Saturday, August 15, 2020

Epsilon Series

Heavyweight: 150 gsm
Shade: White
Surface: Smooth
Media: Pen & Ink, dry media, light wash

Saturday, August 8, 2020

James Bowing

ARTIST: Dominique Eichi, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: The process of this piece was to explore and discover what watercolor can do once you let go most of the control of it and add a drawing of an image with details using an 005 ink pen. Thus, creating two opposites. This brings a duality that becomes attractive.

I painted on a page in my sketchbook with a paint brush dipped in water first, then added watercolor to match as best as possible the image I wanted to create of the raven. This part was where I purposefully lost control. Because once you add water to your paper the watercolor goes in different directions that become unexpected and surprising. Once it dried I added the drawing of the raven with a black 005 ink pen and finished it with some details with a white fine marker pen.

I like to use a Stillman and Birn sketchbook Beta series for its capacity to take quite a bit of water and since I like a smooth surface for my ink pen details this works really well for both kind of mediums. Also, these sketchbooks lay flat when opened and I enjoy that detail when using two pages spread for one art piece.

MEDIA: Ink, watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I grew up in Manhattan, NY as a child then studied in Geneva, Switzerland and became an interior architect. These studies gave me such a confidence of being able to do anything with my hands. I now live in San Diego, California where I have been an avid Urban Sketcher drawing on location. COVID has forced me to focus more on creating at home and experimenting but also brought some fresh waves of creativity. This piece “James Bowing” was part of a challenge (for me) of laying down watercolor before drawing the image. I’m glad to experiment with various constraints sometimes because it gives me an opportunity to be challenged and grow. You can find more of my work on my Instagram @dominiqueeichi and Facebook @ Dominique Eichi.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Left Overgrown

ARTIST: Katrina Pomerance, Netherlands

ARTIST STATEMENT: After living my whole life outside the city, where just a step away there’s nothing but fields and forests, then finding myself moving to the Netherlands, to live in the city centre, I’ve craved the healing power of nature more than ever.

Sketchbooks are places where I can visit forests, fields, mountains at any time, to find peace and to quiet my mind. This gouache painting captured a moment when I revisited my home country.

Two years had passed since the last time I was there, when flower beds were just freshly planted. At first, I was overwhelmed, how much they have grown, how full of Midsummer green and blooms. It was almost impossible to recognize the original flower bed layout.

Plants had made their way, without me being there. I wanted to keep this moment, the lushness and the peak of the growing season, as well as the freewill of nature. So even when I’m not there physically, I can still feel the momentum, when you can almost see the power of nature bursting out of every leaf and stem.

MEDIA: Gouache
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Katrina Pomerance is an independent Latvian artist currently based in the Netherlands, Eindhoven. After studying in the Fine Arts program, she has achieved Illustrator diploma and primary works with traditional mediums, such as gouache, oil paints and acrylics. Being raised in a rural area, the love and appreciation for nature, weaves throughout all of her artworks. Katrina’s work encourages its viewers to seek out nature’s pillow and rest our puzzled minds. Her work is currently visible on Instagram – @studiokathi or Facebook –

Sunday, July 26, 2020


ARTIST: Stephen Gardner, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: I started this project during COVID19 lockdown, I’m attempting to paint a portrait of everyone I know as a way of dealing with the separation we all feel. I paint one portrait each morning in a 90 minute session before I start working on other assignments.

MEDIA: Gouache and graphite
SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: English-born but living in the US since 1989, Stephen Gardner is a professional illustrator and educator. Stephen recently moved to Savannah, GA to teach full time at SCAD after spending 30 years living in New York. Stephen has illustrated over 250 book covers and have worked in the editorial and advertising markets for both American and European clients.
@gardnerstp (Instagram)

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Green Sea Turtle

ARTIST: Katy O’Neal Killingsworth, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: I have been working primarily in transparent watercolor over the last few years, but have ventured into gouache lately. The black paper has been a fun background for the opaque layers of gouache. I try to keep up with a monthly painting challenge by Denise Soden of the YouTube channel “In Liquid Color” and the month I painted this turtle the challenge was sea life. Challenges are a good way for me to get out of my normal subject of florals and landscapes.

MEDIA: Gouache
SURFACE: Nova Series – Black

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Katy O’Neal Killingsworth, an artist and art educator, lives in Arkansas with her husband, kids, dogs, and pet chickens. She likes to paint things from her backyard, such as flowers, leaves, and toads.

