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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_

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Manhattan Courthouse

Artist: Kris Mordecai, United States
Artist Statement: After a cold, lingering winter in New York, the weather finally turned warm enough to enjoy sketching outdoors again, and I was blessed with a long lunch break during jury duty. I sat in Foley Square in downtown Manhattan and created this sketch of the New York County Courthouse in ink and watercolor on a bright and sunny afternoon.

The courthouse’s colonnade is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, and its wide, imposing staircase and sculpture work give it the appearance of being a temple of justice. I enjoyed offsetting all the authoritarian imagery by including the first greens of early spring and the brightly colored hot dog vendor’s cart and halal food truck on the sidewalk. Against a rather solemn backdrop, they bring in an element of the organic, chaotic “real” New York that I love—the fast-paced, noisy, ever-changing city full of people and plants and animals all trying to make their way on small, densely populated, heavily built-up island.

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

Kris Mordecai is an urban sketcher, illustrator, and nonprofit manager based in New York City. He views on-location sketching as a mindfulness practice and as a way of connecting to the present moment, oneself, and one’s surroundings. His sketchbooks create a visual record of his everyday life and travels. You can find him on Instagram at @krismordecai


Friday, May 18, 2018

Smithsonian Castle

Artist: Amanda Kavanagh, United States
Artist Statement: This is a quick sketch from a recent trip to Washington, D.C. Normally when I’m visiting a city like D.C., I’m jumping from museum to monument to gallery, trying to take in as much as I can each day. It’s exhilarating and fun, but usually ends up as a blurry memory and a stack of photos buried somewhere on my computer. When I sit down and sketch I can often make a much stronger connection with a place.

We stopped by the Smithsonian Castle to take a short rest and grab a quick lunch between museum-hopping. I grabbed my sketchbook to pass the time while I waited for my friend. I didn’t know much about the history of the building at the time, but I later looked it up and added the text to fill up the page. In the end these are probably 20 minutes from the trip I can recall with the most clarity: the color of the building facade and intricacy of the window panes, the noisy group of school kids walking by in the drizzling rain, and the nearby cherry tree that was just beginning to bloom.

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

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Amanda Kavanagh is a graphic designer and painter living in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Instagram: @amanda.kavanagh

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The Smithsonian Castle was the Smithsonian Institution’s first building, constructed in 1855. It now houses most of the Institution’s administrative offices.]

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Cesar Santos Reviews Stillman & Birn

Thank you to Cesar Santos for taking the time to review our sketchbooks. In this video Cesar demonstrates how he prepares a Beta Series sketchbook with gesso and then creates an oil painting on it.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Living Room Sketch

Artist: Paul Heaston, United States
Artist Statement: I have sketched my wife Linda knitting or crocheting in the living room so many times I’ve lost count. Knitters make great models because they’re usually pretty still and relatively oblivious to someone sketching them, especially if it’s their husband. We’re expecting a new baby at the beginning of May so she was busy knitting matching dresses for our two-year-old daughter Juni and her new baby sister. I love documenting these little moments with a sketch. As a way to record a particular time in our lives it’s even better than a photo, and it’s something I look forward to sharing with our girls as they grow up.

MEDIA: Pen & ink (technical pen and gel pen)
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Finish

Paul Heaston was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, now living in Denver. He received his BFA in painting from the University of Texas, San Antonio and his MFA from Montana State University, where he continued on as a faculty member. He is an obsessive sketchbook-keeper. Heaston is a correspondent for, an internationally known website showcasing visual journalism all over the world, and in addition maintains his own sketch blog, Three Letter Word for Art 

Heaston is world-renowned for his virtuosity in draftsmanship. His work has advanced the theory and practice of curvilinear perspective (fisheye perspective) in which he works with as many as five vanishing points. Likewise, he is also an influencer in the integration of complex perspective theory with digital rendering techniques.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stillman & Birn Arrives in Denmark

We’re delighted to begin a new partnership with Stelling Art Supplies, our exclusive distributor in Denmark. Special thanks to our friend, Copenhagen illustrator Tomas Björnsson, who has been our advocate in Denmark. Mange tak, Tomas!

Stelling Kunstnerartikler
Amagertorv 9, 1.sal,
1160 København, Denmark
+45 33 33 05 20

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Stare Down or Steer Clear

Artist: Tim Oliver, United States
Artist Statement: This is a small color study for a larger watercolor piece that is in progress. Pencil and watercolor (Daniel Smith) in Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook. This sketch was laid out lightly and loosely from observation and photography in HB pencil. It was then painted in watercolor using successive glazes. I use this method regularly as I explore composition, values and color. Most of my final watercolor paintings, both plein air and studio, begin with studies such as this. Still debating the title of the final piece…right now it’s between “Stare Down” and “Steer Clear”….

