Posts Tagged ‘Stillman & Birn’

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The Best On My Desk Winners For 2017

01/12/2018

Whether penned on the back of an envelope, a scrap of napkin or in a classic journal, a list is my favorite organizational tool. The end of the year is the perfect time to make such a list, one that summarizes and compares my ever-changing pen, ink, and other tool preferences.

Rather than new faves, the focus for my 2017 list was which tools were used the most, those that rarely if ever left my desk. Products that arrived late in the year didn’t qualify even if they were noteworthy. The handsome journal from Central Crafts and two inks from Noodler’s will have to wait for the 2018 list.

(Links are to retailers and in some cases Amazon from which I receive a tiny commission should you make a purchase. Every little bit helps keep Inkophile alive!)

Tools for 2017

Pens

Pelikan M400 Fine – This pen has been in my collection for a number of years. The flow was increased by Chartpak to accommodate hand issues and proved to be a brilliant pen for my worst days.

Platinum Century Nice Pur Medium – Using different grip widths relaxes my hand while a smooth nib makes short work of any written task. The Plat provided provided both and was a good alternative to the Pel. Besides, what’s not to like about a clear barrel that shows off colorful ink?

Platinum #3776 Music Nib – Sometimes a wide nib gives me a little extra support when my hand is tired and at those times a music nib fits my needs very well. It also adds a little flair to the written word without catching on paper as an italic might and that makes writing more enjoyable.

Pilot Metropolitan Medium – When out and about, I carry a pen that can easily be replaced, but still writes well and looks sharp. The turquoise Met meets all those requirements.

TWSBI Diamond 580 Stub – This pen won the slot for a nib with line variation. It also added a pen to my rotation with a slightly wider grip circumference than the other pens. You already know what I think of a clear barrel and this design makes colorful ink sparkle.

Lamy Studio Fine – It is on the list but last due to its unpleasantly sharp cap and barrel edge. However, the nib and flow make using it worth the risk so long as I remember to grasp it gently. Unfortunately, this one has disappeared and missed the photo shoot. Phooey.

Ink

Waterman Florida Blue is mated to the Pel M400. The flow is perfect for the nib and though I may experiment with other inks, WFB always wins out.

Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan makes a luscious line with the #3776 and the shading can be quite dynamic.

Diamine Violet has been the choice of the TWSBI Diamond 580 stub and with good reason. Eye candy to be sure.

Platinum Mixable Aqua Blue suits the turquoise Met perfectly. My samples are now depleted, so it’s time for a full bottle. In the interim, Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare will do.

Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu was my dark green ink which was well suited to a silver Met. It isn’t Montblanc Racing Green, but it does have excellent flow as well as other charming properties.

Platinum Classic Lavender Black is a newcomer that made a splash in the Platinum Century Nice Pur. Color and performance made this an excellent choice for my everyday ink.

Paper

Clairefontaine, Stillman & Birn, Staples Arc and anything made with Tomoe River paper. Enough said.

Watercolor Paint

Artist quality: Sennelier, Daniel Smith, American Journey, and Da Vinci are mainstays along with a couple of Winsor & Newton colors on occasion.

Student grade: Sennelier La Petit Aquarelle and Daler-Rowney Aquafine are about as good as student quality gets. They are not as saturated or lightfast as artist grade paints, but fine in a journal and are packaged conveniently for outdoor sketching. When I empty a palette of student paint, it gets refilled with artist quality paint.

Watercolor Paper

Arches 140# for paintings and Canson Watercolor 140# for color swatches. The best paper is 100% cotton. It will yield the truest colors and survive the longest. Arches is cotton and readily available. It is pricey but worth it.

Watercolor Brushes

SAA Gold Round #10 This was my favorite brush last year and easily got the most use.

Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #8

Escoda Versatil Rigger #2

Daniel Smith Platinum Angle 1/2″ (sable and taklon)

Isabey Petit Gris 6234 Quill Mop #0

Other writing and drawing tools

Pentel Pocket brush pen

Autopoint mechanical pencil

Pentel Sign Touch Pen

New Stuff

Noodler’s Legal Blue and Polar Purple

Romano Handmade Recycled Leather Wrap Large Journal (Paper is not friendly with all fountain pen inks. Handsome leather cover.)

What’s on your list? Use the comments to post your faves as well as most used tools for 2017. Or submit a link if you’ve already shared such a list elsewhere.

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Sunday Reads: Best Pocket Pens, Mysterious Gold Object, And A Backstory

06/25/2017

Lexington Gray has enjoyed a long term home in one of my Pentel Pocket Brush Pens. Very highly recommended for the calligrapher, artist, doodler in you…

Playtime in a Stillman & Birn Sketchbook

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Sunday Reads: Ink, Pens And Typewriters

06/18/2017

Wish I still had my blue Smith Corona

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook and Friends

 

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Mattias Adolfsson And His Fountain Pens

05/25/2017

Mattias Adolfsson is a Swedish illustrator who uses fountain pens for detailed drawings. I became enchanted with his work via Fountain Pen Network ten years ago when he posted a drawing done with a Namiki Falcon and Diamine Monaco Red. The duo is lovely for drawing and elegant for shading as well as simplicity.

