Stillman and Birn
Art Paper Gallery
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Portrait of Koru

Artist: Guillem Marí, Spain
Artist Statement: My vision in creating the artwork: I just love painting portraits and to experiment different approaches and media applied to portraiture. One of the things I enjoy most is to combine it with abstract and geometrical shapes, stains, drippings and splatter. I use my sketchbook to just experiment with those elements in a playful way, without giving it too much thought. And that’s what this sketchbook page is all about.

Techniques/Media: In this case I used mostly watercolors, with some details in gouache and color fineliners. I initially draw a loose sketch with a mechanical pencil, and then just play around with the paints. The drippings, spatter and geometrical elements are pretty much improvised along the way.

MEDIA: Watercolor, gouache, ink
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Guillem Marí is a Spanish freelance illustrator, painter and designer currently based in Ibiza. Guillem studied illustration and graphic design at the Joso Art School in Barcelona. After that, he worked in the animation industry for a while, but soon started his own path as a freelancer in comics and illustration, working for several international clients, including Marvel Comics (US), Image Comics (US), Schibsted Publishing Co. (Sweden/Norway/Denmark), Uitgeverij de Boemerang (Belgium) and Editorial Vicens-Vives (Spain), Tyche Books (Canada), amongst many others.

Although painting and drawing are his main passions he also enjoys playing guitar, writing, contemplating and hiking in nature, as well as travelling and being hugged.

Guillem is always open and happy to discuss all kinds of new projects and commissions, and can be contacted at
Twitter: @guillembe
Instagram: @guillem_mari

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Things on the Breakfast Table

Artist: Koosje Koene, The Netherlands
Artist Statement: I like using sketchbooks as my personal illustrated journals. They give me the opportunity to try new techniques, experiment and explore, and collect memories in drawings. Doing daily drawings in my sketchbooks means that I carve out time (even if it’s just a five minute drawing) to draw anything that appeals to me then and there, and the pages build up to a document of my life. The drawings tell stories (big and small), keep memories alive, and capture so much more than a photo could ever do. I love how very mundane things can become interesting when you draw them – as soon as you start drawing them. Like: the random stuff that’s right in front of you at the breakfast table. This drawing reminds me of the lazy Sunday morning when I made this, right after finishing breakfast.

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

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Koosje Koene is an artist and entrepreneur from Amsterdam. She founded an online art school called Sketchbook Skool, together with Danny Gregory.
Instagram: @koosjekoene
Twitter: @koosjekoene

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Thrill of the Race

Artist: Colleen McCafferty, Australia
Artist Statement: Sailing played a large part in my life for many years when my three children were young. They all learnt how to sail and every Sunday was spent at the local yacht club racing dinghies. There was always much excitement after the racing and many hours spent recounting the events of the day, which often included the occasional spill into the water and drenchings. It was great fun. My son went on to join the Navy and other family members either have been or are still in the Navy and own or have owned boats. So we have a lot of the ‘sea’ in our blood and I truly love painting boats and trying to capture the movement of the boats and action of the sea.

My method is to firstly draw it out in pencil – roughly for the water but more accurately for the boat. I then do line work in ink over parts of the boat, but not all. I never start the watercolour until I know that I have a few hours free. Not because it takes me that long to paint it, but I can’t stop in the middle of a wash. The sea is mostly painted in one go with a lot of water and I just go for it. Once that is done, the rest is much easier. I prefer translucent colours and if I need to go over it all again with a glaze to intensify the colours, then I carefully do so. For me, the longest part of the exercise is the thinking beforehand as I try to go through the painting exercise mentally before I start. The smooth heavy paper in the Stillman & Birn Zeta series journal is excellent for the way that I paint.

MEDIA: Watercolor, gouache, pen and ink
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavy Weight – 270 gsm – Smooth Finish

Colleen McCafferty is an Australian artist who is feels herself fortunate to have the opportunity to frequently travel around her beautiful country and particularly into the Outback. She is retired and has been painting on and off for over 30 years. Her preferred medium by far is watercolor, but she also loves sketching in pen and ink. More of Colleen’s work can be found on her website and on Instagram at

Monday, February 27, 2017

Children at Play

ARTIST: André Mangabeira, Brazil
ARTIST STATEMENT: Quite often I like to play with dark colors more focused on mood and atmosphere. I am passionate about my sketchbooks which provide me opportunity to explore new approaches in my daily creative process. Every time I want to draw people in my sketches or paintings, I have this natural tendency to portray them in movement or doing something. I don’t know exactly why, but I do like it because it makes the task more challenging. Also, in this particular sketch I relied on some childhood memories to help me create the composition. Memories that I hope will never fade.