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

Tim Oliver is a full time Landscape Architect and passionate watercolor artist and sketcher. He paints exclusively in watercolor and is dedicated to consistently keeping a sketching regimen. He sketches in pencil, pen and ink, water soluble graphite and watercolor. He holds associate membership in the Outdoor Painters Society, American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society and West Texas Watercolor Society. He is also a member of the GAS Painting group and Urban Sketchers Texas.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Gate to the Past

Artist: Seto Parama Artho, Indonesia
Artist Statement: Kotagede is a historic area in the city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Inside we can see many traditional and old buildings, quiet life, quiet alleys, silversmiths, relics, sites of the Islamic Mataram kingdom. Everything is present in the mystical and mythological atmosphere that cannot be separated from the spirit of life of the people of Java. I really like Kotagede and always want to be present in it. For me Kotagede is an oasis in the midst of modernity.

MEDIA: Pen & watercolor
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

I have loved sketches since I was in elementary school. Wherever I go I always carry sketchbooks. I love to walk especially to the old towns and take the time to sketch. Old towns have always been an inspiration for me in working and reflecting on life.
Instagram: @setoparama

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Artist: Holly Platt, United States
Artist Statement: When practicing my daily art exercises I have found that I prefer to use a notebook with a heavyweight paper. When using mixed media and primarily acrylic paint I do not have to worry about the paper warping and tearing if it is heavier. The Nova Series works well for my exercises and I am enjoying the unique color play of having a toned background. I prefer to slightly blur the line between representational and abstract styles, while focusing mainly on florals and landscapes.

MEDIA: Acrylic Paint
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Grey – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Holly Platt lives in Southern California where she works as a freelance artist. She grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and discovered her love of creativity at a very early age. She studied art at SLCC and the U of U. She is an award-winning artist and has had work at local galleries. You can see more of her work on Instagram @hollyplatt


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland

Artist: Soma Acharya, United States
Artist Statement: When I was travelling to England, I wanted to take a painting project with me to fill the long 10 hours of travel time on the plane. I found an old photo I took of Dryburgh Abbey in Scotland. The photo reminded me of how much I fell in love with the tranquil setting of the place.

I picked watercolour pencils because of the space constriction of an airplane seat. The colours of Derwent watercolour pencils are less intense than those of Inktense pencils, and are easier to lift off if needed. They also blend beautifully. Weathered stone structures is one of my favourite subjects to paint. I had a lot of fun with layering the colours and creating water stains.

As I was painting, I was reliving the moments of standing in front of the quiet Dryburgh Abbey Chapter House all on my own, soaking in the atmosphere of an old, wet stone ruin.

MEDIA: Watercolour pencils
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain

As an eternal lover of stories, it is important for me to have a background story to the art I am creating. Although I love to paint with watercolour, I let the subject of the painting dictate the media.

I am happiest when I am travelling and experiencing the world up close. Seeing nature through science-coloured glasses gives me a deeper joy. Photography is a passion. I use it for journalling and for creativity, capturing the abundance of colour and movement around me. Life fuels and inspires my art.
Instagram: @whims.n.fancies

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Chappell Hill, TX Residence

ARTIST: Michael Broshar, United States

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

Michael Broshar is a practicing architect and watercolor artist. He started painting watercolors in 2013 after working in digital art for a number of years, and now paints exclusively in watercolor. He sketches in pencil and watercolor, sometimes also using ink and gesso. He never travels without his sketchbook, which is his tool to capture images and scenes as he travels around the United States. Those sketchbook images often become the basis for a finished studio painting. He holds associate membership in the American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society, and is a signature member of the Iowa Watercolor Society.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Portrait of Chris Pine

Artist: Ong Kok Leong, Singapore
Artist Statement: I was very impressed with Chris Pine’s portrayal of Steve Trevor in the blockbuster movie Wonder Woman. He certainly gave a fresh interpretation compared to the classic Lynda Carter’s version and the animated 2009 animated version. I’ve recently purchased a small Beta soft cover sketchbook and decided to use it mainly for portrait work. Painting a portrait on a small surface is quite challenging but I really enjoy it. I’m primarily a portrait watercolorist and I love how the Beta paper takes watercolor paints and the result that it gives.