Sometimes I let the nib release a little extra ink and move it around with a swab, toothpick or small brush. Otherwise, the expressive line from the nib is gorgeous on its own. Any ink will do, though J. Herbin Lie de The is an especially good alternative. My Stillman & Birn Sketchbook loves the attention and with Mattias for inspiration, it’s a win-win activity.

 

Tools mentioned are available at Amazon: Pilot Namiki Falcon SF, Stillman & Birn Sketchbook, Diamine Monaco Red, and J. Herbin Lie de The.

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My Gear For The New Year

01/06/2017

Ink, pen and paper:

Sketching Kit:

Watercolor Supplies:

Accessories:

Want to purchase any of these items? Here ya go!

Ink, pen and paper: Pilot BBk,  Noodler’s Black, Diamine Mediterranean Blue, J. Herbin Cafe des Iles, Sailor Tokiwa-matsu, Stipula Calamo Sapphron, Stillman & Birn  Zeta Sketchbook, Tomoe River Paper from Paper for Fountainpens, Quo Vadis Plan & Note journal, Pilot Metropolitan, Platinum #3776 Century M, TWSBI Diamond 580 1.1, Staples ArcTraveler’s Notebook 013

Sketching Kit: Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils, Pentel Hi-Polymer Eraser, Prismacolor Kneaded Eraser, Lowe-Cornell tortillions, Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook, Faber-Castell Sharpener

Watercolor Kit: Martin Mijello Airtight Watercolor 18-Well Blue Palette, travel box, Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, Arches 300 gsm watercolor paper, Schut Aquarelbloc 300gsm watercolor paper, Monaco Travel Case, Traveler’s Notebook 012

Brushes: Silver Brush Black Velvet Script #4, Round #8, 3/4″ Flat, Escoda Versatil Rigger #10, Isabey Petit Gris #0, SAA Gold Round #10

Tube paints for a watercolor mixing triad: Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue, Winsor & Newton Aureolin, Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose.

Watercolor Metal Travel Box with colors especially good for mixing: American Journey Aureolin, American Journey Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Winsor & Newton Winsor Red, Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose, Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue, American Journey Phthalo Blue, Daniel Smith Phthalo Green (BS)

Accessories: Coccoina glue stick, American Crafts washi tape, Bigelow Earl Grey Green Tea, Numi Chocolate Pu-erh Tea, Sadaf Special Blend Tea with Earl Grey.

 

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Stillman & Birn Soft Cover Sketchbooks

12/28/2016

Stillman & Birn sent a few of their soft cover Sketchbooks and I am really enjoying them. The quality of S&B paper is always excellent and the hard cover version has been in my arsenal for years. It is equally fantastic for fountain pens, watercolors or mixed media. The soft cover has proven to be an even better match for my needs in several ways.

  • The soft cover journal weighs a little less than the hardcover. It’s enough to notice a difference carried in my travel pack.
  • The pages bend back a little more easily than the hardcover and become extremely flat. No barriers to painting across a two-page spread.
  • The corners are rounded which is a nice touch.
  • The soft cover has two more sheets of that lovely paper.
  • The cover is stiff enough that I can hold the book in my lap or hand to work.
  • The cover material is less inclined to slide on my desk than the hard cover version.

The question that remains is how durable the soft cover is compared to the hard cover and whether any difference is enough to matter in everyday use. My journals tend to get pampered with duty largely at my work table. They often look pristine even after months of use and so far the Stillman & Birn soft cover looks just fine. This is where the rounded corners are of benefit since they fray less easily than squared ones. Put that down to thoughtful design.

Frankly, you can’t go wrong with Stillman & Birn paper regardless of the application. Just match your paper selection to the intended use. Either cover will do the job so it’s a matter of personal preference. Both will protect your pages and provide a serviceable platform on which to work. This is truly the good stuff and very highly recommended.

Brenda Swenson review on YouTube and a second review here. Liz Steel review.

Portrait and landscape are both available at Amazon.

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First Take On A Few Products

12/24/2016

Busy, busy, busy here, but still moving forward on a few reviews. First take on several products:

  • Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks with soft covers are as good as it gets especially for those with arthritis and other hand issues.
  • Pilot MR Metropolitan 1.0 Calligraphy nib is an italic that proved to be a dry writer with Noodler’s Dostoyevsky. Will try either Pilot Blue-Black or an Iroshizuku next to see if either improves performance.
  • Lamy Studio Fine arrived with two very visible body flaws. Then I removed the cap to discover the edge of the barrel that meets the cap is ridiculously sharp and jagged. So much for quality control.
  • Coccoina adhesive smells like marzipan and is delightful to use.
  • Silver Brush Monaco Travel Case is somewhat large, but will hold eight brushes plus lots of additional tools. Looks durable, too.

There are at least a dozen inks to review along with several brands of paper plus two Fountain Pen Revolution flex models. The next few months are going to be very busy indeed.

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