Tag Archives: Stillman and Birn Alpha 6×9 hardcover sketchbook

THE 30 SKETCH CHALLENGE: Book 1 Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book

Since deciding that I needed to grow out of the Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook, I have been testing 3 sketchbooks: the Hahnemuhle Watercolour Book, the Global Arts Watercolour Handbook, and the traditional Moleskine.

The Hahnemuhle is not easily available here in Canada, both the Global Arts and Moleskine are. Since the Hahnemuhle has been looking a little precious to me because it is of such obvious quality, I’ve been somewhat intimidated about using it(translate- didn’t want to muck it up with my beginner sketches). So I decided to dive into it first.

Here is why I have given myself this challenge: I will only learn the qualities and challenges of a sketchbook if I use it consistently over time. It is also the only way I will be able to get a feel for the book and know it is ‘mine’.

Here is what I need in a sketchbook:

1. It needs to be light weight but not small. 5×8 or 6×9 is the perfect size for me so far.

2. The ability to work on both sides of the page without shadowing.

3. It must be able to take more than a light wash and not dry up   instantly.

4. Priced reasonably enough so that I can use it daily and not break the bank. (Alpha scores big here)

5. Lots of pages. (Love my Alpha for this)

6. Available in Canada. ( Yay Stillman and Birn!)

7. Have some texture.

I know … basically what I’m asking for is watercolour paper bound in a sketchbook at sketchbook prices!

Now that I’ve listed those things they go on the back burner until I’ve finished this challenge. The upside is that I will be sketching regularly, planning to do 30 sketches within 40 days. I need discipline in this area since it so easy for me to be distracted by what presents itself as more important. And, I’m lazy. The other upside is that given the attention, my sketching and use of watercolour will improve.

Feel free to join me in this. I would be happy to hear from you if you do!

January Sketches 2018

                                             HOLDING AN ORANGE

Orange in Hand and on plate Alpha 5x9 S&B From Jan 2018Stillman and Birn  Alpha 6×9

I filled my first Alpha sketchbook in November and although I had intended to not start another, I found myself missing the familiarity of it. I was playing with making orange and sketching my hand. I used Buff Titanium and Potter’s Pink  on the hand which looks terribly lifeless.

                                              ORANGE PEELS

Orange peels Alpha 5x9 S&B From Jan 2018Stillman and Birns  Alpha 6×9

The orange peels and the orange in the first sketch were mixed from Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange and New Gamboge.



Clementine orange Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

I had the Hahnemuhle a few weeks before I started using it. It felt too good to use at my level of skill. Finally I dove in. I’m discovering that I treat my sketches differently using the Hahnemuhle and I’m loving that I can layer in it.

                                            THE POTTERY SHED

The Pottery shed Hahnemuhle watercolour bookHahnemuhle Watercolour Book, Daniel Smith watercolour

There is so much to learn about painting snow, and I suppose the good news is, I have the rest of the winter to practice!