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Monday, March 30, 2015

Portrait of Daisy Pearl

Artist: Riko Colin Chock, United States
Artist Statement: This quick sketch is another try at understanding the properties of gouache and a little bit of facial anatomy. I used as a reference a photo from the fantastic iPhone app Sktchy.

What struck me about the particular reference photo were the beautiful colors of the subject’s hair and the nearly identical colors of her sunglasses and jacket. I used a Russett Caran d’Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle pencil to create a light wash to roughly block in the shapes and then started painting with Schmincke Horadam gouache in Stillman & Birn’s wonderfully robust Beta Series sketchbook. I post my artwork on my Flickr photostream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rikocolin/sets/

MEDIA: Water-soluble colored pencil and gouache
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Portrait of Daisy Pearl

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Iced Latte in Bangkok

Artist: Suppachai Vong (lllouis), Thailand
Artist Statement: I am a Thai artist, living in Bangkok. On Sunday afternoon I went to Siam Square, the heart of Bangkok’s shopping and entertainment district. I stopped at Lamune, the upscale stationery store, where I bought a Beta Series sketchbook. Then I went to the nearby Starbucks, got an iced latte and decided to draw the interior of the coffee shop while sipping my drink.

I started off with a loose pencil sketch. After that, I inked the sketch using a graphic liner, after which I added Winsor & Newton watercolors. I used a wash and glaze technique. I established the basic structure of my composition with the first washes and then refined the coloration with light layers of additional pigment. I spent around one hour on this artwork.

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

Starbucks Bangkok

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Callidoodle

Artist: Leigh Reyes, Philippines
Artist Statement: My drawings have words and my words have drawings. I “callidoodle” – many of my drawings, incorporate calligraphic strokes, for directional texture. My preferred pens are fountain pens with flexible nibs.

For this drawing, I appropriated this pose from a picture of me many years back, but it’s really all about her hair swirling with her thoughts. The ink is primarily Pilot Blue Black, with areas in Diamine Registrar’s ink. The washes came from the remnants of muddy browns and grays in my watercolor box. Zeta Series sketchbooks can handle mixed techniques and media with grace. They’re my new favorite.

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

Leigh Reyes

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Summer Breezes

Artist: Faustine Vaughn
Artist’s Statement: I am still a beginner in the process of finding my preferred art medium, so have been playing with inks, watercolors, markers, you name it. I love that my 7×7 Zeta Series sketchbook has taken most everything I’ve thrown at it well. Whatever media I use, I love the bright happy colors, and the whiteness of Zeta’s paper really makes them pop. This weekend, while it was cold and snowy outside, I finally had the chance to play with these Tombow (Dual Brush) markers, and these warm sunny colors just had to come out and play. This particular drawing – with the green palm fronds on yellow background – reminds me a lot of a past vacation to Miami – summer breezes, green trees and bright, bright sunshine. I sketched a basic outline with a Micron pen, then colored the areas in with the brush tip of the markers, and then outlined them with the fine tip of a black marker.

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

Summer Breezes

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

David Lynch: Graffiti Expresses Contempt for Community

From this Guardian article: “It takes someone as unshakably avant garde in his credentials as David Lynch to state the obvious: that scrawled and spray-painted inchoate messages on every corner of every city do not actually enrich our world. It is boring and expresses a generalised contempt for community. It is treated with absurd reverence by people who should know better.” We couldn’t agree more. http://bit.ly/1BtqPvn

Grafitti

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Storm Troopers

Artist: Allison Sohn
Artist Statement: People draw a lot of Star Wars imagery; as an authorized Lucasfilm artist, I’ve done my share. I think the way to make your art memorable, especially when drawing something like Storm Troopers, which can be so very same-y, is to do it in a way that makes your work stand out from the rest. Show people something they may not have seen before. I tried to do this using a unique lighting scenario, and if the paper couldn’t take how much ink I was laying into it, I would have failed.

When I work in marker on the Alpha Series paper, I’m prepared for the paper to be a bit thirsty – I may go through a little more ink, but I know I’ll also get wonderful blending ability. The markers I use are refillable, so I don’t worry about them going dry. I start by drawing my image [in pencil], and then laying down an area of flat color large enough to work detail into, but not so large that it will fully dry before I can go back into it with other colors. Then I blend those other colors in, going over it again and again with different color markers until I get the desired results.

The Stillman & Birn papers really take this sort of work so well. They don’t ripple with the excess ink; they don’t pill up from my constantly going over it and over it again. With the Alpha paper, there is surprisingly little bleed through, considering how much ink I lay into an image. I think it’s just ideal for the sort of watercolor effect I like to go for with my markers.

