Friday, January 1, 2016

Stillman & Birn, be still my heart!

I met with my friend Rhonda Roebuck for coffee a couple weeks ago and was lamenting my inability to find a field sketch book that stood up to the watercolor washes I wanted to do.  I was drooling over the journals she had completed and she recommended Stillman & Birn as her favorite company for sketch books.  Well, I am ashamed to say that I never knew we had some the Crozet Art Box!  I was quick to snag one of the last ones we had which happened to be the Epsilon Natural White Sketch book.  They are a little pricier but her results were so promising I took the plunge.  Boy howdy, what a knock out!!  Firstly, the paper is a nice 150gsm weight.  I laid down a few washes and it did buckle a bit but it didn't pucker so horribly like the Strathmore sketch books I've been using.  Here is the true beauty: after the initial washes dried, I began to work into the drawing. I added colored pencil and rubbed it around. I added Caran'dache Neocolors and pushed them around with some water.  I think I added media about 4 times and then either erased back with a Magic Rub or lifted out with water to create a rich surface.  This paper stood up to it without pilling or bleeding.  I am tres impressed!  I have to say I never expected such outstanding performance from a sketch book.  It was worth every penny! I feel like I've been waiting for years to lay down some of the ideas in my head and this little book came along and said, "Hell, yes! I'm down. Let's do this! Bring it!"

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