Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My More Recent Best Friends - Stillman & Birn and Pilot Prera

For weeks now I've been working in my new Stillman & Birn Beta and Alpha journals.  I have to say they are my favorite to work in compared to all other journals I've used in the past.

I love how the hardbound machine sewn journals lie flat when scanning my work; I love how pencil goes down with less smearing from what I've experienced with some other papers (Alpha); I love how the pen nib feels as it slides across the paper surface; AND I love how they take my application of watercolor.

Although the Alpha states best with light washes, I push the limits and works out just fine for me.  Although I will say that there is a little buckling and I wouldn't use the backside of the pages.  BUT if anyone watched how wet my applications are, they would be amazed at how well this paper holds up.

The Alpha journal I have is the 8 1/2 x 11" size.  At first it was quite awkward to use because I'm so used to working much smaller.  But I've grown to love the size and grab for it before I do the smaller Beta journal I have.

The Beta is a dream for watercolor application.......even heavy wet in wet as I use.  The beauty of this paper is how thick it is and even with heavy wet applications, you can work on the back pages with no problem.  And buckling is not a problem as with lighter weight papers.

Then add my newest pens...........the Pilot Prera.  Both are "F" nib points.

The all green has a cartridge with Namiki Black ink which is water soluble.  (These ink cartridges CAN be refilled by purchasing a syringe kit).  It produces some of the nicest gray washes with damp brush of all the water soluble inks I've tried so far.  By using a round brush that holds more water, the washes can be more vivid with further ink spread; but if one uses an angular flat, one can achieve a little better control producing a more subtle wash with less spread.  Just depends on what one might be after but nice knowing you can achieve two different effects depending upon brush and amount of water in it.

The clear body Prera comes with an ink converter where you can fill with your favorite ink.  It also comes with one ink cartridge (at least mine did).  I fill mine with Noodler's Lexington Gray which is waterproof when I do not wish for a wash effect.  (Mostly waterproof.......it might smear a bit depending upon paper sizing and one might have to wait a little while for the ink to truly settle into the paper.)  This gray is subtle that to me works beautifully with watercolor.  Not so harsh or stark looking as most blacks look to me.

With my new best friends, I am truly enjoying this new venture in ink and watercolor!  And I just love my journal books!!!  So much more relaxing and fun to work in.  What a neat feeling to pick up a journal book and flip through the pages viewing sketches, illustrations, paintings, and reading notes that were added.  I just find journaling to be a special personal experience nothing else can really provide in quite the same way.

Stillman & Birn journals are starting to show up at more and more art supply sources as word spreads.  Just google and you might find your favorite mail order is starting to offer for sale.

As for the pens, I normally shop through Goulet Pens.  JetPens is another mail order source I use.

If you happen to give these journals and pens a try, you might find yourself making new best friends as I have :-)

Happy journaling :-)

P.S.  A BIG thank you to the gentleman who introduced me to my new friends!  I'm sure if he sees this post, he'll know exactly who I am referring to!  He's helped make my drawing and painting more enjoyable!!

P.S.S.  And I don't want to forget giving a BIG thank you to yet another gentleman for making it possible I try the Alpha series journal.  I already had the Beta which I loved and not sure I would have tried the Alpha or other series.  He knows who I'm referring to as well ;-)

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