MEDIA: Watercolors
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Born and based in Singapore, Kok Leong began drawing at a tender age of four. Although he had taken art lessons in his early school years, Kok Leong is essentially self-taught. After a long hiatus from art, he began posting his work on Facebook in 2012 and has been drawing and painting ever since. Kok Leong has done commissions for local independent retailers, illustrated concert promotional material, as well as created paintings for friends and family.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fragrance of Spring

Artist: Irina Safronova, Russia
Artist Statement: I created this artwork in stages. After determining the layout, I first moistened each petal section of the tulip on the paper with water, then introduced multiple watercolour washes, wiped with a wet brush. I layered bright places to build up color. After drying I added even more washes and did this glazing until I got the effects that I wanted. This work was almost like a puzzle, working petal by petal, drawing every bud. The emphasis was made on the central tulip, as it is the main object of the composition. The paints I used were from Winsor & Newton as well as a premium Russian watercolor brand, the “White Nights” range of Nevskaya Palitra. [Ed.: Available on Amazon]

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

Irina Safronova is a Russian artist living in City of Krasnodar in the Armavir Province. Irina works mostly in watercolours and occasionally in pastels. She draws on inspiration from the world around her and especially likes working on botanical subjects.


Название работы: благоухание весны
Художник: Ирина Сафронова Россия Краснодарский край Армавир
Материал: акварель
Скетчбук серия ZETA-270gsm

Ирина Сафронова пишет в основном акварелью, иногда пастелью. Понравилась бумага в скетчбуке, она прекрасно выдерживает несколько слоев акварели и справляется с поставленной задачей. Вдохновение черпает от окружающего мира, любит рисовать цветы.

Данную работу выполняла поэтапно, сначала смачивала каждый лепесток тюльпана водой, затем вводила акварельные растворы, протирала влажной кистью светлые места для формирования объема. После высыхания были сделаны доработки, лессировками. Так лепесток за лепестком, собирая работу, как пазлы:) я рисовала каждый бутон. Акцент был сделан на центральном Тюльпане, он является основным объектом композиции.

Краски были использованы от разных производителей: Белые ночи Невская палитра, W&N, кисть колонок.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cat’s Eye

Artist: Maryanne Pitman, U.K.
Artist Statement: The image that I was going to use was of a black and white domestic cat, the focus being on the eye. Now I wanted to be a bit lazy with this one and do as little drawing as possible, so selected the black shade paper (and this is a good true black shade, not that wishy washy black that some papers tend to be). It was a case of love at first sight between the Polychromos and the Nova Series, as the pigments adhered to the paper brilliantly, and with what little blending that was needed worked effortlessly. So I felt that I had achieved what I had set out to do as the black paper did most of the work for the negative drawing and popping out the eye so as to give it that glass marble effect. Thank you Stillman & Birn, this is a top notch paper!

MEDIA: Faber-Castell Polychromos colour pencils (oil based)
SURFACE: Nova Series (Black) – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Medium Grain Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Maryanne Pitman now lives in Dorset, UK, after having grown up in South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Maryanne primarily works in graphite pencil, but dabbles in anything that leaves a mark on surfaces!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Zeta Series

Extra Heavyweight: 270 gsm
Shade: White
Surface: Smooth
Media: Dry & wet media, watercolor, ink

Excerpt from online review:
“By far the Zeta series is my favorite paper to draw on. The paper is smooth and thick, allowing for lots of layering and blending without any pilling and erases quite nicely.”

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

We wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

Shown here:
“Fireworks over Kyoto” (1948)
Artist: Kōichi Okumura, Japan
Woodblock Print

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Artist: Muriel Christensen, United States
Artist Statement: When I saw my niece’s daughter’s upset face, I got an idea to put her on Santa’s lap for this year’s family Christmas card. I like to do a custom card every year with my artwork. So, for the baby’s face study, I sketched out the concept first in my sketchbook. Sometimes just a pencil sketch or in this case with oil paint. I used acrylic gesso, first applying a generous amount in my Alpha Series sketchbook. I tried to get in the emotion of the baby. Since it was in an upset mood, I chose a somewhat jollier Santa to make the overall impact a bit more festive. When I was satisfied with the result, I painted the full rendition on canvas. The initial study in the sketchbook allowed me to experiment with color and placement. Sometimes I paint in all the final details in the sketchbook study, but in this case, I just did the rendition of the baby only.

Study: Gesso and oil paint
Finished rendering: Oil paint

Study: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish
Finished rendering: Canvas

Muriel Christensen is full-time an engineer but loves art and creates artwork whenever she can. She loves to do portraits and uses different media. Muriel is based in a suburb of Chicago and is a member of Urban Sketchers Chicago chapter and also a member of Plein Air Painters of Chicago (PAPC).
Instagram: @murielannart