MEDIA: Pencil and markers
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish

Ed. Note: You can see more of Allison Sohn’s artwork on her Deviant Art photostream here: http://allisonsohn.deviantart.com/

Allison was kind enough to also share four fascinating work-in-progress shots of this piece. These illustrate the layering process from the pencil underdrawing to the finished work. These are posted here below the finished work.

Storm Troopers

Storm Troopers – Final Artwork

 

Storm Troopers Layer 2

Storm Troopers Layer 2

Storm Troopers Layer 4

Storm Troopers Layer 4

Storm Troopers Layer 7

Storm Troopers Layer 7

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Freehand Sketching

Larry Marshall has written a great review about a book that will be of interest to most artists.  http://www.larrydmarshall.com/book-review-freehand-sketching-an-introduction/

FreehandSketching

 

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Channeling Dürer

Artist: Anya Toomre
Artist Statement: I am enrolled in the online Sketchbook Skool and was presented with the creative challenge of stealing an admired artist’s work. I chose Albrecht Dürer because the animals he has drawn have always fascinated me. I knew about his Hare and Walrus, but only recently came across his Rhinoceros. Given some of the inaccuracies, like the horn on the base of the neck, and scales on the legs and feet, I wonder on what he based his drawing. Dürer’s Rhino is a intriguing drawing; it seems whimsical to me, although likely not his intent, and has wonderful line work. I tried to copy his version as closely as I could.

I sketched the basic body and bigger shapes of the Rhino in pencil onto my Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook. The subject looks complicated but as I started inking it with my current favorite pen, a Copic multi liner 0.3 mm, the design came together smoothly. I tried to break each section and area down, as Dürer had drawn his. Once I got down the main elements, filling in the rest of the shape became more meditative and relaxing. That was a good thing since it took a long time to actually complete. I enjoyed playing with the date and initials on the original to reflect what I’d drawn but also to honor Dürer’s label as well. His Rhinoceros was from 1515, five hundred years ago, so I only needed to change two numbers. His signature was usually the initials ‘AD’. Mine are ‘AT’. It wasn’t a major design shift to change a ‘D’ into a ‘T’. Those were small things but were fun to also incorporate into the picture.

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

Anya Toomre Durer rhino 2015 300 dpi WM

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Monday, March 9, 2015

March Giveaway Winners Announced

StillmanMarchGiveaway_2015_Winners (3)

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Winter Cardinals

Artist: Amy Norkitis
Artist statement: I have been consistently drawing and painting in sketchbooks for about six years. I rarely do any artwork outside of a sketchbook. I love that my artwork is contained in one place and is so portable. If I’m drawing on location, I just grab my bag and toss in my sketchbook, some pens, and my travel watercolor kit and I’m ready to go!

However, it’s been cold and I’ve been staying inside more, so I did this painting sitting at my kitchen table looking out of the window at my neighbor’s new bird feeder – the cardinals are loving whatever seed is in there! There were so many of them, and they looked so beautiful and bright against the snow and greenery that I felt inspired to try to capture the moment in my sketchbook.

I started with a light wash of watercolor; no pens or pencils first because I wanted the painting to stay loose. I added about three more fairly light glazes of watercolor, letting each layer dry before putting down the next. I’ll admit, when I finished with the watercolors I wasn’t too happy with it, but I very rarely give up on a sketch. I decided at this point to add a quick outline with a black (Micron) pen. I liked it a bit more, but something still seemed to be missing. I then added a loose pattern of snow with a white (Gellyroll) pen, and that seemed to pull it all together for me!

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

Winter Cardinals

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Sargent Returns to the Prado

Velásquez’ painting “Las Meninas” famously inspired a major tribute by Picasso. But John Singer Sargent was among the many other artists also greatly influenced by the Velásquez and he copied it when he visited Madrid’s Prado Museum in his youth. Later, Sargent used the inspiration of “Las Meninas” to create his society portrait “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit”. Now Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has loaned the Sargent to the Prado and this is the first time the two great paintings will be exhibited side by side. http://bit.ly/18ncSbr via Zech Ray

Sargent returns to the Prado

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Field Trip to Molbak’s

Artist: Charlene Collins Freeman
Artist Statement: I am a sketcher, watercolorist and art instructor. I am drawn to objects and scenes which, through their ordinary and familiar qualities, take on a sense of beauty. Something catches my eye, something common, and in the process of sketching it, it strikes me as extraordinary. There is great beauty in the everyday quiet moments that surround us.

I have been painting and sketching for most of my life. About ten years ago I started thinking about leaving the corporate world and becoming a full-time artist. The more I day dreamed about it, the more the idea took hold. Within a few years I found myself quitting my day job and jumping in to painting, sketching and teaching art. Best. Gig. Ever.

