Stillman and Birn Blind Tests

Imitating Eric Carle
Left Side: Epsilon sketch paper, Right Side: Alpha sketch paper

The scientist that lives within couldn't resist.

The paper samples I received from Mr. Kalman got folded in half and made into a temporary pamphlet sketchbook, held together by a ribbon.  I didn't take note of which papers were where, I didn't read the writing on any of the samples and just did some work on each of them as they appeared in the random order they got placed into a loose signature.

I worked in various media: Ecoline watercolour ink*; transparent watercolour of various brands;  LuminArt colour; pastel and charcoal; various fountain pen inks; Pentel brush pen and one nasty swipe with a Sharpie (one and only nasty).

As it turned out, it made the testing more fun and a surprise.

Alpha, natural white, vellum, 100 lbs/150 g/m, hard or wire bound has proved itself durable and useful for most media, including wet.  I've been using one with pleasure.

Beta, natural white, rough, 180lbs/270 g/m, wire bound only is a heavy weight paper that responds well to dry and wet media.

Beta, Ecoline watercolor ink with Noodlers Flex pen and Brown 41 ink

Beta, LuminArte colour pots and Preppy fountain pen

Delta, ivory, rough, 180lbs/270 g/m, wire bound only is extremely sturdy and can probably be used for any medium.  I may try some gesso and acrylic to see if it responds well to a heavier application.

Epsilon, natural white, plate, 100 lbs/150 g/m, hard or wire bound may need further testing but performed adequately with wet media.

Gamma, ivory, vellum, 100 lbs/150 g/m, hardbound continues to please (see post here) and although my book is small has proved itself adaptable to dry and wet media.

I have no reservations recommending any one of these sketchbooks, with the caveat that you select one that suits your drawing, sketching and painting style.  The single interruption to a perfect score was the Sharpie which bled through onto the back of the Alpha drawing above (Eric Carle, watercolour and pastel) and we know that Sharpies are notorious for bleeding.

For more about these sketchbooks, see the Stillman and Birn site here.   Now available at Wet Paint (Minneapolis); Utrecht and Flax and other suppliers being added (I see from a Google search).

NB - Not all tests appear in this post.
* Ecoline watercolour ink is lovely, but apparently not available in the States.  I bought two bottles from Quietfire Designs in Canada.  Suzanne Cannon, the proprietor, and I have been online friends for about ten years and I love giving her business.

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