Stillman and Birn
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

The management team at Stillman & Birn wish you a happy and healthy 2019.

“A view of the Fireworks and Illuminations at his Grace the Duke of Richmonds’s at Whitehall and on the River Thames” (1749)
Hand-colored etching
Beard Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum

This etching illustrates the royal fireworks on the Thames in the Whitehall section of London (near Big Ben) on May 15, 1749. The fireworks display was for the benefit of King George II to celebrate the victory of the British over the Austrian in the War of Succession. This was the occasion for which George Frideric Handel composed his renowned “Music for the Royal Fireworks”.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Big Fella

Artist: Conrad McEwan, United Kingdom
Artist Statement: For this piece I wanted to make Santa look more real, after all, he is based on Saint Nicholas from Asia Minor in the 1st Century AD. The golden halo is a nod to the religious iconography associated with him, combined with the more modern version we know today. The hipster mustache is quite contemporary, but also harks back to days gone by. Although he is lit from below, which is usually quite a sinister lighting, I wanted to give the impression of him by a warm fire or lit by Christmas tree lights. The hatching style is a quick way of building up tonal values while allowing for some subtlety. It always amazes me that close up it is just a bunch of squiggles and marks on a page, but from a distance, the whole picture comes into better focus. Apart from all of this, it’s just a festive picture to help get me in the mood.

MEDIA: Ink, metallic ink, and paint markers
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Grey – Medium Grain Finish

Conrad McEwan is a freelance commercial illustrator and graphic designer from Leicestershire in the UK. Having spent most of his career on digital work for clients, he was keen to get back to using more traditional media when he joined Leicester Sketch Club recently and create art for himself. He works with several different media and each has their own style, but he mainly works with pens. He enjoys working on toned paper with a limited colour palette, as it’s fairly quick but also can look really effective. His ethos is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy art supplies as long as the surface you’re working on is good quality. Having suffered with arthritis all his adult life, sketching can be a distraction from the pain and a relief when a lack of mobility forces him to stay indoors. When he can, he does enjoy urban sketching although it is much harder in the winter months. Conrad plans to develop his work a little more and prepare a body of work for an exhibition in the new year. He is also in the process of updating his Etsy shop where some of his digital lino-cut prints are available. These are digital drawings using lino-cut techniques created on an IPad Pro using Adobe Draw. He is available for commissions for both portraits and illustration work.
Instagram: @mcewan_creative
Twitter: @mcewancreative

Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Giveaway Winners Announced

These are the ten winners of our 2018 Holiday Giveaway:

Michael Basler
Colin Breaud
Elena Chan
Colin Dowden
Debra Keirce
Trey Murrah
Eric Scott
Jim Serrett
Grant Thomas
Kristin Gjerdset

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Red Button Radish

Artist: Dr. Disha Chauhan, India
Artist Statement: I love capturing everyday happenings around me on paper and over time have realised they work as great inspiration for colour, form and detailing study. In the process I am also trying to understand my own style too. As I have been trying major changes in my life to eat healthily, I have started taking my grocery seriously and found these splashy radishes during my recent trip to local market. Although I don’t like radishes, but know their health benefits. To be honest I was smitten by their colour and wanted to understand the lovely tones so just grabbed them and tried this watercolour study in my sketchbook.

MEDIA: Watercolour
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Disha Chauhan is a Neurobiologist and Watercolor and Digital artist who lives in India and is also certified Natural History Illustrator. She has recently discovered the Urban Sketchers chapter of Delhi, India and is uncovering new life for the city.

You can see more of her work on Instagram: @thevisualstoriesstudio

Friday, December 7, 2018

Holiday Giveaway

We’re giving away ten Stillman & Birn sketchbook sets. The set consists of a 5½ x 8½ portrait and a 3½ x 5½ landscape sketchbook. The sketchbooks are our popular softcover bindings, which are lightweight, robust and open remarkably flat. Winners can choose one of six paper options from our core series, Alpha through Zeta.

