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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sunflower Study

British artist Emma-Jane Rosenberg recently posted this multidimensional study of a sunflower. We asked Emma-Jane to explain her vision in creating this artwork and this is her report: “Though I have no formal art background, I have always felt compelled to draw. I would describe my paintings in oil pastel and soft pastel as colourful realism with an emphasis on still life and portraits, though I like to play with a variety of media and sometimes find that the flow of pen and ink leads to drawings of a more instinctive or imaginative nature. I keep a sketch journal in a variety of media. The sunflowers were drawn from life across two pages of my current journal, a 5.5″ x 8.5″ Alpha Series sketchbook. What interested me about the sunflowers beyond the more obvious appeal of their sunny faces were the curling forms of their bracts, so that’s what I chose to explore with my Lamy Safari fountain pen. I used Noodler’s Walnut ink, which I then spread around with a waterbrush to create the shading.

I wanted to give a sense of the three-dimensionality of the flower without spoiling my line drawing (which is why I went on to do a second study, with shading, on the right). So I added a cast shadow by running my waterbrush along the lower edge of the drawing, darkening it close to the outline with additional pen marks which I brushed over afresh, without waiting for the first wash to dry.”

You can see Emma-Jane’s artwork on her Flickr photostream here:

MEDIA: Ink and ink wash
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tea Time

Artist Erik Davis published this drawing on his blog and sent us this write-up about it: “Right now my passion is for old barns, sheds, and trees. I think the barns and sheds come from my childhood. My grandparents had a small farm with lots of little sheds and a barn. Many days were spent exploring them. I decided to add the figure to the drawing to help give the shed some scale, and add a little interest. I decided to put him sitting inside the door for a focal point, contrast, and convey the idea of taking a break from the sun. I chose the title “Tea Time” simply because of my love of hot tea – anytime of the year.

When I start a new drawing I usually have it worked out in my head. I quickly draw the basic shape and layout in pencil, I then make several sketches of the figure on tracing paper to get the scale and position just right. I rarely do any kind of value sketches or rough sketches. Once I am happy with the sizes and locations of the elements I go straight to the pen. I’m working to break an old habit of outlining everything with the pen, and trying to leave more broken lines in my work. I like to start with the structures first, then I work towards the main tree trunk. After that I really just skip all over to get the basic foreground, vegetation, and the tree canopy. Once the elements are anchored I then work through the details and shading. The watercolors are added last. I usually start with the sky and work through the drawing rather randomly. I do my best not to add additional ink once painting is finished. I’ve found the water softens the paper just enough that the pen goes down a little thicker, even after the paper has dried.” Erik Davis’ blog:

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Tea Time

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lotus Blossom

Singapore artist Vincent Pang recently reported on his blog about a visit to Kampong Java Park, adjacent to one of Singapore’s major hospitals.” I was delivered into this world at now KK Women and Children’s Hospital. I still like to come back to the lotus pond here for a bit of quiet time and meditation. But on this day, I woke up earlier than usual and decided to make a trip down to the pond for a bit of relaxation. As usual, the beautiful lotus blooms got the better of me and I decided to paint them.

Done entirely in watercolour, I decided to incorporate Chinese impressionistic strokes with western watercolour styles. I started with a wash of diluted pigments of carmine and assorted greens on the positive areas to ‘mark’ the objects I wanted to capture. Once this layer dried, I used a fine synthetic brush boosted with stronger pigments to add the details on the stalks, petals and leaves with added in bolder shades and dryer strokes, creating both details and texture. Finally, I splattered component colours onto the finished painting for added visual interest and depth, not unlike a typical Chinese impressionistic painting.” This is the link to Vincent Pang’s blog, “Musings of a Citi Sketcha”

MEDIA: Watercolor
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

Lotus Blossom

Friday, July 18, 2014

Alpha vs. Epsilon

Designer and art educator Ellen Ward has written an informative blog post contrasting inking on the Alpha and Epsilon Series. (Alpha is white and has a medium grain surface; Epsilon is also white but has a smooth surface.)

“Ink is a catalyst for seeing. It is definite and for the most part indelible. By drawing consistently with ink one learns to make clear decisions and develop better aim. I generally do not use a pencil underlay because it hobbles my responses and makes me lazy.

