Stillman and Birn
Friday, April 19, 2019

Coming Soon

The reveal: 4/24/19 – 8:00 P.M. EST
In the meantime, guesses welcome


Friday, April 12, 2019

Alexandria Window Study

Artist: Reham M. Ali, Egypt
Artist statement: Sketching architectural elements such as doors, windows or any architectural details, especially of old buildings always interests me. That’s the reason my sketchbook is filled with door sketches that I usually call my rescue topic during any artistic block. And as an interior designer, my architectural background has helped me with these sketches. What I love also is adding depth to my sketch. Sometimes I can only find a door or window that seems flat, so I enjoy adding shadows to my subject to create the feeling of depth and movement to a static element like a window.

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

Reham M. Ali (Alexandria, Egypt) studied Fine-Arts and holds a Ph.D. degree in Interior Design from the University of Alexandria. She has been drawing since childhood. Sketching architecture came as a natural part of her study and work, she began sketching on location since her senior year in college. In 2015, she discovered Urban Sketchers and since then she started to focus on sketching her hometown city, Alexandria, which is the main subject of her watercolor and sketching work. In 2018 she led a workshop “Urban Tales .. Buildings Can Talk Too ” at the 9th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Porto. Reham is also a workshop instructor in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia where she works now as Assistant Professor at IAU University.

Instagram: @reham_m_a


Monday, April 8, 2019


Artist: Sara Crawley, United States
Artist Statement: This was done in a Nova Trio sketchbook that I was given. I love it! The fact I get to pick from three different colored pages is fun. This art piece was inspired by several things: my joy of playing video games, stargazing, and coats.

As always I started out in pencil and ended it with ink. That was until my boyfriend asked if I was going to use gouache to paint it in. The answer after that was yes, because it was a great idea! [Ed: Because gouache is opaque, it is a great medium for toned paper] Which meant I had to go over my original ink outlines with the gouache, whoops. The end results are better than I thought they would be! I left the background grey so the character and colors could pop off the page.

MEDIA: Gouache, ink, gel pen
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Grey – Medium Grain

Sara Crawley is an alumni of Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in 2D Animation. When she is not at her day job or running from zombies, she’s drawing away in her sketchbook. You can see more of her work on these social media sites!
Instagram: @scrawleyart
Twitter: @scrawleyart


Monday, February 25, 2019

Untitled Drawing on Toned Paper

Artist: Jason Terracina, United States
Artist Statement: For this particular sketch of @jesstoofresh_ I drew the sketch on the Nova Series beige sketchbook 5½ x 8½. I used a Kuretake brush pen for the line work, Posca and Molotow markers for the color. Given the beige tone of the paper I was able to use it as a mid-tone for the piece, the markers as highlights, and the brush pen for shadow. The heavy weight of the paper allows you to use just about any marker, whether it be a paint marker or a watery Copic, and it won’t loose its integrity. The grain and fibers of the paper enables you to create gradients with a brush pen that gives it a dry brush look at the same time absorbing a heavy amount of ink in the spots you want your blackest blacks. I’ve found this Nova Series beige paper so versatile to work with that I’ve decided to draw a whole children’s book on the 8×10 size sketchbook.

MEDIA: Ink and markers
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Finish

Jason Terracina is a United States artist who would like you to vote. He is open for illustration and portrait commissions. You can also purchase any piece of original work or prints on his Instagram. Jason can be reached at:
Instagram: @terrrrabite
Twitter: @terrrrabite

Stillman & Birn does not recommend the use of alcohol-based markers, such as Copic markers, on Nova Series paper without a protective barrier sheet under the work surface.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Artist: Ben Stanford, United States
Artist Statement: I’ve always been drawn to the human figure, and portraits in particular. The figure isn’t just something to be copied or reproduced but is a space for honest exploration. I use painting as a means through which tradition and craftsmanship can serve as a touchstone for the creative process; allowing for self-imposed constraints to serve as a catalyst for problem-solving. While capturing the likeness of my subjects is of high priority, I aim for a balance between the deliberate rendering of form and intuitive response. This provides a space where academic considerations can run in parallel with an open-ended process of translation.

Dana, the model depicted here, is immensely talented and has been a constant source of inspiration for me through the years. I look forward to continuing to paint on paper and utilize the unique feeling that it provides.

The painting was done on Zeta Series paper. I put down 2 layers of PVA size to prepare the surface and had no problems. I made it a few months ago, and haven’t seen any oil seeping into the paper or signs of discoloration.

