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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Legion Paper Sampler Painting Pad #Legion #Paper #Watercolor

IF you are here for the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover giveaway, which ends tonight, go here.

I had a Christmas gift card to spend and when I discovered that Legion Paper offers samplers (not free, alas), I decided to spend some of it on their watercolor paper.

There are all sorts of paper to choose from (you can find the list here).  Besides Individual Sheets, the paper can be ordered as a Mill Book or Legion Book.  I'm not sure what those are (though I have an idea), and I'm not sure the binding would make for good painting, so I ordered the 22 individual sheets of 8x10 watercolor paper.  Adding in S&H, the price is decent, though not fantastic.

The allure is that you get sheets of: Acquerello by Magnani, Arches Watercolor, Artistico, Bockingford, Coventry Rag, Drawing Bristol, Folio, Lanaquarelle, Multimedia Aquarelle, Saunders Waterford, Indian, and Yupo.  The sheets range in weight from 140 lb to 300 lb.  I had already received samples of the new Stonehenge Aqua when Legion was offering them free (no longer, sorry), so I added those in.

I took the cardboard backings from a couple of drawing pads, covered them in newspaper, and painted them with acrylic for covers.  I punched two holes in both covers and each sheet, and now I've got a nice pad of paper for watercolor painting.

I'm swimming in watercolor paper this year!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

52 Weeks of Watercolor Painting 2017 No. 2 #Watercolor #52WeeksOfWatercolorPainting @StillmanAndBirn

IF you are here for the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover giveaway, go here.

Whoa! This week's painting was more of a challenge than I expected.  My reference photo didn't have a strong mid-ground.  I didn't think this would be a problem, but I didn't have a clear idea for what I wanted and just started painting.  Sometimes, ideas come as I paint, but it didn't this time.

And I decided to use pre-mixed greens: Sennelier Phthalo Green Light, and Sap Green.  After starting the painting, I realized that I didn't really like these greens.

The addition of Green Gold and my Ultramarine Blue & Burnt Sienna mixes helped a bit, but I that mid-ground never resolved itself.  I fussed and fussed and never quite got the effect I wanted.

In the end, I did a lot of lifting color and went with a more abstract look. I think I captured a good sense of drama in the brush strokes.  I learned a lot about greens and lifting color on Stillman & Birn Beta series paper.

I didn't quite achieve all my goals so I think the most important lesson from this painting is to have goals, and a plan for meeting those goals before you start painting.  If another solution occurs as you paint, the plan can always be changed.

My reference photo came from Pixabay.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways is published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays

IF you are here for the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover giveaway, go here.

The Daily New Tangle Challenge
Pattern-Collections Daily Pattern Focus
3DTANGLE SHADING CHALLENGE #075-Focus Tangle:Lollywimple

Daily Tangle Video - My Swing
Luv A Tangle Pattern Lesson #134 video
Daily Tangle Video - Petals
Zentangle °3 video- (Tripoli, Petal-Panes, FestuneToo, Bumpkenz, Flossie)
Daily Tangle Video - Olim
Puffy 8's VIDEO

Tangle Refresher 145 – Featuring tangles that are good for Zentangle newbies

TanglePatterns: How to Draw Amadou

Weekly Zentangle Roundup #305

Tutorials & Art Journaling Prompts

Watercolor Pansy Demo
Make a Tangle Hair Portrait with Pen and Watercolor
Tutorial Tuesday – Painting with Gel Pens
Journal52 2017 Prompt #2: 
This Week in Art
Camouflaged Animals Downloadable Coloring Page
How to Draw and Color a Juicy Citrus: Lime


Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Stillman & Birn Gamma Series Softcover 3.5 x 5.5 inch @StillmanAndBirn #Sketchbook #GammaSeries

IF you are here for the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover giveaway, go here.

Just before the end of the year, I received a 3.5 x 5.5 ( 8.9 x 14.0 cm) Gamma series softcover from Stillman & Birn as well as a couple of Delta series softcovers.

Cover: Cardstock. Brown exterior, ivory interior
Paper Color: Ivory
Paper Weight: Heavyweight 150 gsm
Paper Surface: Medium Grain Cold Press
Size:  3.5 x 5.5 ( 8.9 x 14.0 cm)
No Pages: 26 Sheets - 92 Pages
Rated for: Dry Media, Light Wash, Ink,
Withstands multiple erasures,
Sheffield roughness metric 350 SU
Complies with international standards of responsible forestry
Alpha cellulose content 8%
pH Neutral, lignin & chloride free
Bound in the U.S.

Look & Feel
Much of what I wrote in my Delta Series review last Sunday holds true for the Gamma series softcover sketchbook:

  • The cover color is brown instead of black.
  • The 3.5 x 5.5 size is only available in the softcover version. There are other sizes that are only available in softcover.
  • The cover is heavy cardstock, sturdy but more susceptible to scuffs and dings than the hardbound versions.  I do find these softcovers to be heavier than other softcover brands that I have.
  • The edges of the cover are flush with the edges of the paper, where the hardbounds have a slight overhang.
  • The softcover versions are approximately $2 USD less than the hardbound.
  • The softcovers weight approximately 10 ounces less than the hardcovers.
  • The binding has sewn signatures glued to the cardstock cover.