Crosshatching is one of the ways to create values with pen and ink. It can be done mechanically, with drafting tools, but I much prefer a spontaneous approach that allows me to draw freely. This way the lines can build slowly and organically. A paper with a slight tooth like Alpha breaks up the line just a bit. The pen skips in fits and starts because the ink hits the hills and skips the valleys on the surface of the paper, even though each is very subtle.

With Alpha, one can build tone slowly and not end up with fully inked dark areas unexpectedly, the result of the lines that have already accumulated before you could gauge the values in the sketch. This can happen even when you are an experienced artist, but a paper with some texture is a good hedge against this issue. This is the reason that most of my students prefer to crosshatch with a little bit of tooth in the paper to avoid over-inking. I would recommend using Alpha for beginners to inking, and for any drawings which hope to have a broad range of values through crosshatching.

On a smooth paper like Epsilon the line is crisp and unbroken. Furthermore, smooth paper like Epsilon creates line with speed because there are no hills and valleys on the surface of the paper to slow the movement of the pen. Although the garden drawing sketch “looks” detailed, it actually was drawn rather quickly with loose lines. I sketch broad gestural lines to place the foliage and draw immediately on top to build texture. A drawing like this relies on the gestural truths of observation: that way the plants stand as large masses and directional movement. This kind of drawing is most like painting. Textures vary depending on the quality of the leaves and the movements of the water. Stark contrast in value is the goal rather than slowly accumulated tones.

I also really like Epsilon for figure studies in life drawing class. I use ink wash, Pitt Artist pens in grays, and a Lamy Safari filled with Noodlers ink for figure studies.” Ellen Ward’s blog:

MEDIA: Ink, ink wash
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish
SURFACE: Epsilon Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Alpha vs. Beta (1024x485)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs

Janette Meetze, a sketchbook artist and tapestry designer, posted a drawing of a classic hotel a few weeks ago that captured our attention. We asked Janette to send us more details and she sent us the following write up: “Sketching the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas has been on my mind since I first saw it. The building looms large over the surrounding area and upon entering time seems to slow down and take on a turn of the 20th century elegance even in the midst of a busy summer season. It also has a slightly creepy side being well known for its paranormal activity and the ghost tours which run almost daily.

As an art history major who spent most of my career teaching art and fine craft, I find the mixture of stories about the Crescent just adds to its charm. Now that I am retired I have two major art interests, weaving tapestry and sketching. Weaving keeps me at home in front of the loom and sketching gets me out into the wide world. Often the two collide when a sketch becomes an inspiration for a tapestry.

This chance to sketch the Crescent came about because we stayed there for one night at the end of a recent getaway. I was up and in the back garden by 7AM the next morning. The vantage point that I chose reveals only a small fraction of the entire building but it was my intent from the beginning to have some figures present and to show at least part of the enormous porches. These porches are a popular spot where people can be found at all hours in the large rocking chairs that command a magnificent view of the Ozarks. I started with an outline of the basic structure with an HB mechanical pencil and then started drawing with a black Copic Multiliner 0.3 in my Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook. Two hours later I was still working with some of the detail and shading. I decided to take a reference photo at that time because check out was 11am! I was able to get most of the sketch completed and the color was added after I returned home with some M. Graham watercolors. The finished sketch is a spread that measures about 8” x 11”. I am excited about my next trip to the Crescent and plan to do some interior scenes the next time my sketchbook and I arrive.”

These are the links to Janette Meetze’s blogs:

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Crescent Hotel

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Giveaway Winners Announced

These are the ten winners of our Summer Sketchbook Giveaway. Each will receive their choice of a Alpha Series (white) or Gamma Series (ivory) sketchbook set.