Regarding my sketchbook process, the very first step usually starts in my mind when something triggers the interest and that can happen in several situations, like during my commute to work, during my lunch time and so on. Later in my studio, I start work in using a very light and soft pencil. The next step is the black ink, applied mostly with a worn out brush using dry brush technique and not fully loaded. Then is time to apply watercolor pigments in two washes at most. The main rule here is be loose and let the colors flow enough to create nice effects. Sometimes I tilt the sketchbook in order to achieve the goal. To create white lines, I pretty much use a rigger brush loaded with Chinese White or when I want something stronger I go to my awesome Gelly gel pen which has a pure and strong white color.

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish
André Mangabeira is a Brazilian artist and illustrator. He is self-taught and a lover of traditional media technique, especially ink and watercolor. You can see more of André’s work on his blog here:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hummingbird Study

Artist: Laura Sepulveda, Australia
Artist Statement: I’ve always used art as a lifeline to make sense of the world externally and internally. I know all my art has a touch of the macabre, expressed through elements of nature. Using a variety of mediums, my favourite ink, I try and capture the snapshots in my head as a way of freeing up space, momentarily achieving a sense of peace. I dabble in both abstract and realism, but I aspire more to realistic, classical renderings.

I always sketch out my concept in mechanical pencil, as I can establish detail easier, then I use pigmented fountain ink or most lately, paint markers, to finalise my artwork. I find using these two mediums provide a bold, graphic effect that makes the work leap from the page in an emotionally intense manner.

MEDIA: Graphite, Acrylic (paint markers), Ink
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain

Laura Sepulveda is a 23 year old graphic design student, working and studying in Sydney. She works in a variety of media, mostly ink, but also graphite, acrylic, carbon, pencil and watercolour.
Instagram: @laurasepulvedaillustrations

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Cacophony of Color

Artist: Leslie Fehling, United States
Artist Statement: When I was in Florida a few weeks ago, my friend Judy and I spent a few hours at the Village of the Arts in Bradenton. We had a great lunch and strolled through the neighborhood filled with brightly colored historic cottages. Many of them house galleries, art studios, restaurants, and specialty shops. The little cottages were so cute that I couldn’t wait to sketch them. I decided to do a two-page spread in my Stillman & Birn Zeta Series softcover sketchbook. The sketch would feature four different cottages plus the hand-painted street sign in the center.

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Leslie Fehling provides a step by step description of her techniques in creating this artwork on her blog here: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Load of Rope

Congratulations to British artist Felicity Flutter, whose painting “Load of Rope” has been selected by the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours for display at their Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries this April.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lapis Necklace

Artist: Jody Marx, United States
Artist Statement: On this day, my two co-workers and I went to my favourite vintage store. All three of us spent quite a bit of money. The owner surprised me by gifting me an Afghani necklace and thanking me for introducing her store to so many of my family and friends over the years.

Technique: I start my page with a pencil sketch and trace over it with a black Micron pen. I may or may not erase the pencil lines, depending on the look that I want. I did erase them here. Then I start layering my watercolor paint.

The watercolor technique that I use in my journal is “dry brush using a water brush.” I build up lighter layers of mostly transparent paint to create darker masses. Keeping my light source in mind is very important to create a 3D effect. When the paint is dry, I go back over my illustration with the Micron pen and Staedtler fine line paint markers to crosshatch in more mid-tones and shadows where needed. In this instance, I use an opaque bronze (created with a base of Daniel Smith Buff Titanium with touches of Burnt Sienna) at the end to give it the bronzy color to portray the pyrite flecks in the Lapis lazuli.

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, watercolors, paint markers
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jody Marx is a graphic designer for the School of Education at University of Washington. She also has a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from UW. Jody needs to multi-task as much as possible (Life is short!), so works on her sketchbook while watching TV series with her husband. She is looking forward to her art show featuring her sketchbooks at Elizabeth C. Miller Library at University of Washington Botanic Gardens in August, 2017.
Facebook Page:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Old Shop Façade

Artist: Reham Moniem, Egypt
Artist statement: Sketching architecture, especially old buildings, interests me and as an interior designer my architectural background helped me. That’s why every sketchbook I have is filed with lots and lots of old building sketches. This one is not a particular shop I saw and then sketched; rather, it’s a combination of several I have seen. I then visualized this one and in drawing it on paper I tried to add more vibrant color than the usual earthy colors we usually see in old buildings.

