Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stillman and Birn Beta Journal Book

Today's been like Christmas for me.................all my art goodies came in.

I couldn't wait to start using my new journal book!!  It's a Stillman and Birn Beta hard cover stitch-bound journal.  5 1/2 x 8 1/2 " and 26 Sheets (52 Pages)

Specs (see more about these journals following link under book):

  • Natural White - 180 lb Cold Press Paper
  • Withstands multiple erasures
  • Superior wet and tear strength
  • Nice tooth but not too toothy (don't you like that description?)
  • Archival - Neutral PH

My first entry is comparing Dip Pen with different inks.  I wanted to see how the paper in this book handled the ink whether it would feel scratchy or ink bleed.  Neither with the Hiro Leonardt nib or the various inks.

Three of the inks are made by Noodler's (Black, Lexington Gray, and #41 Brown) but from what other people say behave differently........not just different colors.  Some apparently do not "grab" the surface of sized paper very well or consistently causing issues when applying watercolor.  I'm not experienced enough with pen and ink to really say much about this.  I can only go by my own experimentation on the paper surfaces I use.

The other ink is FW Acrylic Artists ink.  It's sepia but sure looks like black on all the paper surfaces I've tried it on to include this one.  Maybe a little "richer" than the Noodler's Black and Lexington Gray.

With my own first comparison between Noodler's Black and Lexington Gray, the results were basically identical.  I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them.  They both look like the same "black."  On this paper they both dried quickly and took watercolor wash beautifully without any bleed or smearing.

The Noodler's #41 Brown is a lovely color to me.  I do understand fountain pens don't do well with this color pigment as it tends to clog.  With my using a dip pen, I have no worries with that happening.  It too dried quickly on the paper and took wash without bleed or smearing.

The FW Acrylic took a little while to dry.  I haven't yet applied wash over it but if anything like on other papers I've used to include Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press, I won't have a problem.  I just have to make sure it's dry before I attempt adding paint.

So how do I feel about this new paper surface?  Promising!!!!

I was one who really liked the Moleskine watercolor journal but didn't care for the fact it's only offered in landscape orientation.  And they have no plans of offering portrait as I wrote and asked them.  This journal book reminds me a little of the Moleskine with the heavy weight paper and feel of the surface.  I've not played with it long enough to really say too much though comparing between the two.

Now compared to the Handbook by Global Art............there's actually no comparison.  The Handbook is more of a general purpose paper surface that is not sized in the same fashion and not as thick.  It soaks in moisture making it a little difficult to paint wet in wet.  Not impossible but definitely a bit of a challenge.  The Stillman and Birn Beta paper is wonderful for wet in wet.  You have time to work before the paper grabs or absorbs the paint/water.

I have a lot more play ahead of me, which I look forward of which is testing the ease of lifting watercolor once it's dry.

In's looking good!!!  The only thing I wish is that it came in a smaller size.  I enjoy using the 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 size journal books like offered in the Handbook.

Here are my first two pages of experimenting with pen/ink and watercolor plus close-ups

NOTE:  The handwriting is not in any of the Inks I'm using for sketching and painting over.  I've used a Micron pen for my notes.


Vicky Williamson said...

Great review! I didn't know they offered the heavier paper in a bound form instead of ring-binder.

Do the pages lay completely flat when open, similar to Moleskines? That's a problem I've had using the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook. Makes it hard to draw across a spread and hard to photograph for posting.

Susan Bronsak said...

What I like about them is the books are bound with stitching rather than just glued. Of course the pages where you can actually see the stitches seem to lay flat more readily. The other pages are not have to gently bend back a bit. I scan all my work rather than photographing so for them to lay pretty flat is important to me too.

I still so want to learn to make my own journals. Finally have all the main supplies but I keep hesitating. Don't know why.......years ago I'd jump at trying anything in the crafts and to me this falls something like another craft. I don't know what it is that's keeping me from making my own.

Thank you, Vicky!!!

Susan Bronsak said...

Vicky.........this might help:

Vicky Williamson said...

Thanks, Susan! Both your comment and the video were helpful.

Your wanting to bind your own journals, even having the supplies, but not doing so sounds like me wanting to paint paintings NOT in a sketchbook and not doing so. Maybe we are both afraid of not reaching our imagined results? Yet it's the mistakes that teach us to do it better the next time. My first journals were a lot clumsier than the later ones.

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