Dana Burrell
AnAis García Burgos
Alastair Ferguson
Jane Hannah
Dan Killebrew
Lee Kline
Nancy Laliberte
Jennifer McLean
Mohd Hafizal Nordin
Marion von Oppeln

Winners were selected by chance using the random number generator function in Excel. Thanks to all for participating….our next contest will be in September.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Alki View of Seattle

Alki Beach is the most western point of Seattle, a peninsula jutting out into Puget Sound. It was the site of June’s Urban Sketchers’ workshop in which graphic artist Mark Ryan participated. This is one of the drawings Mark created at this location and the following is his report: “I enjoy sketching, drawing and painting the somewhat less than typical subject or point of view. I certainly believe that if it is something that really appeals to me I will end up with a better sketch or drawing. I’m currently taking my drawing and sketch work a bit further by using them as reference for acrylic paintings on canvas or for larger watercolor paintings.

Some sketches start out with pencil then inked and water colored. However sketches that begin just putting ink to the paper may not have the perspective or proportions right, but have a great deal more spontaneity and ultimately turn out more appealing. I’m a huge fan of watercolor quality sketchbooks and I do my ink work with a Lamy Safari fountain pen with Noodler’s black ink (semi-waterproof) and color on site with a number of different small watercolor travel kits collected over the years.”

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press

Aki View2

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Sketchbook Set Giveaway

We’re giving away ten Stillman & Birn sketchbook sets. These sets contain a 4” x 6” hardbound and 6” x 8” wirebound sketchbook. Winners have a choice of either the Alpha Series (White) or Gamma Series (Ivory).


Simply email us with your name to: We will automatically enter you. You will receive an email reply confirming your entry within 48 hours. Entry to this contest closes July 11, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST.

Winners will be picked at random on July 12, 2014 and will be announced on our blog and social media sites that day.

No purchase required. No geographical limitations. You must be over the age of 18 in order to enter.


Stillman & Birn Alpha and Gamma Series sketchbooks are made with heavyweight mixed media art paper which supports all dry media as well as multiple light washes of wet media.
Papers in both series are suitable for:
• Drawing – drawing with all lead types with fluid, unbroken strokes
• Inking – wide range of inking techniques without feathering or bleeding
• Layering – layering with colored pencils and pastels
• Erasures – repeated erasures without damaging the surface
• Wet Media – glazing with light washes of all wet media.

Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish
Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish

StillmanJulyGiveaway (1)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava (or “Rough Coast”) is a coastal region in northeastern Spain that stretches from north of Barcelona to the French border. The area is known for the picturesque views of its beaches, attracting many artists. Spanish watercolor artist Albert Viladés sent us this drawing, “Canyelles Petites Beach, Costa Brava”. Albert reports: “Stillman & Birn sketchbooks are very well suited to my plein aire work because the binding and finish are very durable for everyday use. Color in these sketchbooks is especially vibrant and they come with me everywhere. I usually use medium and large formats and I particularly like them for my landscape compositions such as this one.

This beach drawing was done in the Alpha Series, with a thickness of 150 gsm. I do the initial drawing with pen or fine tip marker after which I add watercolor. Once dry, the paper flattens out and pigment never penetrates to the other side. So this allows me to use the reverse side. This is important to me because I always want my sketchbook to look like a double-sided book.

A secret: I glue the sides of the pages with a light coat of wood glue so that it remains a block of paper, preventing movement of the paper when drawing with wet media. Afterwards I separate the painted sheet from the rest of the sketchbook with a knife.”

You can see more of Albert Viladés’ artwork on his website:

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

costa brava (800x581)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Transforming Caillebotte’s “Paris Street; Rainy Day”

This is a link to a short, fascinating video about how conservators cleaned one of the Art Institute’s most renowned treasures. An awesome inside view to cleaning this huge painting. “When conservator Faye Wrubel examined Gustave Caillebotte’s masterpiece “Paris Street; Rainy Day” in the Art Institute’s conservation studio, she discovered, among other things, that the varnish had yellowed over the decades, significantly altering the painting. Watch as Faye’s deft touch, hard work, and expertise return the painting—and Paris—to the artist’s original vision.” via Art Institute of Chicago


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Head House at Copley Square

The entrance to the Copley Square subway station (“head house”) is one of a kind, a structure of filigree flowers and curlicues in cast iron, much like the Art Nouveau kiosks of the Metro in Paris. Constructed in 1912, the head house endured decades of neglect and then was beautifully restored in 2009. Laura Sfiat captures this in her drawing along with the following report:

“This drawing of the station at Copley was particularly challenging. It took me two tries to understand the complexity of the metal works. The impact of the black mass is stunning in real life, and it is so both because of its striking presence in the urban space of Boston, and the exquisite, intricate craftsmanship that went to its construction. The elaborate design of this ornate wrought-iron head house next to the Boston Public Library at Copley Square was designed by the firm Fox, Jenny & Gale.

