A few weeks ago I found a post on reddit of a lovely piece done in a Stillman & Birn sketchbook with a tan paper. As someone who loves tools, materials, and gear, I wrote myself a note to grab one of these when I would get a chance (which I did). I found a local art store that sold them, and dove in with an Alpha Series (for watercolour) and the Nova series (the one with the tan paper).
I found some inspiration before making my purchase of what people fit in to these little sketchbooks. I haven't been much successful at it in the past, but I think that was because I would often avoid painting/drawing across an entire spread. After seeing some really cool pieces that people have made over a whole spread I decided to follow suit.
I have particularly been enjoying Teoh Yi Chie's channel, and have been trying to follow along with making quick watercolour sketches with underlining ink from my fountain pen.
I'm hopeful regarding this format, as:
It's portable, so I'll be encouraged to draw more
There's less pressure on filling a small page (it's partially the mentality that "this is really just for quick sketches and practice").
I have a field notes box that a good friend gifted me a few years ago - it will perfectly fit storing this paper size. I would be proud to have a box full of sketches documenting the things I've seen (and my improvement) as time goes on.
So far I like the Stillman & Birn. The paper of the Beta series is very thick. I haven't encountered paper like this before! I might actually switch to a 3.5x5 on the Alpha series, and I suspect the paper will still be thick enough for what I need (at least, the Nova series, which is 150gsm 1 seems sufficiently thick). I'm curious also about the differences between Alpha and the Epsilon in terms of surface (
medium grain vs
I still don't know what paper specifications are / what GSM is. I will probably make a post on the matter in the future.↩