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 December 14, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST.

Winners will be picked at random on Saturday, December 15, 2018. Winners will be notified by email and their names will be announced on our blog and social media sites that day. We will naturally respect any winner’s instructions to remain unnamed.

You must be over the age of 18 in order to enter; only one entry per person. No purchase required. No geographical restrictions.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Snow in February: Through the Front Window at Home

Artist: Pat Southern-Pearce, United Kingdom
Artist Statement: This was my first ever sketch in a grey Stillman & Birn Nova Series sketchbook: a sample (as they were not yet in the stores), a gift at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago in 2017, and very special. It led to so much.

I’d been in Germany for three weeks for Christmas and New Year and returned to yet more cold and rain. By February, the snow was thick and this was our front garden, our mini-orchard of 8 raised beds, apple trees and white picket fencing, with the sun trying, valiantly, to break through. I love shapes against the sky, intense darks, pattern and spots and stripes, and bare winter trees and this had them all. It was warm and cozy inside, drawing through the window: a treasured memory and the grey paper was perfect!

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor crayon
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Grey – Medium Grain Finish

Pat Southern-Pearce, British artist and urban sketcher, travels the world teaching workshops and teaches young children too. Trained as a painter, line and colour happen together as she draws and she loves “catching the moment” in skies. Instagram: @patsourthernpearce

Pat is running a series of seven Urban Sketching Workshops in Australia in January & February, 2019. Most are full but there are still a number of places remaining on the two noted dates below. Everyone signed up is to have the fun of one of Stillman & Birn’s hot-off –the-press Nova Trio sketchbooks.

Tasmania: 12th & 13th January – Weekend

Sydney: 19th January – Single day

Sydney: 20th January – Single day

Sydney: 26th & 27th January – Weekend
A few places available – Contact Email:

Sydney: 3rd February – Single Day

Sydney: 16th & 17th February Weekend

Sydney: 23rd & 24th February Weekend
A few places available – Contact Email:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Introducing Nova Trio

Nova Trio is a wirebound sampler sketchbook that has mixed sheets of the three Nova Series shades, beige, grey and black. This product allows artists to compare the same drawing on different shades of paper and to experiment with the three Nova shades before investing in a sketchbook of a single shade.

Nova Series toned papers are double-sized for enhanced wet strength and made to support mixed media artwork.

150 gsm – Medium Grain – Beige, Grey and Black

Two sizes: 6” x 8” (15.2 x 20.3 cm.) and 7” x 10” (17.8 x 25.4 cm.), Wirebound

Thank you to renowned British artist, Pat Southern-Pearce, a toned paper specialist, for her design of the Trio triptych packaging.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Asiatic Lily

Artist: Erik Davis, United States
Artist Statement: Nature and our garden are a great source of inspiration for me, and when summer arrived, the subject matter became fantastic. I enjoy trying to capture the flowers and other plant life in our garden. It’s been really nice keeping a visual record of all the changes of the course of the season. This Asiatic lily is a favorite of my wife’s which grows right outside her office window. It seemed like a perfect subject for sketching.

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

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Erik Davis is a watercolor artist who likes to create some kind of art, either a watercolor or a quick pencil sketch every day. His sketches and painting focus on nature and he works a little loose which gives his art energy and freshness. Erik’s media has been ink and watercolor but he is now transitioning to pencil and watercolors.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Melbourne Architecture Puzzler

Artist: Mark Poulier, Australia
Artist Statement: On Instagram, I like to challenge followers with quizzes and teasers. I often draw a detail, a grouping of odd couples, leave bits out or draw unidentified buildings in a post and ask followers to solve the riddle I propose.