One of my preferred avenues for opening students up to creativity is sketchbooking. Developing a habit of visually documenting one’s life can be an extremely rewarding, life-long habit. I believe that through art and play adults and children alike are able to understand their world and to establish connections to different areas in their life. Through art we are better able to understand and fall in love with the world around us.

This sketch was done on site during a sketchbook field trip with my students to Molbak’s, a local beautiful home and garden shop in Woodinville, Washington. [Charlene’s website: www.charlenecollinsfreeman]

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

Molbak's

 

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Monday, March 2, 2015

March Giveaway

We’re giving away ten Stillman & Birn sketchbooks bundled with a 25-piece graphite collection, the Pitt Monochrome Studio Set from Faber-Castell®. The deluxe graphite set contains both traditional as well as woodless pencils plus water-soluble graphite. The sketchbook is a 9” x 6” hardbound, a choice of either a Alpha Series (white) or Gamma Series (ivory).

———————–

TO ENTER:
Simply email us with your name to: contest@stillmanandbirn.com. We will automatically enter you. You will receive an email reply confirming your entry within 48 hours. Entry to this contest closes March 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.

NOTIFICATION:
Winners will be picked at random on March 9, 2015 and will be announced on our blog and social media sites that day.

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

———————–

ABOUT FABER CASTELL® PITT MONOCHROME STUDIO SET:
Contains 25 assorted pieces including CASTELL® 9000 pencils, CASTELL® 9000 Jumbo pencils, PITT Graphite Pure woodless pencils, Graphite Aquarelles (water-soluble graphite) plus accessories.
Castell 9000®: Superior leads made of finely ground graphite and clay.
CASTELL® 9000 Jumbo: Oversized, professional quality 5.3mm lead with extra break-resistant graphite tips.
PITT Graphite Pure: Solid graphite, lacquer coated for use like a pencil. Can be sharpened like a conventional wood-cased pencil. Suitable for expressive shading of large areas.
Graphite Aquarelles: Graphite aquarelle watercolor pencils feature a water-soluble graphite core that dissolves completely with a wet brush, leaving behind a soft coat of graphite that dries to waterproof finish. Use them to shade, add depth or create your own unique graphite paintings.

ABOUT STILLMAN & BIRN ALPHA SERIES & GAMMA SERIES:
Stillman & Birn Alpha and Gamma Series contain heavyweight mixed media papers which will support a wide variety of both dry media and repeated washes with wet media. With exceptional wet strength and a surface that also readily accepts line art and multiple erasures, these robust papers allow artists to combine drawing and painting techniques on the same sheet. Archival quality.
• Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Surface
• Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Surface

StillmanMarchGiveaway_2015 rev

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Santorini

Artist: Nat Nattapan, Thailand
Artist Statement: The beautiful Greek island of Santorini is my most favorite place. I created this drawing with a Lamy fountain pen loaded with carbon black ink and then added Winsor & Newton watercolor. It took me one hour do to do the sketch and then another hour to do add the watercolor.

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

santorini

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stillman & Birn at Art Materials Expo – Duluth, Ga.

We’ll be exhibiting at three-day Art Material Expo this weekend at the Gwinnett Center outside of Atlanta. Great deals on Stillman & Birn and most other art material brands too.

Gwinnett Center – 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway – Duluth, GA 30097

Friday, February 20 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 21 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday, February 22 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

At Art Material Expo:
•Special prices on the products artists reach for everyday!
•Product demonstrations on new materials and techniques!
•Special Presentations from internationally known artists!
•Classes for children through the advanced artist!
•Presentations from local community art organizations!

 

Final-AME-logo

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tokyo Train Commuters

Artist: Russell Stutler, Japan
Artist Statement: For the new year I decided to focus on ink drawings, so I bought a new Epsilon Series wirebound sketchbook. This drawing was done entirely in brush and ink, and the models were fellow train commuters. These four people were not together when I saw them, but it made for a cute scene when I put them together!

The drawing was done entirely with brush and ink using a Kuretake synthetic bristle brush pen and Platinum carbon ink. Since I’m not planning on overlaying watercolor, I suppose any ink would do, but I’ve gotten used to carbon ink, and it does prevent some smudging if my finger rubs against it. I like this wirebound sketchbook because I can arrange the pages so that the drawing surface is directly on the desk top, which helps when my hand goes off the page.