The sketchbook lies flat, but can't be folded back completely.

The Gamma paper is very similar to that in the Delta, being the same ivory color and texture, but it is lighter - 150 gsm versus 270 gsm.  This means that the Gamma will handle most dry media well, but will curl if the media is too wet.  And too wet will come sooner with the Gamma.  That doesn't mean you can't use watercolor or wet media - just with caution. More about that in the Performance section.

I placed a white Kleenex on the paper to help you get an idea of the actual color.

Once upon a time, I did ATCs, 2.5 x 3.5 inch drawing of surprising complexity, but these days I prefer to work larger.  That means this 3.5 x 5.5 inch size is a little small for me.  But it's a good size to carry in a purse or pocket and to have handy for drawing while waiting in doctor's offices or Post Office lines or when you decide to stop and have a coffee some day.

Pen and pencil

No doubt about it.  To my eye anyway, the ivory paper gives an elegance to pen and ink.  The paper is a nice texture, though some may prefer a smoother texture, especially if they do lots of black areas.  Completely blacking out an area takes a little longer on textured paper (any textured paper) because you have to mat down the fibers.  On the other hand, you can get a wider range of grays on textured paper using the same pen.  I like having the wider range.

I also used pencil for shading.  I've never made a secret of the fact that pencil is my least favorite of mediums, but it works well on this paper.  The texture allows you to build up layers and burnish easily.

Watercolor, India Ink Pen, and Pencil
Wet-into-wet - dropping wet paint into an area already wet with water or another layer of paint - will cause the Gamma paper to curl.  The paper holds up well though and the curl can be weighted out after.  But using watercolor that is a creamier texture or using watercolor pencil or marker works with little to no curling.  And it makes a nice background for line and wash (pen over watercolor).

I used an india ink pen for the linework, pencil for shading and a white Sharpie paint pen for the highlights.

Colored Pencil
I really like using colored pencil on the Gamma paper.  The texture allows you to build up layers, but the fibers mat down easily so that burnishing (thoroughly saturating the fibers with color so that none of the paper color shows through) is easily accomplished without undue strain to the wrist.

It doesn't show too well in the scan, but I ran a toothpick over the 'gold' in this drawing to get a brushed sort of look.  The paper allows you to build up enough color and the fibers still have enough spring to allow you to do that.

Personally I find the look and feel of these softcovers very appealing.  I like the range of colors (they are color-coded by series:  Alpha-Red, Beta-Blue, Delta-Green, Gamma-Brown, Epsilon-Grey, and Zeta-Black), the fact that the covers exactly fit the size of the pages, and the lighter weight.  The likelihood of scuffs and dings down the road doesn't bother me.

Since the price (currently anyway) isn't much different, you should consider the issues of weight, sturdiness and appearance, decide which is the most important to you, and then decide whether to go softcover or hardbound.  Or wirebound, if you prefer that kind of binding.

I suspect I'll always have one or two of both going at any given time, lol!  I like them all for different reasons.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Camouflaged Animals Coloring Page #StillmanAndBirn #ColoringPage #ZentangleInspiredArt

IF you are here for the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover giveaway, go here.

I do love working in my new Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook.

A Stabilio 68 allowed me to get a nice bold Black & White drawing, so I scanned it in before coloring, in case anyone wants to right click and save the page to print and color.  If you do, I'd love to see what you do with it.

There's a Badger, two Foxes, a Hedgehog and a Skunk.

Since the Stabilio is not waterproof, I used colored pencil to color my page with a Sharpie white acrylic paint pen to add some highlighted detail.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways is published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays

IF you are here for the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover giveaway, go here.

The Daily New Tangle Challenge
Pattern-Collections Daily Pattern Focus
joey's weekly tangle challenge #147
"It's a String Thing" #178 Tiles
"It's a String Thing" #179
Zentangle All Around Tangle It! Journal Study: Tangle Drakon

Jl - a daily pattern video
Tripoli-a daily pattern video
Bridge - daily tangle video
Daily Tangle Video - FestuneToo
Finery Tangle Pattern Video Lesson #133
How to Draw and Color Unakite Doodle Gem Tutorial ep 41

Tips for Tangling MySwing

TanglePatterns: How to Draw Puffy 8's
Trifle - a new tangle
Tangle Pattern: Deco Sidewalk

Tutorials & Art Journaling Prompts
Bird's Nest in Watercolor Tutorial
DIY Tulle Troll Headbands
How to use the Pentel Aquash water brush pen for watercolor
Free Online Jane Davenport Mixed Media Workshop

Life Imitates Doodles Giveaway-Stillman & Birn Delta Series softcover sketchbook 5.5 x 8.5
Boho Berry  100K YouTube Subscriber Giveaway-Bullet Journal, Fountain Pen & Ink
FrugalCrafter Giveaway - Gloves in a Bottle
Graphic45-$35 prize pack giveaway
Spellbinders Designer Days Sweepstakes-over $3000 in crafting prizes