This sketch of a window detail of a prominent building in Melbourne is just one of these puzzles. To this minute, I don’t think anyone has identified it. I drew from a photograph I’d taken as it was a very cold and wet wintery day here. It took a few hours and I used one pen, the finest nib I have. I like to use one pen only, it gives a drawing a consistent texture with the effect of all strokes belonging together. The paper stiffness of 270 gsm and the delicate fine nib made drawing it feel good to exploit this contrast.

MEDIA: Micron ink pen, 003 fine nib
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Mark Poulier is an Art Director who has always sketched architecture throughout his life. He has sketched his way around the world, filling A5 sketchbooks and sharing them on Instagram since 2015. His subjects range from baroque Rome to modern graphic skyscrapers of Chicago, but always in pen and delicately detailed. Exhibited in small shows, Mark’s work is gaining a following and commissions are regularly sought. He is driven to sharing his passion for drawing and offers masterclasses in Melbourne and international destinations in the future.

Contact through the website:
Instagram: @markpoulierart

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Highland Cattle

Artist: Oliver Meinerding, United States
Artist Statement: Years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Scotland with my wife. Not only were the land and architecture astounding, but so were some of the animals. Particularly eye-catching were the iconic Highland Cattle which I was able to grab a few photos of. With this sketch, I was hoping to exaggerate the muted colors of the Scottish landscape that day and just have fun interpreting the big shapes and shaggy tufts of hair found on the beast. They have so much character with their size, color and texture; it really was a joy to paint.

MEDIA: Traditional gouache and acrylic gouache
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Oliver Meinerding is an illustrator and graphic designer in the Cincinnati,OH/Northern KY area. He has been published in ImagineFX magazine and the Spectrum Art Annual, and has worked for clients such as Captain Morgan and Old Spice. He enjoys working in all kinds of media.
Instagram: oliverdraws_

Friday, August 17, 2018

Bangkok Skytrain

Artist: Suppachai Vong (Louis), Thailand
Artist Statement: This picture was created while waiting for friends at this major Bangkok train station of the ARI BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System). I arrived almost an hour early to meet friends. Luckily, I carry my watercolors and sketchbooks all the time. I found the right seat in the station and then gradually used the pens to draw. From the bottom left corner pillar to the right, I used a blue pen to draw the station structure and a brown pen to draw people to divide the two subjects. For painting, I used a pair of blue and orange watercolors but painted the Skytrain red. I left the floor white, for contrast, using a small brush to draw lines.

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

Suppachai Vong (Louis) is a student of Thai architecture, with a particular interest in urban art. Much of his artwork involves drawing houses, especially ornate historic Temples, which are almost palatial. Louis is an illustrator, teacher, and member of the Bangkok chapter of Urban Sketchers. He participates in the monthly sketching activities of the group.
Facebook Fanpage : louis sketcher   Instagram : lllouis

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Storm Clouds Scotland

Artist: Felicity Flutter, United Kingdom
Artist Statement: This piece was me visiting a subject away from my recent wave paintings. I particularly enjoy the challenge of painting skies and I had not produced one totally in black and white before. My reference came from a visit boating along the Scottish Lochs. I wanted a subject that was mostly sky and this scene was perfect for what I had in my mind to paint.

MEDIA: Watercolor, graphite, colored pencil
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Felicity Flutter is a British watercolorist, renowned for her seascapes. Her paintings have sold with the RI of Painters in Watercolour, the Society of Women Artists and ING Discerning Eye at the Mall Galleries. Her paintings are in collections throughout Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. She is a committee member for the Cranbrook Art Show and associate member of The Society of Graphic Fine Art.

Instagram/Twitter: @flicflutter

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Homemade Accordion Binding from Sample Pack

Artist: Suhita Shirodkar, United States
Artist Statement (abbreviated): Throwback to a month ago at the MacPherson’s Dealer Workshop in Las Vegas. I had a blast at Stillman & Birn’s booth, taking sample packs of their paper, turning them into accordion fold booklets (by taping them together, yes pretty grunge-style) and then playing on the paper with a variety of media. I’m particularly excited by the possibilities of gouache and opaque markers on the tinted Nova Series paper so I’m looking forward to more paper-play. See more details on my blog:

MEDIA: Gouache, watercolor, markers (Posca)
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige/Grey/Black – Medium Grain

Suhita Shirodkar is an obsessive sketcher, a freelance Illustrator, a graphic designer and a teacher.