MEDIA: Ink
SURFACE: Epsilon Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Ed. Note: Russell Stutler is the founder and custodian of the renowned Sketching Forum: http://www.sketching.cc/index.html

Russell Stutler

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Darwin Sketchbooks Now Available Online

Thanks to Jan Blencowe for posting this article about Conrad Martens, the artist who accompanied Darwin on his explorations of the Galapagos Islands. These sketchbooks have now been digitized and have been put online by Cambridge University. To read more and access the sketchbooks online: http://bit.ly/1Ccw2Lw  This is the video about the sketchbooks created by Martens on Darwin’s voyage of The Beagle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D1K22Rbc20#t=76

Page from Conrad Martens’s sketchbooks (1833–35), from his time on board the HMS Beagle (courtesy Cambridge University Library)

Page from Conrad Martens’s sketchbooks (1833–35), from his time on board the HMS Beagle (courtesy Cambridge University Library)

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Rugged Cosmos

Artist: Ellen Ward, United States
Artist Statement: I use the Alpha Series for almost everything. The lighter weight of the paper is really pleasing for journal work and both wet and dry media are easily manipulated on the surface. Alpha has a slight tooth, and results in a light texture when a field is quickly developed. In this drawing I tried to retain the rough, sketchy vibe of pencil on paper. Using this quality, I combined complementary colors in shadows to avoid losing saturation. I was not interested in burnishing or blending pencils to look like an oil painting. It is a viable technique, but I lack that kind of patience: oil painting is faster!

I grow Cosmos [flowers] in my garden and despite their apparent fragility, these survived into the first few cold days of Fall. I chose this subject to demonstrate the versatility of the Alpha paper in its ability to imply a variety of surfaces when using pencil: wood, glass, atmosphere, flora. In any shadow area there may be three or more colors, speckled over the surface. Reflections are based on observation, and it is a good strategy to isolate the highlights and low lights immediately to establish depth. Warm colors describe the foreground and cooler colors describe distant elements.

This image avoids using gray, black, or dark brown but instead allows the eye to optically mix color flecks juxtaposed side by side to create neutrals. Overall I used only about five pencils to complete the image. This choice to limit the palette was a practical one. A limited palette is a simple device to visually unify an image. Sketching with only five pencils is a great exercise in restraint and forces one to become creative with layering, color combinations, and composition.

MEDIA: Colored pencil
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain

WARD PENCILFLORAL

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Gapstow Bridge

Artist: Joanne Gustilo, United States
Artist Statement: Central Park is definitely one of the best places to capture winter’s finest landscapes. It is absolutely beautiful, a winter wonderland in the heart of New York City. The park is covered with mounds of snow, after a blizzard hit the city a week ago. While walking and watching, the light snow falls and swirls and gives a feeling of both nostalgia and happiness. A magical moment that I need to capture before it melts away.

It was very cold for plein air painting at this time, so I just took tons of photographs for future references. I choose to sketch and paint the Gapstow Bridge, perhaps one of the popular and most photographed bridges in Central Park. I just lightly outlined the bridge and foreground with pencil, and I decided to make a full spread layout on my sketchbook. I limited my watercolor palette to Daniel Smiths’ Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Purple and a little bit of Paynes Grey in order to capture the color tones of winter.

This is my first time to use the Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook, and must say I have reservations at first because I am used to and love working on the Beta Series sketchbook with its textured finish. But I fall in love with the Zeta sketchbook right away. I love the smoothness of the paper, even if I had puddles of water on it. It holds up very well with my heavy watercolor washes and lifting colors is much easier due its smooth surface. I think I will enjoy working with the Zeta Series sketchbook from now on as much as I have with the Beta sketchbook. And I am very pleased also with the size that I chose, which is an 8 1/2″ x 11″, a perfect size for me to play.

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

Copy of 2015-02-04 16.00.44

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Singapore Temple

Artist: Edric Hsu, Singapore
Artist’s Statement: I am a freelance illustrator, and I dream of one day writing and illustrating my own story books. This is a drawing of the Tang Gah Beo Temple, located at Bukit Purmei district of Singapore, not far from where I live and grew up. This is the temple where my late parents’ and relatives’ ancestral tablets are housed, and where I often visit to pay my respects to them. I drew this sketch at the temple entrance on my 42nd birthday, on the 4th November, right after my visit.

I have lived in this neighbourhood my entire life, and basically all my fond memories of my growing up years were from here. Sadly, many of these places had long been demolished and rebuilt as industrial warehouses and condominiums. Thankfully, the century-old Tang Gah Beo Temple has remained, along with its neighbour, the Church of St. Teresa.

Here I used my favourite waterproof Kuretake ZIG Writer marker (that comes with dual 0.5mm and 1.2mm tips) and my small travel palette of Holbein and Rembrandt watercolours. The only brush I used here is a #12 ColorPro Series 2350-P travel brush.

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

Tang Gah Beo Temple

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