Tag Archives: Stillman & Birn

Tombow Marker Color Chart, New and Improved

A different approach to the color charts I so love to make. This time as colored blocks done with a waterbrush to see how the colors blend with water, and with minimal white space, on the front cover and first page of my new hardbound Stillman and Birn 5.5 x 8.5 hardbound Zeta series sketchbook. Now every time I open this sketchbook I’ll see bright, glorious color.

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Tombow Dual Brush Markers, oh the pretty colors!

For my birthday last month I was lucky enough to receive the full set of 96 Tombow Dual Brush markers (with stand!), and they. Are. AMAZING.

Here is the box they came in (along with some Iroshizuku Yama-Budo fountain pen ink I also received):

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Just look at all the pretty colors!!!

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Such fun!

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So of course, first thing I did was try and organize them into an approximate ROYGBV order, because the color, it must be organized. It’s not perfect, but there will be several attempts in the future haha.

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I also had to do a rudimentary color chart of course! Just quick scribbles in my Stillman and Birn Zeta 7×7 series sketchbook.

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The color chart.

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Stillman and Birn Beta Series Sketchbook

I have been a big fan of Stillman and Birn sketchbooks ever since getting my first Zeta Series 7×7 sketchbook. So recently decided to branch out and try the Beta series 7×10 spiral-bound since I’m getting into watercolors more. I was so excited, I even used the inside cover and first pages, which is rare for me as I usually make a few tentative scribbles in the back first.

On the inside front cover I decided to make a color chart of the watercolor tube paints I have in my Altoids tin sketch kit, using my Noodlers Ahab inked with Platinum Carbon Black.

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And on the inside back cover, I created another color chart of my Koi Watercolors Pocket Field Sketch Box.

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First Impressions? I’m really like the Beta paper, it is a nice thick paper that handles watercolor beautifully. I am eager to continue my experiments with it.

Fountain Pen Ink and Stillman and Birn Beta Sketchbook

Experimenting with how fountain pen ink and a waterbrush works in my new Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook.

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REALLY loving how these colors blend together!

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Somewhere, Beyond The Sea

I’ve been drawn to the Tombow marker medium over and over again in my Stillman & Birn 7×7 Zeta Series sketchbook. I love the bright white paper that gives my brightly colored markers that visual “pop” I’m looking for, cause I’m always about the color! I also like the smooth Zeta Series finish, as it works great with the markers and fountain pens I use, but is still sturdy enough to handle watercolor washes too, for whenever I get that urge. It’s really developing into the ideal combo for me, and as I do more of these sketches I feel like I’m developing a personal style – which is honestly kind of a cool feeling!

So this was last night’s creation. For this piece, I was inspired by artwork I saw that featured this idea of hiding fish in the curves of ocean waves, and thought it was so creative! I knew I had to do a similar theme in my sketchbook. But I had no idea what to do for the sky! So I just started making big random swirly clouds to fill up the space, adding color until it just seemed to complement the bottom half of the piece. I sketched a basic outline with my Lamy Safari fountain pen inked with Platinum Carbon Black ink, colored the areas in with layers upon layers of Tombow markers, and then outlined them with a black Micron brush pen. I’m never usually certain about the colors or when it’s “done” until I just decide I can’t do anything else with it. I quickly reached that point with the clouds after outlining them in, and was like that’s it! I’m calling it!

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Also, I’ve had the song “Beyond The Sea” stuck in my head EVER SINCE. I like the original Bobby Darin version best, but also my mind immediately thinks of Finding Nemo now too. Because, it is AWESOME.

Color to drive the Snow Blahs away! (UPDATED)

*UPDATED 3/19/15* Stillman & Birn featured the Summer Breezes sketch on their blog and social media feeds! Check out the post here.

This weekend, while it was cold and snowy outside, I finally had the chance to play with my Tombow dual brush markers, and am so impressed by how bright and vibrant they are! As soon as I got started, these warm happy colors just had to come out and play. I was unusually inspired, as I did not one but SIX sketches with them.

Technique: sketch lightly with Micron .03 pen, color in sections with Tombows, adding layers and details as needed, then finishing and outlining with either a Micron 1.0 or brush pen.
Sketchbook Used: 7×7 Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook. The Zeta Series has “Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm” paper, smooth and in a bright white. This size in particular is unique in that its square, very portable, and takes washes and fountain pens and watercolors and most everything I’ve thrown at it well. I love bright saturated colors, and the Zeta’s white paper really makes them pop.

Summer Breezes:
This particular picture – with the green palm fronds on yellow background – reminds me a lot of a past vacation to Miami – summer breezes, green trees and bright bright sunshine.
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“Summer Breezes” – Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

Sunflower:
Saw something similar somewhere online (Pinterest, Instagram, I can’t remember exactly), with a side profile of a yellow flower on a blue background, and loved the yellow/blue combo so much had to try it.
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“Sunflower” – Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

More Sunflowers:
I just really liked how the yellow flowers turned out so I wanted to keep playing with them.
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“More Sunflowers” – Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

Red Blossom:
Similar to Sunflowers, but with luscious RED.
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“Red Blossom” – Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

Ocean Sunset:
Tried something different with the clouds, but not entirely sure I like the combination of sunset colors with the pink clouds and blue water. But that’s why art is an experimental process!
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“Ocean Sunset” – Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

Tulips:
Trying something a little more minimalistic, with some pops of red.
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“Tulips” – Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

Full sketchbook spreads:
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Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

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Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

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Tombow Markers in Stillman and Birn 7×7 Zeta Sketchbook

New Sketchbook Happiness!

I LOVE Stillman & Birn sketchbooks! So was very surprised and pleased to receive a Gamma series hardbound sketchbook from a relative who didn’t know they were my absolute favorite. My only other experience has been with the Zeta 7×7 series so far, so I’m really looking forward to comparing the different paper types in each.

I am forcing myself to wait until I finish at least my Zeta series sketchbook and my Moleskine Watercolor sketchbook (both about half-way through) – and maybe my own discbound sketchbook – before starting this one, but was so excited to get this I immediately opened it.

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The Stillman & Birn Gamma Series sketchbook.

Now, I have this thing where I NEVER put anything on the very first page of a new notebook or sketchbook, and must always make a page or two of pen scribbles on the backmost pages instead. I followed tradition and made a few tentative fountain pen marks, but then decided ‘eh, why not!’ and decided to go whole hog on the very front page. If I don’t get to it for another year or more, at least I’ll have commemorated receiving the sketchbook!

I used my Stabilo 68 mini markers and beloved Pentel Waterbrush, and am impressed with how well the paper stood up to the wash. You can barely tell on the other side.

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My new Stillman & Birn Gamma series sketchbook handles the waterbrush well!