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Showing posts with label Micron. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Micron. Show all posts

Monday, February 24, 2014

Another drawing of Christmas Roses #LifeImitatesDoodles #PigmaMicron

Last week I did a review of the Clairefontaine Japon Calligraphy Pad, which included a pen and ink drawing of roses, that I did as Christmas present for a friend.

That wasn't the only drawing of roses I did for Christmas.  This was done with the same pens on different paper.  I loved doing these, but OH! they took forever!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tangling while the car gets fixed

I drive my mother's car--it's the proverbial little old lady's car.  A 1993 Dodge Spirit with about 75,000 miles on it.  Most of which I put on after she stopped driving.  She kept it maintenanced meticulously, but still--it's feeling its age.

Which is why a routine checkup has resulted in a two-day stay and over $1000 dollars worth of fixin' up.  Ah well.  It's a lot cheaper than buying a new car!

I was given a drive home once it was determined that the visit would be more than just a check-up, but I had to wait a while.

Oh my, what could I do while waiting???

Heh.  You know the answer to that one.  I'd gone in prepared with paper and pen(s).

I did two B&W with a .005 Micron pigma on Croquis paper.

And in my Rhodia Swap Journal, I used some colored Pentel Energel pens I received as part of my last Shoplet review package.

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Tangle pattern Bubble-up and Review of Stillman & Birn's Gamma Series Sketchbook

Stillman & Birn Gamma Series Multi-media Art Journal

Stillman & Birn produces multi-media art journals in five different series--the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta & Epsilon series.  Each comes in a plethora of sizes.  Used for this review is an Gamma Series Heavy Weight Sketchbook Hardbound 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14 x 21.6 cm).

The Specs 
Paper weight: 100 lb (150 gsm)
Paper color: Ivory 
Surface: Vellum
62 sheets, 124 pages
Bound in the United States

Look and Feel
As with all the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, the cover is textured black binder board with the Stillman & Birn logo and the series name embossed on the lower back cover.  You immediately get the impression of sturdiness, and if you look closely at the binding, you'll see it is both sewn and glued.  There is an initial stiffness but if you slowly bend the sketchbook back as far as it will go, the binding loosens and the pages will lie flat.  You'll need to do this in several places.

Although the paper is thick (though only about half as thick as the Beta and Delta series paper), it is very flexible.  The wrapper states that it is 'suitable for all dry media and will accept light washes.'  It has a smooth surface, but there is some grain to it.

The Gamma and the Alpha series books have the same paper, except for color.  The Gamma comes in ivory.  It's very light, and in some lights might seem white.  Colors are slightly (slightly) less brilliant, but the ivory is slightly easier on the eyes.

Fabric tipped Art pens
I used Stabilo Point 88 fineliner pens for this drawing and the pattern steps.  These pens use a water-based ink and are very good for drawing bold black lines.  On totally smooth papers the line is very consistant which can be easy to use, and is desirable if you want stark black and white, but doesn't allow for building tonal values (gray to black; light to dark).  On the Gamma's vellum, slightly-toothed surface the pens easily do both.  Dark, stark blacks. Faint wispy grays. All the tones in-between.  Vary the pressure and speed with which you draw and vary the tones you achieve.

NOTE about the tangle pattern: Bubble-up can be drawn as either symmetrical or asymmetrical.  The lopsided 8 added in step 3 bulges out in  left-right repetition. Make your 8s, both vertical and horizontal, similar in size and you'll have a clean, bold look. (Keep the bulge--just make every bulge the same size).

If you vary the size of your 8s, you get more of wild, meandering look.

Neither is better--you might want the very orderly look for a mandala, but choose the uneven look to imply the feel of pebbles or bunches of fruit. It's a choice.

Watercolor-Twinkling H2Os
I did this a bit differently from my usual style.  My preference is to add color first, then do my linework, and add more color if needed.  This time I did my linework and painted in.  I was surprised-the paper did curve quite a bit.  There was no dimpling or buckling.  I haven't weighted the book, yet, but I suspect the curve will straighten out when I do so.

Iris Folding/Stamp pad ink/Metallic marker

This didn't come out as good as I hoped, but it was a first try, and I learned a few things.  For the purposes of this review, I learned that the Gamma paper is excellent for this kind of mixed media.

If you are unfamiliar with Iris Folding, the basic steps are:

Cut a hole in your paper (the journal page, in this case).
Tape folded strips of colored paper in a layered spiral pattern, on the back of the paper (this resembles the shutter and iris of a camera).
Tape something on the back to cover up the strips and tape.
Decorate the front of the page around the Iris.