To approach the drawing, I started by devising a way to simplify. The surface has no highlights or reflections, just different degrees of black, not even gray. I had to incorporate a Payne’s Gray wash to give an impression and create volume without losing the detail.

If I were to draw every detail it wouldn’t be a sketch but an illustration. I wanted it to remain accurate but loose. At the end I wanted to balance the coolness of the gray mass with a warming color. In reality the wall is off-white toward the warm side. I added a person that was walking by to give it scale without being distracting to the whole.” See more of Laura Sfiat’s artwork at her blog City Sketcher – Boston

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

Head House (1024x738)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Old Ford on Main Street

Andy Reddout reports on finding the perfect model in a vintage Ford in upstate New York. “Eight years ago I swapped careers as an art director and dove into teaching art to little munchkins. Since I spent my previous career behind a computer designing just about everything, I decided that for this career I would make everything by hand—posters, signs, lesson plans, handouts and even notes home. In order to keep my skills sharp and to give my inner “art-geek” a chance to shine I started sketching everyday (well, almost every day). Eventually I discovered the Urban Sketchers movement and that got me hooked on watercolors, and all sorts of drawing tools (fountain pens, water-soluble colored pencils, magic pencils, or whatever I read about). At about the same time I found a local group called “Rochester Sketch Group”. That group got me out about three times a month sketching people, landscapes, coffee shops, even botanical gardens. So last week we had a meet up at the Clifton Springs Sulfur Festival in Clifton Springs, NY. The brand new art gallery in town, Main Street Arts, wanted artists to be drawing and painting during the festival so I volunteered our group to participate.

When we arrived there was a classic car show on Main Street Arts with all types of cars on display. I parked myself in front of this awesome 1931 Ford, and got to work. Turns out cars are a great model—they don’t move! I started with some quick pencil lines to establish my width and height and some of the main elements. Then I dove in with the ink trying not to add too much cross-hatching because I wanted to make the watercolors do the shading work for me. It was the first hot, sunny day in Western New York, so adding watercolors was VERY tricky—they seemed to dry in seconds! Even my palette had a hard time keeping up with the heat! In the end I showed the sketch to the owner and he was delighted to see his car in a different light.” You can find more of Andy’s art at:

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Surface

Red car (640x466)

Monday, June 16, 2014

About Fountain Pens and Ink

Watercolor artist Susan Bronsak recently posted a report about her fountain pens and the various inks she uses with them. “I started a new Stillman & Birn Beta journal and started my first page showing the various fountain pens I have on hand. Each pen illustration was sketched and description written out using the individual pen illustrated. All pens have Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink which when dry is waterproof allowing for watercolor washes without ink bleed.

A #8 round brush was used to paint each pen using the wet in wet technique. Love how wet in wet works on this paper! Paints used: Winsor & Newton watercolors for all pens except the Pilot Prera (Green pen) which was painted using Daniel Smith watercolors.

As noted by “X2” and “X3”, I have many of the same type pen loaded with different inks in them. With the Pilot Prera, I have two pens, one with Lexington Gray ink and the other Namiki Black which is a water-soluble ink. With the Platinum Carbon pens, I have three …. one each with Lexington Gray, Noodler’s #41 Brown, and one for now with the standard cartridge Black you can purchase for the pen. When that cartridge is empty, I will probably fill it with the Namiki water-soluble or might even go with a Blue Black ink. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed sketching and painting on this type paper.” This is reposted from Susan Bronsak’s blog here: ; you might also care to visit her website here:

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

My pens


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Technology and the Lost Art of Drawing