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

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Reham Moniem is an Egyptian artist and interior designer and an assistant professor of architecture. She commutes between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and is interested in drawing and painting. Reham works in a variety of media including acrylic, gouache, oil, pastel, charcoal but mostly watercolor and ink.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Toddler’s Reaction to Moonlight Sonata

Words unnecessary, the images in this video say it all. We humans are blessed to be sensitive to the power of art and that sensitivity can obviously begin at a very early age:






Monday, January 30, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year – 新年快乐

To all our friends who celebrate, we wish you a year of good luck and good fortune in the Year of the Rooster

​A​rtist: Leonie Cheetham, Australia
Media: Watercolo​r and ​​ink​
Surface: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 – gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Eastwood Estate

Artist: Zack Easley, United States
Artist Statement: I am a retired fourth-generation mason and a self-taught artist. As early as five years old, I was drawing and entering art contests in school. Since then, I have won awards for my drawing and illustration work.

I draw my inspiration from my experience in working with brick and stone, with an extensive background in building and architecture. Even with inspiration from architecture, my art comes solely from my imagination. Unique and intricate is how my work has been frequently described. Anomalous, in the sense that my style is unique and can’t be easily categorized. I hope that when my people view my work they can see a place I have envisioned and brought to life through my artwork.
Facebook: Brick Artist Zack Easley
Instagram: @brickartistzack

MEDIA: Pen & ink and pastel
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rabbit Children from the Garden Clan

Artist: Chuck Grieb, United States
Artist Statement: The Garden Clan is a world of magic and tiny faeries, inspired by the world outside, the garden in my yard, and a love for legends, fairytales, myth, and tales of adventure. Casein is my preferred medium and I find the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks provide the ideal support (Casein becomes brittle when dry and a stiff support is important). I also enjoy sketching in pen and ink, watercolor, and gouache and find the Delta and Beta series handles all my explorations with aplomb. I recently filled a Delta series sketchbook which had proved a preferred tool when exploring the world around me or imagining the design of the characters with which I populate the Garden Clan world (though I have also enjoyed drawing with pencil in my Alpha Series and working with ink and wash on the smoother surface of the Zeta Series).

When creating my illustrations, I usually begin with a colored pencil sketch (brown), over which I paint a single hue value wash, using Raw Umber casein. Once dry, I glaze on the color, building up the opacity. Often, I varnish the finished illustration. This image of a couple of the rabbit children from my Garden Clan stories was painted on the first page of a Beta series sketchbook in which I have just started working.

MEDIA: Colored pencil, Casein
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Chuck Grieb is an animation artist, illustrator, and animation professor of animation at Cal State Fullerton who lives in Southern California. Chuck loves exploring various media, traditional and digital; finding particular satisfaction in creating illustrative work using watercolor, casein, gouache, and ink.
Instagram: @chuck_grieb
Vimeo Page:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wolves in Plain Sight

Artist: Vin Ganapathy, United States
Artist Statement: I used a red ink induced water brush and to create a background. When it dried, I drew over it with white ink, Japanese Brush pens and gouache to create the image. The piece was my reaction to society’s willingness to accept masks and facades, complacency with what’s bad and ultimately dangerous.

MEDIA: Ink and gouache
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

Vin is an artist and illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. He draws on multiple influences that inform his imagery and work. Mixing pen, pencil and paint, Vin’s illustrations are marked by fine, almost-frail line work and sudden bursts of color. Taking slice-of-life inspiration from the city around him, his drawings are strangely kinetic and eerily true-to-life.
Instagram: @vinganapathy


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Kelly Slater

Artist: Dean Spinks, Australia.
Artist Statement: Kelly Slater. The greatest human to ever set foot on a surfboard, mesmerising both in and out of the water. The only way to do the great man justice was to go larger than life with this drawing. Working exclusively with fine tip black markers, I require a fine-tooth, smooth paper with no bleed. I searched far and wide but previously found it difficult to find anything larger than A3. Thankfully I discovered the Stillman & Birn Zeta Series. Large format [, fine-tooth paper, it meant I could continue with my crosshatching process, but on a much larger scale.