Media: Oil on paper
Surface: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Great White Sketch

Artist: Ian de Hoog, Canada [ @iandehoogart ]
Artist Statement: My sketchbook is my playground. It’s where I can relax and explore new ideas and techniques without the pressure of “creating a painting”. I never know what is going to end up on a page on any given day and that is part of the beauty of it.

I have always had a passion for all animals and sharks are no exception. This sketch began as a pencil drawing just to see if I could even draw a shark and once I was satisfied with the results I just started adding watercolour one step at a time. 1. Light washes 2. Middle values 3. Darks and brushwork.

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

Ian de Hoog is an artist and educator living in British Columbia. His skill and passion for watercolour has led him to develop a very successful series of “Confident Watercolour” demos and workshops which have encouraged many to take up their brushes and get painting. Ian’s work has found itself in homes all around the globe, is often shown in local shows and across social media as @iandehoogart (Instagram, Facebook). You can also visit his website at

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In-Flight Feeding

Artist: Craig Houghton, United States
Artist statement: As with most pieces, whether a charcoal gesture or a complex oil painting, I really created this to have fun. Daily sketching does help me to better understand the world, strengthen my self-confidence, and connect with my emotions, but I find it best just to focus instead on how much I enjoy the activity, especially when it involves subjects that never fail to move me—I absolutely love birds. With this drawing, I began with a rough pencil sketch and a more detailed ballpoint pen drawing right over the pencil. I then used alcohol markers over the ballpoint pen, actively encouraging some pen blending and relying on the quality of the Nova Trio paper. Afterwards, I added some ballpoint back details in and brushed on some white.

MEDIA: Pencil, ballpoint pen, alcohol-based marker, and opaque white ink (Ph. Martin Pen White)
SURFACE: Nova Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Beige – Medium Grain Finish

Craig Houghton is an artist and illustrator living in Connecticut with his wife, also an artist. His technical proficiency across a number of mediums and styles allows uncommon freedom in selecting the best way to any subject or project. Craig’s work may be found on nationally distributed product packaging, in print, and across social media as @leversandpulleys (TikTok, Instagram).


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Remembering Georgia O’Keeffe

Artist: Nisha Sehjpal, India
Artist Statement: Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings are as intriguing as they are evocative. The colours used are bold and her strokes confident. Looking at her art it’s no wonder she is recognised as “Mother of American modernism”. This is my first ever attempt at painting with gouache and I couldn’t have thought of a better inspiration. And I wouldn’t deny, I am still trying to find my voice as an artist.

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

Nisha Sehjpal is an engineer by education and an artist by intuition. She is a strong supporter of versatility, who doesn’t believe in restricting oneself to any one particular medium. Her first love remains travel for all the visual stimulation and inspiration it provides.
Instagram: @nisha.sehjpal

Thursday, January 3, 2019


Artist: Michael Ryan, United States
Artist Statement: For this illustration, I wanted to create a serene and magical evening snowfall scene. The gentle polar bear happily gazes up in wonderment at the snowflakes. I began this illustration by creating a light sketch with a mechanical pencil. I then inked the outline of the polar bear and the horizon with a dark blue fine-nib ink pen. I used alcohol-based markers for the colors. While using alcohol-based markers on paper can be tricky, I find that Stillman & Birn’s Gamma Series works very well with minimal bleed-through. To protect the next page in my sketchbook, I place a folded sheet of scrap copy paper underneath the page that I’m currently working on. Beginning with the top of the sky, I built up my darker tones and progressed to lighter tones further down the page, which helps frame the polar bear as the focal point. For the polar bear’s fur and the snow on the ground, I used the ivory tone of the Gamma paper. The snowflakes and white accents were created with a white gel pen as the final finishing touches.

MEDIA: Alcohol-based markers, ink, and white gel pen
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Finish

Michael Ryan is a visual artist, designer, and educator from Peekskill, New York. His professional work includes both traditional and digital illustration, graphic design, and photography. Michael is a Professor of Art and Design and teaches a wide range of subjects including Drawing, Graphic Design, 2D Animation, Digital Imaging, Digital Illustration, Visual Storytelling, Art History, Color Theory, Web Design, Video Editing, Motion Graphics, and more.

For his illustrations, Michael works in a range of different styles from cartoons to realistic portraits. He utilizes a variety of media and often enjoys the challenge of working with a limited palette. Michael offers original illustration and portrait commissions.
Instagram: @mikeryanart
Twitter: @mikeryanart

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