Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stillman and Birn Zeta Review

I love drawing and lately I've been drawing more than I have at any one point in my life. Part of this is attributed to my professors at SCAD Atlanta, who challenge me to be a better artist every day; the other factor is Stillman and Birn and their line of sketchbooks. I've been using them for almost a year now and the books are so high quality, they almost ask to be drawn on. I was lucky enough to be sent a few sheets of their newest paper, Zeta, and while I haven't had a lot of time to play with it, here are my thoughts.

The Zeta line of books is a heavier version of the Epsilon line. The paper is smooth and white and while the the Epsilon can take light washes, the Zeta can accept a lot more. The paper feels like hot press watercolor paper and I enjoyed painting on this more than I did on Arches (which I did love as well). I'm not the best painter but I had a lot of fun testing out watercolor techniques on here. I'm finding I enjoy smooth paper a bit more for watercolors and I think having a sketchbook of this paper is really exciting.

I usually work in pencil and with ink, so I also did some drawings to test out different inking tools on the Zeta. Its smooth surface means ink pens like Sakura Microns and Faber Castell Pitt Pens glide across it beautifully. I wanted to test how a brush works on it in the field so I inked the drawing above with my Pentel Pocket Brush. Even though brushes aren't technically at their best on smooth paper, the brush pen gives a nice crisp line and it was very easy to use. I inked the 2 figures with a combination of brush pen and a single micron, and the line quality is amazing. I can't wait to test out my Raphael brush for some real brush inking. I'll post those when they're finished.

The Zeta has worked beautifully in the few ways that I've tested it the passed few days. I look forward to getting my own book and having even more art opportunities available to me when I'm out and feel like drawing.