor and much softer. Koh I Noor frustrates me because the pigment is not there. Having said that, I'd grab it so often because it has a good tip and I could really do details and large color spread at the same time. Only that when it comes to large spread, I need many layers to get the color going. The good thing is that it's clay based and I don't have to worry about wax bloom. It still dissolves in thinner but not as well as Prisma. So, short of taking a 120 pc set of Prisma when I travel, these two sets could complement each other, and a set of Lyra of back up colors.



This image was done at the back of "You can follow me" pencil nude piece on Stillman Epsilon and on the opposite page of that pan pastel page that I sprayed with final fixative.

I am totally impressed that this Grumbacher final fixative really fixed it after two coats. Nothing went onto this facing page.

So everyone, take note. You could use thin layers of pastels on your Epsilon and still get away with it on the preceding page.




I colored my Southwest Challenge piece with the Artstik here and it's still on Stillman Epsilon.

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Old 08-06-2011, 08:26 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Great, great information. The color added to the last one really makes it pop.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:31 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Michael from Stillman & Birn sent me a couple of the 9x12 inch Alpha sketchbooks and I have to try them out.

This is in response to the July Creature Feature Challenge which I am really late but it doesn't matter. I had fun! I am supposed to design a Gryphon or Griffin or any creature that is half bird half feline.

I spent over 5 hours on this page.

I chose Stillman Alpha for this one because I knew I have to transfer my sketch and the Delta would be too heavy to see through and the Epsilon couldn't take moisture.

Even though he gave me one spiral bound and one hardbound, technically, it's easier to use a lightbox with the spiral bound but I do have a love for hardbound too and I have to give it a try in any case.

Because it's a very simple design that takes only a minute or two on the corner of the page, it's no great pain to hold down the hardbound cover for a bit to trace it.

So here is my first sketch.



Oops, the wings were too small. They couldn't possibly lift up this lynx like creature.

Then my dilemma came. They want a bird and these wings are more bat like and a bat is a reptile. A lively discussion ensued among my boys and me. Yes, you could. No you can't. Yes, you could, it's art. But it's not following the guidelines.

In the end, I went ahead with my bat structured reptile wings without feathers.




Then reduced in side, I transfered and trace.

I must have put in 7 layers of watercolor on this one.

This is also the first time I used masking fluid for the creature and am at a loss as to how to finish all the uneven edges.

Added Caran D'Ache Luminance colored pencil to the creature. Voila.

A very nice opening page for my hardbound sketchbook now.

Thanks, Michael, for the big size version. It's so much easier to design on bigger space.

You could see pencil marks at the background. It was supposed to be a French castle of some sort but in the end, I went with the flow of the watercolor.

This Alpha is really sturdy. So many layers of watercolor and it's still in good shape. Not a single incident of pilling!! And when I do the colored pencil on less than 100% dry paper, it still keeps intact.





In truth, I don't know why I keep drawing strange creatures. I'm not even good at them. I don't even watch those cartoons or monster movies or seek them out in manga. I really just want to do somber backgrounds of dark deep colors and invariably, one has to put something strange in it. I have yet to study monster constructions.
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Last edited by gakinme : 08-06-2011 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:10 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

I have mentioned to Michael that I won't use the Delta for soft pastels because it would really waste the paper. But today, I have to go back on my words.

This originally started as Golden Fluid Acrylics but no matter what I did, it just didn't work.

So I whipped out my Pan Pastels and Terry Ludwig soft pastels to do this piece from the Landscape August Challenge here.

The details are done with Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastels. The surface was very sturdy and I sprayed it with final fixative and did one more layer for whites. I'm smiling at the moment. It works.

Stillman Delta 6x8 inch rough surface Ivory

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Last edited by gakinme : 08-06-2011 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:22 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Sandra,
Thanks so much for putting these books through these tough testing procedures and sharing your resourceful solutions such as the Grumbacher fixative spray.
Michael
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:26 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Thank you, Michael, for sending the sketchbooks to me.

These couple of days, I'm more and more focused on doing Prismacolor pencils and I want to show these two pieces.

Here's a piece with Prismacolor pencil and a Derwent Drawing pencil chocolate color, and the yellow is Prismacolor Artstik.

Stillman Epsilon Sketchbook



This one is Prismacolor pencils on Stillman Epsilon sketchbook.

I know why I like this paper so much for colored pencils. It's very easy to erase and there's no smudging of the pigment. Compared to the second piece with only a Prismacolor Black Cherry on Pentalic Sketchbook, Stillman Epsilon is such a breeze. The Pentalic has a rougher texture and every time I lift , drag, or use an electric eraser, it turned pink. In the end, I used a paper towel and smudged it all over after I corrected the eyes a hundred times. If I had done it on Stillman, I wouldn't have had this problem.



Pentalic Sketchbook 70 lb 5.5 x 8 inch
Prismcolor pencil black grape

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Old 08-07-2011, 09:44 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

I like the griffon. Keep those experiments coming, they are very informative.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:36 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Thank you, Debby.

I did one drawing on Stillman Alpha 9x12 hardbound today. This is definitely multi media.

This piece is based on this Rembrandt piece here.

I could have done this in soft pastels but the staircase details and bricks are very difficult to do with dusty stuff. Plus I'm really tired of dust flying everywhere.


So here was the first pass. I didn't sketch it first but laid down approximate patches of colors. Then I used Derwent watercolor pencil to sketch outlines later knowing if it's the wrong place, I could wash it off.


There are many times when I use dark colors, I couldn't see my own pencil lines and so I'm doing it in different order now.


So this one already has some outlines washed with a super thin brush.






I couldn't get the wall black even after I use Holbein Gouache. So I took the shortcut and used pan pastels for large spread of color at the end.