Social Media Links:
Flickr stream:
Etsy shop:
Instagram: @suhitasketch
Portfolio and workshops schedule:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Petting Zoo

Artist Name: GABO, United States
Artist Statement: For this particular piece, I wanted to use a limited palette using Copic markers. I feel that using limited palettes help me understand values better. I chose to use alcohol-based markers because of their ability to blend and their portability. I did suffer SOME bleed-through in areas where I kept going over with the marker, but I’m okay with that. When I’m ready to move on to the next page I will make use of the bleed-through to create something entirely different. Some might see the bleed-through as ruining the other side of the page, but I treat it as a starting point for something new!

I’ve always been a big proponent of keeping sketchbooks with you at all times and filling them up until there’s absolutely no room left. I try to encourage my friends, mentees, and followers to treat their sketchbooks like a gym they can work out in, and not worry so much about ruining them with a bad drawing. The mere idea of the calling something a bad drawing is unacceptable as all drawings are just stepping stones to becoming a better artist! Your sketchbook should be a road map to how you are progressing!

I’ve talked to a lot of artists and there seems to be a lot of anxiety for some when breaking into a new sketchbook, and not wanting to ruin it. Just remember, your sketchbook is the one place you can dump whatever you want into! Let it get messy, let it run wild with ideas!

MEDIA: Pencil, Technical Pen with Carbon Ink, Gel Pen, Alcohol-based markers
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Grey – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST : GABO is a comic book artist who has worked for DC, Image and Oni Press. He spends most of his time working on a computer, so whenever he gets a chance he pours his mind into sketchbooks. You can find him doodling in his sketchbooks on his Twitch channel every Monday and Wednesday!
Instagram, Twitter, Twitch: @galvosaur

Saturday, July 21, 2018

She Gave Millions to Female Artists Over 40 Without Credit. Until Now.

Susan Unterberg anonymously created and funded a grant program that has paid out a total of $5.5 million over the last 22 years to support under-recognized female artists over age 40. The program is called ‘Anonymous Was a Woman’.

Unterberg, herself a once under-recognized female artist over 40, said she has decided reveal her identity so that she can more openly argue on behalf of women who are artists, demonstrate the importance of women supporting women and try to inspire other philanthropists. ““I feel I can be a better advocate having my own voice,” she said.

Statistics cited by the National Museum of Women in the Arts show that female artists earn 81 cents for every dollar made by male artists; that work by female artists makes up just 3 percent to 5 percent of major permanent museum collections in the United States and Europe; and that of some 590 major exhibitions by nearly 70 institutions in the United States from 2007 through 2013, only 27 percent were devoted to female artists.

SOURCE: New York Times

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Collège Saint-Marc

Artist: Reham M. Ali, Egypt
Artist Statement: This watercolor painting is a part of an art book/ exhibition I’m working on which I consider as visual/artistic documentation of my home town Alexandria, Egypt, capturing the city’s architectural landscape showing sketches for places and buildings that I have memories with .

The building featured in this sketch is one of the oldest and most prestigious Lassalian schools in Egypt that has been considered through years and years as one of the most famous landmarks of the city. The building has a unique architectural style and of course its famous alumni as well (both Egyptian or foreigners) reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the city, a characteristic I love to show in all my sketches about my town.
Ed. Note: The term “Lassalian” refers to a Catholic teaching order

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

Reham Moniem Ali is an Egyptian artist living in Alexandria. She was encouraged by a supportive family from a young age to pursue her artistic gifts. She now teaches interior architecture at the university level so drawing and many forms of art play a large part in her work. Urban art has now become a central theme in her work. Reham takes much inspiration from her home town of Alexandria, a city rich in all architectural styles from European to Islamic to modernism.
Instagram: @reham_m_a

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Looking for Artwork on Nova/Black

We’re looking for artwork done on Nova Series Black toned paper. The selected piece will be featured on an exciting project and we will of course be providing compensation if your image is chosen.