MEDIA: 0.1-0.8mm black marker
SURFACE: Zeta series – Extra Heavyweight – 270gsm large format paper (22″ x 30″ – 55,9 x 76,2 cm.)

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Dean Spinks is a Sydney-based artist and designer. Obsessed with the symmetry and expression of the human face, Dean works almost exclusively in portraits. Using black ink markers, his unique crosshatching style allows for high contrast and great detail, creating dramatic, impactful works of art.
Instagram: @deanspinks



Saturday, January 7, 2017


Artist: Mark Fraley, United States
Artist Statement: I had a series of recent sketchbook entries that I was not a big fan of. They were overworked, unfocused, not in line with what I set out to do. I decided to make a Hokusai-inspired wave to create a two page spread that would essentially “reverse the tide” of less inspired entries. I used the wave as a metaphor of sorts. I wanted to keep it simple and have a direct visual impact. In order to do so, I first used a dip pen in blue ink to outline the wave. I then proceeded to create depths by using a brush and varied levels of ink to saturate the paper. I also sprinkled salt over wet areas to give texture.
To finish this entry, I applied a layer of acrylic wash to color the sky. I decided to omit the reference to Mount Fuji and make this wave not bound by geographical location.

My Stillman & Birn softcover Gamma Series handles ink and wash so well that I have devoted almost every page of this sketchbook to this medium, which I had started for Inktober 2016. I have a level of confidence with how I know the paper will respond that it helps me envision the drawing or sketch even before I begin.

MEDIA: Ink, wash, and acrylic
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Mark Fraley is a special education teacher and visual artist, who focuses on portraits and large scale collages. He has authored and illustrated his personal story of cancer survival in the book titled “Creation of Calm: A Cancer Survivor’s Sketchbook Story”, through Cladach Publishing. Sketchbooks are his launching point, and his projects all find root within their pages.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Strasbourg Astronomical Clock

Artist: Cristina Urdiales, Spain
Artist Statement: I sketched this piece during a summer holiday trip to Strasbourg in August, 2016. This clock is inside the cathedral. [Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, Alsace, France]. There are lots of people around and it only gets illuminated for five minutes now and then, so I had to work very fast.

I did the line work with a sepia marker without a pencil reference. Then, I did the shadows using sepia watercolors as well. Finally, I applied flat colors to the sketch. Since I had a lot of free space, I decided to fill it with the clock mechanisms, which are partially visible through glass panes. I chose to use a sanguine marker for this, so even though mechanisms are more elaborated than the clock, they still would appear as a background.

[Ed note: The main features of the clock, besides the hands, are a perpetual calendar and planetary dial, a display of the real position of the sun and the moon, and solar and lunar eclipses. The main attraction is the procession of the 18-inch high figures of Christ and the Apostles which occurs every day at half past midday while a life-size cock crows three times. Source: Wikipedia]

MEDIA: Markers (Faber-Castell Pitt sepia and sanguine) and watercolors
SURFACE: Gamma series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Cristina Urdiales is a Spanish robotics engineer who enjoys travel sketching. Her sketchbooks cover more than 50 different countries. She only carries around a limited supply of easy to carry materials. She works mostly with waterproof markers and watercolors.
Instagram: @crisurdiales


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best Wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year

“The Rocket” (1909)
Artist: Edward Middleton Manigault (1887 – 1922)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Location: Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Liz Steel’s Sketchbook 97

We thank Australian artist Liz Steel for sharing this video tour (and review) of her Alpha Series softcover sketchbook.


Video Tour:

Media: Ink, watercolor, collage
Surface: Alpha Series (softcover) – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hobby Horse

Artist: Christina Yoder, United States
Artist Statement: My husband and I often love to dream about fun things together, one of which was that he wanted to create an actual, working carousel for me someday and he would create the ‘works’ of the machine, while I would carve the horses for the carousel. It’s probably an impossible dream, but we love to think this way anyway and one day I decided to do a sketch of one of the carousel horses using a Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook. The paper readily accepted first a layer of pastel, then marker and ink overlay to create a beautiful piece of whimsy that I keep for our ‘big dream’ of having a carousel someday. The combination of bright colors and metallic inks in the drawing really stand out and I can only hope that if I create this piece for real someday that the colors can be just as vivid!

MEDIA: Marker, pastel and metallic ink
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Christina Yoder is a graphic designer & fine artist who has worked professionally in the illustration and design industries for over twenty years. Her works have been printed and displayed throughout the U.S. and Canada in large and small retail stores alike.