For ultra details, it's Lyra Polychromos oil based colored pencils. I wanted a pencil that is slightly transparent and highly erasable in case I erred, which is often. Prisma is very stubborn and can't always be completely erased and Faber Castell Polychromos has a very sharp point and might damage the paper if I erase too much. Really dislike Derwent Inktense pencils for details. It's way too soft and nonerasable. Nor do I like Derwent watercolor pencils. Too hard.


Lyra is just soft enough. And by the way, I'm not sure if you are all aware of this. I could wash Lyra's colored pencils with waterbrush. There was a patch that I didn't like above the window so I washed it to merge into the background and it works. It's not water color pencil but if it's a large patch of color, short of taking an electric eraser or kneaded eraser, just wash it a bit especially if you don't mind some residue colors in patterns.


So here's the piece.


Holbein Gouache for the little dino.




Ideally, I want it to look this dark after photoshop.

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Old 08-08-2011, 09:06 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

This is a marvelous step by step of your process. The critter looking out the window is a fun addition.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:26 AM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

This one was done in response to the Watermedia August Challenge - Mandalas.

I've done a few but not on Stillman and today I spent a bit of time designing it.

Stillman Delta 180 lb 6x8 inch sketchbook

I designed everything in pencil lightly on the paper and instead of putting inkwork in first as I always do, I reversed the procedure because I wasn't confident that I could color within the line. I used Daniel Smith masking fluid that came with a fine tip for the eclipse based on some scrapbooking tools.

Then I put Sakura Koi watercolor peach - the only ready made peach I have handy at the moment.

Then I put Yasumoto gray pearlescent watercolor. Big mistake! It obliterated all my pencil lines. LOL.

I added Daniel Smith interference green and tried to lift both but it didn't really help. I can't still see my pencil lines. So when it came to inking it, it's gut feel remembering what I drew earlier on. A test of the anatomy online course that I didn't finish.

Tachiwa holder with G Nib and Kuretake Manga ink.

The G Nib holds so much ink you could se it splat when I applied too much pressure. The worse parts are areas where I have dabbed some water with a paper towel to clean up watercolor spots. I didn't think I would damage the paper by that but I guess I did. It went everywhere so I had to fill it with black grahics.

(Sidenote: Similarly, I also cleaned up Stillman Epsilon sketchbook today with paper towel and water and if you do it lightly in one swipe, it cleans so well. But a second swipe, it will damage the paper. Plate surface is easier to clean and that's why I have a love for it more.)

With the help of a wooden block to support my hand so that it wouldn't smudge the lines under my hand, I inked the rest.

Red strip is a Japanese water based watercolor brush pen because I didn't want my alcohol markers to bleed through. And sure enough, turn the page over there is no see through.

Nevertheless, this is really the last time I would use dip pen for this sketchbook. Unlike Epsilon which could take penwork, my nib keep dragging fibres from the page. Previously, I used fountain pen and it wasn't that bad. But a dip pen nib requires different pressure for various thickness and when I press harder, that's when it failed the dip pen test.

It's a pity because Epsilon couldn't take water and Alpha has slight warping when I use watercolor.

Anyway, tomorrow morning, I'll post a piece that I spent a few hours on today in response to the Fantasy Art challenge. I'm making the best out of Epsilon and you all have to see what I could do with it!!! I think I have overcome the water warping problem on Epsilon.

Anyway, the title for this piece.

"The Prize"

It is something those of us who have hopes and ambitions strive for everyday.

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Old 08-15-2011, 03:26 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Sandra,

Wow, this is really impressive work. Incredible line control -- great idea using the wood block for support. I can understand that Delta's rough vellum surface would fight the very fine Tachikawa G nib. Some artists have reported good results with pen and ink wash on Delta, but this very fine nib is not going to work well on Delta's toothy surface.

We very much appreciate your pushing the limits of Delta's tolerances and showing it in this challenging and beautiful multi-media application.

Michael
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:42 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

You are welcome, Michael. I have another piece but this forum is not giving me access to post.

It blocks all photos and long explanations and links.

I have so much to tell what went right for Epsilon it's driving me crazy.

Let me try bit by bit.

Because of the above problem of pen work on Stillman Delta, I refuse to give up on Epsilon to this day. I just enjoy a smooth surface so much more when it comes to drawing and so I persisted and it paid off yesterday. I spent almost 4 hours on this piece.



This is in response to Creature Feature August challenge here to draw a Starweird.

Stillman Epsilon 7x10 inch

I spent a lot of time on. It was on a page of failed skeleton of Prismacolor Artstik and so I put more color with the Artsik to cover the page and I washed it with thinner and then added lots more Prismacolor pencil color work in it. At this stage it was a lot of swirls from the stiff bristle of the brush and I start to see images and improvise. I almost got the full picture but the color intensity is not there yet in the background.

When dried, I sprayed workable fixative on it and took a gamble. I have to put watercolor in.
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Last edited by gakinme : 08-15-2011 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:06 PM
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Re: Fantasy with Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

And it worked!!! The fixative at first sort of displaces the water but then it sinked it and it didn't warp at all.

I was ecstatic!!! I put in 2 layers for the background.

Still, I needed to accentuate the grooves so lightly I took Prismacolor pencil to darken. But it didn't work. The hair too wasn't very bright.When all else fails, use Caran D'ache Luminance colored pencil. The only one that could layer and layer. Because the paper doesn't have more grip and I was too lazy to spary another coat of fixative, I took Luminance and it worked. The white got whiter and the purple got darker. Voila!

The many times I baby this Epsilon book It's similar to loving French Fries so much but I don't have ketchup and have to make do with barbecue sauce. Can't let go of it.

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