Instagram: @therustenhenstudio

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Self-Portrait in Quarantine

ARTIST: Jimena Lagunilla, Spain

ARTIST STATEMENT: I work with many students and colleagues and my subject of study is the human body. When the COVID-19 quarantine suddenly interrupted our everyday life, it had and still has to this day, a very big impact on my routine. I found myself in this surreal situation of not being allowed to leave the apartment, adapting in the best way possible to isolation and forceful self-reflection. The portrait is not intentionally expressing any emotions. But it is what it is: a face after spending too many hours behind the screen and after a very long quarantine day.

MEDIA: Colour pencils
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jimena Lagunilla has been working for the last years as anatomy teacher at the School of Art ESDIP in Madrid, Spain. She studies life drawing techniques and teaches the anatomical structure of the human body.

She has studied Fine Arts in Madrid and got her MA in Illustration at the University of the Art of London.
Instagram: @la_lagunilla

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Cacti Study

ARTIST: Isabel Manibardo, Spain

ARTIST STATEMENT: The reason for this study is that watercolor and nature are two of my passions, so I really enjoy painting plants, flowers, animals…
Usually I do a very light drawing with an erasable pencil and apply only a few watercolor washes in order to preserve the light of the paper. I use colored pencils to add little details.

MEDIA: Pencil, watercolor, colored pencil
SURFACE: Beta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I am an artist and illustrator from Madrid, Spain. When I finished my degree in biology, I started going to watercolor classes for fun, and found my true passion. For the last fifteen years I have been painting, doing workshops and selling my art.

Most of the time I have been painting landscapes but last year I began doing illustrations and I am really enjoying painting from my imagination. Now I have a project to illustrate a children’s book for the first time!

Instagram: @isabel_manibardo
Facebook: @isabelmanibardo

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Siamese Fighting Fish

ARTIST: Sucharita Sengupta Suri, India

ARTIST STATEMENT: I have always liked painting everyday objects and maintaining sketchbooks mostly using watercolor. Lately, I have discovered my love for painting animals. I have been a vintage enthusiast and also enjoy things that are slightly whimsical, which creates a world of its own in my mind. In my latest series of paintings, I have tried to merge both the worlds together.

After choosing a subject, I make a loose sketch of it with a mechanical 2B, 0.5 lead pencil. Next, I make a wash with my watercolor addressing the dark and light areas in the first wash itself. This gives me a good idea of the depth and variation required in the piece. I usually paint a maximum of 3 layers to add depth and details to it.

I like using Acrylic Artists Ink to give highlights and final touches to my paintings, for example, the eyes and few scales in the “Siamese Fighting Fish”.

MEDIA: Watercolor, Acrylic Artist Ink
SURFACE: Delta Series- Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Sucharita is a graphic designer by profession who has been working in the media & entertainment industry for over 20 years. She has always been painting in her free time however the COVID-19 lockdown made her rediscover her love for painting in a totally new way.

Now she is hooked to an art a day and enjoys her daily rendezvous with it. She is open to commissions and is in the process of opening her online art store. Mostly, she likes working with watercolor and gouache however she loves exploring different mediums as well for variety.

Sucharita owns a communication design studio in Mumbai with her spouse. They also run a company where they publish books, games, and other merchandise.

Instagram: @sucharitas

Saturday, June 20, 2020

A Study of Two Pomegrantes

ARTIST: Agathe Molvik, Norway

ARTIST STATEMENT: I live in a remote part of Northern Norway, and we don’t have access to a lot of exotic goods. We have lots of sketching opportunities out in nature, when weather permits, but we have very few shops and cafes. It’s all really a rather quiet life and I spend a lot of time on my bike, looking for new scenes to sketch. Once in a while my mother, who lives in a more populated part of Norway, sends me a care package. This time it contained pomegranates. We don’t get them here, so I decided to sketch them. I wanted to do it in a rather loose manner, and so I used a 3B pencil to roughly sketch out the shape and the background. I left most of this sketch without colour, but for the pomegranate itself, I used watercolor. I let the colors flow into each other, worrying little about the mess it created. I am first and foremost a sketchbook artist. I use my sketchbooks to record my life, to learn new techniques and to explore my materials and surroundings. I very rarely consider making a finished piece that is made for hanging on a wall. It might change in the future, but for now, I am very happy to roam around with a backpack with my sketchbook and a few selected tools.