The artwork we are seeking should have some color in it (not just white) and should be vivid and interesting. Also the artwork should not contain nudity and should not be a complex composition.

If you have artwork you would like for us to consider, please write us at We’re looking forward to seeing your art!

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Artist Name: Saif Reid, United States
Artist Statement: This was an exploration of color. Portraiture is my favorite thing and combining that with multiple unconventional colors is how I have fun and discover new color combinations. With all of my pieces, I begin with non-local colors and choose random colors which work or do not work with it.

MEDIA: Neo-color II wax pastels
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Black – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST : Stephon (Saif) Reid, is from Brooklyn, New York and attends Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUARTS)
Twitter and Instagram: @stephtyedye

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Banana Plant , Lake Sandoval Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Artist: Doug Russell, United States
Artist Statement: Nearly half way through a recent month-long trip in Peru, I sat down to sketch this banana plant behind the Lake Sandoval Lodge in the rainforest near Puerto Maldonado. Taking advantage of some free time between nature hikes in the jungle and canoe rides on the lake, I drew this sketch in about an hour in between rain showers. I initially sketched the basic composition in graphite and then moved into the ink work, highlighting in the end with white.

For me, drawing on location is a way to be a witness of a place, a fleeting moment, a specific space in time. In that moment I am fully focused and present. It is truly one of the joys of travel and of drawing. In this instance at the lake I can still remember the sounds of the rainforest birds overhead, the wild Agouty running around the grounds, the smell of food being prepared in the lodge kitchen, and the chatter of other guests in the main room behind me and moving between huts. Once the rain really started pouring, I moved inside and refined a few final things on the drawing.

Overall the trip to Peru was a great experience and very rewarding in terms of drawing on site. I happily completed over thirty drawings while traveling through Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, Trujillo, Cajamarca, Leymebamba, Chachapoyas, and Lima. It was a great way to recharge my creative energies – and start my summer.

MEDIA: Platinum Carbon Black ink in Lamy Safari fountain pen with white Prismacolor pencil
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Grey – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Doug Russell is a visual artist and urban sketcher who lives and works in Laramie, Wyoming. Nearly every year he travels and draws for a month. Over the past several years his trips have included Peru, Indonesia, Cambodia, Turkey, and Italy. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Missoula Art Museum, the Helen E. Copeland Gallery in Bozeman, MT, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work is in several permanent collections, including The Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin. His work will be included in a drawing show at the William Havu Gallery in Denver, Colorado this fall – and in a solo exhibition at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming in 2019. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Art at the University of Wyoming where he is coordinator of the drawing program.
Instagram: @dougrussellart

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Study

Artist: Mickey, United Kingdom
Artist Statement: My goal as an artist is to master the craft of oil painting. My latest project is to fill a Beta Series sketchbook with portrait paintings of my friends, dogs, which all have a special story to tell.

This project requires some surface preparation of the pages: a couple of coats of gesso works perfectly, sometimes leaving brush and ridge marks for added texture and to experiment and have fun with my art. After all, these sketches are intended to just be oil studies, not finished pieces. I paint in an alla prima style in oils, finishing the paintings in one session to a fairly high level of completion. My goal is not to achieve perfection in the study because I want to learn something new each time with practice and this is a great way to build my skill level up quickly and efficiently.

Dogs have always been man’s best friend and bring huge amounts of joy to this world. So I intend on painting dog portraits for the rest of my life.

MEDIA: Oil Paint
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: The artist’s Instagram user name is @murderballad_