I wanted to see how the pages of my Gamma sketchbook held up to cutting, and to the weight of the 'iris'.  I also used the journal piece that was cut out--I cut it in quarters, made a fan of each quarter and used the fans as stencils, before spraying them with Tattered Angels glimmer mist.

Results--I put the corner of a cutting mat under the page, and used an exacto blade to cut out my circle.  The paper cut easily.  There are a couple of ragged edges.  That was me.  I was moving my blade rather than turning the page.

I used Origami paper for my strips.  It isn't terribly heavy, but I added 28 strips and the weight does add up.  The paper held up to the weight as though it wasn't there.  No buckling or warping whatsoever. I taped a piece of cardstock over the back of the taped paper strips.  The paper carried that extra weight easily.  I didn't like how it looked, however, so I removed the cardstock and taped two pages together.  You can barely tell the difference.

I rubbed a sponge over an inkpad, and holding the cut-out fans down, on the page, I dabbed the sponge around the fans to get a stencil effect.  Even though the 'fans' were cut into fairly thin strips, the paper held up to some energetic dabbing.

I tore the fans apart because I wanted to use them for petals.  Than I ruined things by adding metallic marker.  I don't like it, and I'll probably add on some 'collage' items.  There also aren't enough 'petals' but I didn't have anymore of the cut-out piece left.  Since this review is about the Gamma paper, not Iris folding, I decided to quit for now.

Alcohol marker bleedthrumanade

I used Spectrum Noirs for the background color and Micron Pigma for the linework.  The marker color goes on rich and deep, but isn't brilliant.  The bleed through to the back of the page is 10-20% and I decided to try something different, which leads me to....

Color pencil-Lyra Rembrandts

I don't know what it is, but when I use any kind of pencil, my hands ache after a while.  They seldom do when I use pen, so it must be the type of repetitive motion I'm using, or the amount of pressure.  At any rate, it can take a while to build up your color and values with pencil and that causes me pain.  I've been playing around using the pencils over alcohol marker--that way some of values are already established, and I don't have to work as hard at it.

There's a downside of course.  It's harder to get the right tonal values where you want them, but that's the kind of challenge I love, lol!

As soon as I turned the page, I 'saw' this young lady in the color that bled through from the front of the page.  She told me quite plainly that she needed the soft, subtle colors that you get with colored pencil, and Voila!  Here she is!.

The Gamma series sketchbook has a beautiful surface for pen & ink work, and the ivory paper is easy on the eyes while still providing bright color.  It holds up to light washes, cuts easily without being easy to tear and is capable of supporting the weight of collage or ephemera.  The binding is excellent, the book lies flat, even in hardbound format.

With this review, I've shown you all the current sketchbook series.  I hope Stillman & Birn come out with more.  I'd love to see toned paper or more surfaces.  The Stillman & Birn sketchbook is priced competitively, affordable enough for the casual user.  And the quality makes it suitable for any level of artist.

My previous Stillman & Birn reviews:
Comparison of the different Stillman & Bern Series sketchbooks
Alpha Series Review
Beta Series Review & Comparison of Hardbound vs Wirebound
Delta Series Review
Epsilon Series Review

Find out more at the Stillman &Birn website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review of Stillman & Birn's Alpha Series Sketchbook

Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Multi-media Art Journal

Stillman & Birn produces multi-media art journals in five different series--the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta & Epsilon series.  Each comes in a plethora of sizes.  Used for this review is an Alpha Series Heavy Weight Sketchbook Hardbound 8.5 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm).
The Specs 
Paper weight: 100 lb (150 gsm)
Paper color: Natural White
Surface: Vellum
62 sheets, 124 pages
Bound in the United States

Look and Feel
The cover is the signature textured black binder board cover with the Stillman & Birn logo and the series name embossed on the lower back cover.  To begin with the binding is stiff (both sewn and glued), but if you slowly bend the sketchbook back as far as it will go, the binding loosens and the pages will lie flat.  You'll need to do this in several places.

Although the paper is thick (though only about half as thick as the Beta and Delta series paper0, it is very flexible.  The wrapper states that it is 'suitable for all dry media and will accept light washes.'  It has a smooth surface, but there is some grain to it.