MEDIA: Watercolor, Graphite
SURFACE: Gamma Series – Heavyweight paper – 150 gsm – Ivory – Medium Grain Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Agathe Molvik is a single mom living in Northern Norway, who spent two decades running away from her own artistic self. Too scared to fail the promise she had shown in her teens, she decided it was easier not to create any sort of art. But one day her old self caught up to her, and she ventured back into watercolours. Now she feels it is very important to let other aspiring artists know that age or skill level doesn’t matter, creating art can be rewarding in itself. And this is why sketchbooks are her chosen surface, because there is no pressure of getting it right, it doesn’t need to be perfect and no one has to ever see it – but it’s still an opportunity to create something, anything!

Instagram: @agathesketching

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Beta Series

Stillman & Birn’s Beta Series is an extra heavyweight (270 gsm) mixed media surface with a versatile cold press texture. The Beta Series holds up to a wide variety of techniques, such as layering, wet in wet watercolor washes, and mixed media mashups. Because this beautiful white paper is double-sized, it is especially robust to prevent bleed though to the reverse side. The special sizing also forces pigment to remain high on the surface with the result that color that remains exceptionally vibrant.

The Beta Series comes in wirebound, hardcover, and softcover sketchbooks as well as in 22 x 30 inch sheets to make it easy for artists to take their studies from the sketchbook to the drafting table.

Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 GSM – White – Cold Press Finish

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984

ARTIST: Allison Sohn, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: I love good illustration, and beautiful portrait work. I don’t draw often enough, but when I make the time I feel like I just want to get a little bit closer to being better at both those things.

I always pencil my pieces out first, and then do a light erase of the pencil line art. I don’t mind if a little pencil shows through in the final piece, but if I leave too much graphite on the paper the tips of the markers will grab and that soft graphite and smear it.

I like to work dark to light, trusting that as I blend my transparent medium (in this case, marker) that I’ll achieve the range of value I’m looking for. One nice thing about the Stillman & Birn papers is that they are really good for this sort of continual blending; the ink on the paper doesn’t dry out so quickly that I find myself with streaks or weird marker delineation I don’t want.

MEDIA: Soft lead pencil (4B – 6B), Copic Sketch Markers and a little bit of White Universal Rapidograph Ink applied with a brush.

SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Allison has been drawing most of her life. Wanting to be an illustrator, and loving comic book art, she has done professional work in both the comic book and trading card industries. Allison has created images for Lucasfilm, Marvel Comics, DC Comics and other television and film properties. Allison lives with her husband, a highly regarded illustrator himself, and their 4 Old English Sheepdogs and 3 cats. Their latest adventure, while Staying at Home, is a Patreon page where they both take turns drawing in an informal lesson format live for their friends and fans alike.

Instagram: MrsAdamHughes

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Repost: Wolves in Plain Sight

ARTIST: Vin Ganapathy, United States

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

Ed. Note: We posted this image originally in 2017. A visitor to our blog brought it to our attention again recently. The symbolism of this troubling image resonates on many levels in these days of the Covid-19 crisis. We felt it was therefore appropriate to revisit it again now.

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

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

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Gouache Portrait Study

ARTIST: Jordan Rhodes, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: For my gouache studies I like to go with a layering approach, working from dilute to more opaque as I build up layers. The dilute layers allow me to experiment with different color combinations, which can be easily covered or further incorporated into the piece.

MEDIA: Gouache, graphite
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra-heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jordan Rhodes is a recent Ph. D. graduate in chemistry. He rediscovered his love for art during grad school as a way to relax away from the lab. Now he plans to pursue art more seriously and continue to improve.
Instagram: @jmr_art
YouTube: @jmr_art

See the 60-second fast frame video detailing the creation of this portrait here:

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Thai Basil & Garlic Study

ARTIST: Monali Haldipur, New Delhi, India

ARTIST STATEMENT: I enjoy sketching en plein air with watercolours, and I use these to achieve fluidity and vibrant hues that inspire my choice of subjects. I usually begin with a line drawing using 3B/4B graphite pencil and then use watercolour washes.

MEDIA: Graphite, Watercolour
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium-grain Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Rooted in the visual form, Monali’s work involves exploration of both her personal and urban environment, capturing moods, cultural identities and stories with her brush. Her colourful sketches pay tribute to the places she has traveled to. Monali sells her original artworks and also offers commissioned work.

Instagram: @monali.haldipur

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Watercolor Studies – Portraits & Flowers

ARTIST: Marie Vorländer, Germany

ARTIST STATEMENT: Up until a year ago I used to primarily draw from imagination and rarely worked with creating traditional studies from reference. Since then I have found great joy in creating these curated pages of sketches and studies. My chosen medium for these have to be watercolors as the textures they create and the slight unpredictability give them the needed character.