On the left, a drawing of the Eiffel Tower by Argentinian architect and urban sketcher Norberto Dorantes, demonstrating his “dynamic ink” technique. On the right, a newly graduated architect draws the Eiffel Tower digitally using new BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology. In this article architect Russell Curtis questions: “do these technologies allow us to design better buildings by streamlining the decision-making process, or do they simply provide short cuts that absolve us of the responsibility of having to think about how things go together? ….for all the inherent frustrations of working in pen and ink, this process taught us a valuable lesson that many young architects today tend not to appreciate: every line on the page has meaning. Placing a line on a drawing was a deliberate act: a carelessly placed stroke of the 0.35 (or impatient smudging with a parallel motion) would result in several minutes of painstaking scratching with a razor blade. This taught us to use our Rotring pens sparingly, providing only just enough information to get our intentions across. I wonder whether this appreciation has now been lost by a generation unfamiliar with the joys of Burmester sets and clogged nibs.” via Building Design Online


Monday, June 9, 2014

A Veggie Sketchbook

Most artists will include a wide range of subjects in their sketchbooks. But watercolor artist and teacher Valerie Weller prefers to created themed sketchbooks. “I just love my sketchbook to have a theme that I can pull from later, to produce larger pieces. I tend to gravitate toward organic things… flowers, leaves, veggies, and fruits. I suppose it’s the graphic part of me that leans towards those subjects, or maybe it’s just the idea that within those shapes, you can really experiment with color and let the watercolor do what it is meant to do.

I like to work loosely — with a lot of wet into wet and glazing. The glazing technique allows one to achieve a glowing depth of color. The strength and the surface of the Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook pages takes to this process quite well. It’s pretty forgiving, if you need to lift a little, while layering your color. Watercolor pools on the paper well, allowing the layers to produce the richness and glow that I seek.

I’m sharing a page here from a series I am working on with veggies. These are always simple sketches, from either life or a photo. After sketching lightly, I will layer my color from the lightest to darkest, being mindful of letting the watercolor do its thing. The glazing process involves letting one layer dry before adding another. I tend to almost mix my colors right on the wet puddles of the page. A little quinacridone magenta with a dab of mineral violet in a wet pool of water can make some magic happen. My palette is made up of Holbein and Windsor Newton paints. I’ve been experimenting with my Lamy pen to either do some outlining when the watercolor work is done, or draw in some fun calligraphic styled words. Again — that graphic designer part of me coming out.” You can read more about Valerie Weller’s themed sketchbooks on her two blogs: and

MEDIA: Watercolor and ink
SURFACE: Beta Series – 180 lb – 270 gsm – Natural White – Cold Press Finish

CARROTS2 (2) (640x633)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

GUEST POST — Laure Ferlita: Keeping a Sketch From Becoming a Painting

Watercolorist Laure Ferlita writes about an issue that confronts most artists: staying mindful of the investment of time made to a sketchbook drawing. After all, unless the artist is prepared to remove the page from the sketchbook, the drawing cannot be framed or sold. This is a summary of Laure’s insights:

“My brother went down to the Venice Rookery over the weekend and came home with some fabulous shots. One of a baby Blue Heron just captured my heart. I decided on the spur of the moment to create a sketch out of this cute, little bugger.

Beginning with the bird, I sketched him out in pencil and then added general outlines of the nest without a lot of detail (my first miscalculation). Since the background is all suggested shapes, I didn’t draw anything back there.

Next, I painted the bird, my center of interest. With the main sections of the bird painted (details to be added last), I moved on to the background. It was easy to do by just mingling colors.

Then it was time to do the nest. If I had drawn in even a partial bit of the nest, I think I would have realized the chore I had set for myself. But I didn’t. In short order, I realized that if I continued to sketch the nest with a brush, I would have HOURS invested in this page. Rather than lavish hours on a sketch, I went to the studio and gathered up markers and pens in colors that would harmonize with the colors in the image. Then I went to work.

When I set out to sketch, I generally have a goal in mind of being quick, of capturing the essence of a place, thing, etc. However, I do occasionally get into something that can’t be “created” as quickly as I’d like. That’s when I change up my method of working, which is what I did. Why was it a problem? It’s not, but because I wanted this to be a quick sketch and not a painting I had to make a choice. The longer I work on something, the more detail I tend to put in and the greater chance I have of overworking the piece and regretting the hours I invested.

