Weekend Watercolor Winners Meet Stillman & Birn


This past week incoming goodies included four brushes and a tube of red watercolor providing the perfect opportunity to test the new softcover Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook. This wasn’t planned, but it could have been. What a wonderful way to spend a bit of the weekend.

Now where to fit in that J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre ink that has patiently waited for its measure of attention? Perhaps during the week if things get slow. Heh. As if.

Where to buy:

Stillman & Birn Zeta Softcover Sketchbook

Silver Brush Black Velvet #8 Round

Silver Brush Black Velvet #8 Script

Silver Brush Black Velvet 3/4″ Oval

Loew-Cornell 7400 1″ Angle Shader

Daniel Smith Watercolor in Quinacridone Red


  1. I’m thinking about having a go at watercolouring, so I’ll have to check these out, thanks🙂


    • Welcome to the fold. Watercolor is such a great medium and the perfect lifelong hobby. I am working on a compilation of tips and materials for beginning watercolorists and will pass along a few suggestions if you have yet to do your own research.

      In order, paper, brushes, paint. Buy the best paper you can in either 300 gsm or 640 gsm weight. In the UK, it’s Bockingford and Arches. For journals, Stillman & Birn is my current favorite.

      I haven’t used Rosemary & Co. brushes, but have read very good comments and reviews. Mixes of natural hair and synthetic fiber generally hit the sweet spot between price and performance. If you intend to paint on paper 9 x 12″ or smaller, a 3/4 to 1″ flat, a pointed round #8 or #10, plus a #1 or #3 rigger will give you a wide range of line and area coverage choices. Get to know each well before adding to your collection.

      Winsor & Newton is the best source of paint in the UK and probably worldwide at that. The Cotman series is student grade and less costly than the artist grade. The compromise is in the amount of pigment as well as added fillers. If cost is a factor, purchase just a few colors and mix your own either on a palette or on the paper. It only takes yellow, red and blue to mix a useful range including green, purple, orange and earth tones. It’s good practice, too. On the positive side, Cotman kits can be relatively inexpensive and you can purchase artist quality paint to fill them.

      If your interest is simply putting color on a journal page, a Cotman kit and waterbrush is all you need. There is nothing more simple than that.

      That’s a start at least. Hope it helps.


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