MEDIA: Watercolors & pencil
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: As a character-focused artist I love to explore faces and expressions in my drawings. My sketchbooks are my trusty companions on my creative journey and while filling them, I like to use a variety of different traditional mediums ranging from watercolors, gouache, pencils, markers and more.

Instagram: @mavorie

Monday, May 4, 2020

White Camellia Floral Study

ARTIST: Allyson Tierney Jones, South Carolina, USA

ARTIST STATEMENT: My neighbor’s gorgeous camellia bushes always inspire me, especially when in full bloom. A promise of spring contrasted against the stark, bareness of winter’s chill. Camellias are one of my favorite flowers to paint for this reason! I referenced a photo I took myself, and made this study using a graphite pencil, layered watercolor washes, and added final details with colored pencils and white ink. My watercolor style is inspired by traditional Japanese floral painting and newly acquired knowledge of glazing with western watercolors. I enjoy mixing different materials and techniques!

MEDIA: Graphite, Watercolor, Colored Pencil, Gel Pen
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Allyson Tierney Jones, is a freelance illustrator, living and working in her home studio in South Carolina, USA. Although her main artistic focus is in digital illustration and character design, in her downtime she enjoys working in watercolor, and creating floral and landscape studies inspired by the traditional art and culture of Japan. She enjoys exploring various subjects and styles from comic and anime pop culture, creature design and animals, and more recently delving into science fiction illustration and web comics.
Under the artist name: ‘Nekkyo Usagi, she is open for both digital and traditional illustrations and commissions!

Instagram: @nekkyousagiart

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Japanese White Eye

ARTIST: Wayne Gott, West Yorkshire, England.

ARTIST STATEMENT: The diversity and genius of nature has always been my inspiration. How could it not be? Birds in particular are a source of great enjoyment for me, with their incredibly diverse range of anatomy, colours, habitat and individual character. I begin my work with a sketch piece which in itself will look complete. After this I add a series of very light colour washes with a very soft brush so as not to disturb the graphite beneath. Very little detail is added to the piece as the initial sketch has done that for me, but if I need to add further fine detail I’ll use colour pencil.
Every bit of nature is an artwork in itself, it’s a pleasure to be able to replicate that in my work.

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

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I have been drawing since I was very young. Taking first to the airbrush, eventually custom painting motorbikes I was featured in a number of magazines producing how-to demonstrations. In recent years I have ditched the flames and skulls and turned to nature for my inspiration to further develop my skills as an illustrator and artist. Walks in the woods, nature reserves and the Yorkshire countryside with my partner and three sons gives me a wealth of material in which to draw upon.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Queen Amidala

ARTIST: Martin Cavataio, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: My method of creating pictures is using a dot outline method using a 2h pencil from any set. The dot method is where I make an outline using light dots with a 2h pencil and then, when I find the shape that I like, I’ll outline it using that 2h pencil and make a link through all the dots. I use all of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, this drawing of Queen Amidala was done in a Delta Series sketchbook!

MEDIA: Graphite, colored pencils, conte crayons
SURFACE: Delta Series-Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: My name is Martin , I am an artist, writer, concept artist, and a tattoo artist from Los Angeles, California. I live currently in Washington. My Instagram is @kingcavataio

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Launching Our New Website

Stillman & Birn was acquired last September by Clairefontaine Rhodia and is now distributed in the U.S. by Exaclair, Inc. We have now refreshed the S&B website to make the information about the brand clearer and to make navigating the site more user-friendly. We hope you find this helpful.

Please check out our updated website at this link:

Saturday, March 28, 2020


ARTIST: Natalie Higgins, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: I love experimenting and playing in my sketchbook. Most of the time I do this at night, on the couch watching television with my husband. It gives my mind a break from the technical and precise work of designing and making jewelry, my day job. I enjoy trying to capture the expression and mood of the human face. In this drawing, I started with just values with no real structure lines. I squint my eyes to see the darks and lights. I start tightening up my drawing a little at a time while erasing marks that are wrong. I start adding more value to create depth, add texture and focus on details.

MEDIA: Pencils, 2H-6B
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Natalie Higgins is an artist and jewelry designer living in Magnolia, Texas with her husband, two Labradors and two cats. She has a creative soul that loves to explore various mediums with the goal of having fun and relaxing. Sketching allows her to have the freedom to play.