There is a constant decision process going on when we create. The more aware we become of our choices, the more freedom we have when we’re in the flow. Realizing we have more than one way to create goes a long way towards helping us to tackle subject matter that we would otherwise avoid.” This is the link to Laure Ferlita’s blog post:

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – 180 lb – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Laure Ferlita is a watercolor artist and teacher that divides her time between the online world of  Imaginary Trips  ( )and getting out on location to sketch and paint. Her favorite way to spend an afternoon is with her sketchbook, good friends and a glass of wine.

baby blue heron

Monday, June 2, 2014

Oak and Moss

Graphic designer Suhita Shirodkar reports on some new drawings she recently created on a visit to California’s Central Coast wine region. “This huge, old oak stands in Templeton Gap wine country near Paso Robles. Templeton is where the hot weather of interior California collides with the wet, chilly, moisture-laden winds blowing up from the coast in Cambria. The large oaks here are literally dripping with garlands of Spanish Moss. This tree was just the perfect climbing tree. You can see kids among its branches everywhere.

I sketched this in a Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook, 9×12 wirebound book. The Beta Series is my favorite line of Stillman & Birn books: it holds up to line and to heavily pooled watercolor. I sketched this piece with a bamboo nib and Noodlers Bulletproof ink. The bamboo nib worked well for the scraggly look I was going for with this tree. And if you’re wondering why the ink doesn’t look waterproof in my sketch, it’s because I didn’t wait for the ink to dry before I jumped in with my watercolors.” You can see more of Suhita Shirodkar’s artwork on her blog here:

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – 180 lb – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish


Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Boomerang Beach

Illustrator Barbara Tapp created this pen & ink drawing on our cold press Delta Series. We were frankly surprised that Delta’s comparatively toothy surface didn’t seem to be a problem for any of the detailed line work. This is Barbara’s story of the drawing:

“I work as an architectural sketch artist drawing houses for the Bay Area real estate market so free hand sketching in my S&B Delta journals is pure relaxation and I carry them with me at all times. I use no pencil or erasers the sketches evolve as they go. This sketch was drawn on a recent visit to Australia early one morning at Boomerang Beach while I was watching the surf. The magnificent crumbling coastline seemed to dwarf the fisherman standing on a nearby rock.

I began with the figures and from there radiated my sketch outwards. Using downward strokes of my fine Sharpie, I contoured the landscape adding the foreground of rocks and water last. Everything had to relate back to the figures. Once my base sketch was down and directions determined, I highlighted by deepening cross-hatching to build depth, completing the sketch with the rods. This is an emotional freeing loose sketch, with line work that gathers momentum…it is great fun to draw like this. Even in the high humidity the ink dries quickly on the Delta paper enabling me to add fine lines, building complex depth and shadows.” Barbara Tapp’s website:

MEDIA: Pen and ink
SURFACE: Delta Series – 180 lb. – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

Boomerang Beach (488x650)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

R.I.P. Massimo Vignelli, One of the Greatest 20th Century Designers

“Italian design legend Massimo Vignelli, best known for designing an iconic-yet-controversial version of the New York City subway map in the 1970s, died in his New York City home Tuesday morning at age 83. Working firmly within the modernist tradition, Vignelli aimed for design that was “visually powerful, intellectually elegant, and above all timeless”–a slogan of sorts for his New York design studio, Vignelli Associates, which he founded in 1971 with his wife, Lella.

‘If you can design one thing, you can design everything,’ Vignelli had been known to say, and he lived by this maxim. He helped shape the visual and cultural landscape of the 20th century with work ranging from branding for the likes of American Airlines, IBM, and Bloomingdale’s, to housewares, signage, books, furniture, exhibitions, architecture graphics, and interiors.” via Fast Company



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fire at Glasgow School of Art

Firefighters battled a massive blaze at the Glasgow School of Art’s illustrious Charles Rennie Mackintosh building. Although fortunately most of the building’s structure and contents have been saved, what has been destroyed is devastating: numerous students lost art projects on which they have been working for years; the iconic Mackintosh Library was completely destroyed. A fund has been established to assist the School with the restoration process and to help bereaved students. Stillman & Birn has made a contribution to this fund and we ask you to consider making one too. For more information please see this link:

Mackintosh fire