The book isn't light, but neither is it overly heavy for its size.  I wouldn't carry it as an everyday book (though I would for the smaller sizes), but I'd take it for special trips despite the weight.  Partly because it is sturdy enough for jostling it would take, and partly because the results I could get would be worth the extra weight.

Fabric tipped Art pens
I used both Micron Pigmas and American Craft Precision Pens, point sizes .01 and .05.  The linework from both pens is exquisite--sharp, clear and crisp with no feathering or bleedthrough whatsoever.

It takes very little pressure to work up dark areas, but it's also possible to get lovely texture and wispy lines .  Fantastic for building up layers of tonal values.

Alcohol Marker/Water-Soluble Marker/Stamp Pad Ink
This is the front of a bleedthrumanade (Got Lemons, make lemonade.  Got Marker Bleedthru, make bleedthrumanade).  I laid down the color with Spectrum Noir alcohol markers, then stamped the rooster with Tsukineko Brilliance stamp pad ink (Tiramisu 3-color ink).  The linework was done with a Tim Holtz Distress Marker (Weathered Wood).  The Rooster Stamp is item 18891 from Viva Las Vegastamps!

Color Bleedthrough from the alcohol markers is about 10-20%.  I have a project in mind for the back of the page and didn't have all the ingredients, so you'll it finished at another time.

Walnut Ink Wash/Embossing Powder

I started this by stamping an image (Tree Writing Collage Item 18914 from Viva Las Vegastamps!) with a Versamark clear inkpad, and heat embossing it with Ranger Snow white embossing powder.  I was going for texture, not the image and didn't worry if the image was clear or not.

The paper took the heat with no buckling or dimpling.  I then took a solution of Walnut Ink (water + Walnut ink crystals) and saturated the page.  The embossed section resisted the ink and remained white.  The paper dimpled somewhat but there was no buckling or curving.

Then I stamped the same image with Ranger Archival Blank ink, partially overlapping the embossed image.

I used an American Craft Precision pen and a Pentel White gel pen for the pattern linework.

No matter how you slice it--Stillman & Birn make a quality sketchbook.  The book I used for this review is one of the larger sizes, so weight is a definite factor in deciding how you'll use the book.  The smaller sizes would be more portable.  That said--it's sure nice having all that space.  I hadn't realized how much I'd grown used to keeping my work tight so I could fit everything, or doing two page spreads just so I'd have more space.

The paper in the Alpha is good weight.  While not as thick as the paper in the Beta and Delta series, it is more flexible and you get a great number of pages.  And even though it is thinner, the paper holds up to cutting, gluing and added embellishment as I'll show in my review of the Gamma Series sketchbook on Friday.  It has the same paper as the Alpha (except that it is ivory), and I'll show you how color pencil, watercolor and iris folding do.

You can find my other Stillman & Birn reviews at:

Beta Series-Comparison of Hardbound vs Wirebound
Gamma Series Reivew
Delta Series Review
Epsilon Series Review
Comparison of the different series

Find out more at the Stillman &Birn website.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Stillman & Birn Wirebound vs Hardbound

Stillman & Birn Multi-media Art Journals

Stillman & Birn produces multi-media art journals in five different series--the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta & Epsilon series.  Each comes in a plethora of sizes.

And that's why this review is taking a slightly different direction.  The two Beta and Delta series are virtually identical except that the paper in the Beta is white and the Delta is ivory.

I have a Beta that is wirebound and now a Delta that is hardbound, so I've done examples in both sketchbooks and will discuss the features both have in common, as well as the differences between the two.

The Specs for both sketchbooks
Paper weight: 180 lb (270 gsm)
Surface: Cold Press, Rough 
Bound in the United States

Other Specs for Delta Hardbound
26 sheets, 52 pages

Other Specs for Beta Wirebound
25 sheets, 50 pages

Used in this review-Delta Series Extra Heavy Weight Sketchbook Hardbound 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14.0 x 21.6 cm) and Beta Series Extra Heavy Weight Sketchbook  Wirebound Sketchbook 7 x 10 inches (17.8 x 25.4 cm)

Look and Feel-Both
Both hardbound and wirebound have textured black binder board covers.  The Stillman & Birn logo and the series name embossed on the lower back cover are the only adornment.

I've always said that if an sketchbook (journal, etc.) has something extra special about it, the company will let you know--loud and clear--in the promotional wrapping.  The wrapper for Stillman & Birn has lots and lots to say about the quality of their books.  I'm not going to repeat it all here--it would take too long, lol!  The Look and Feel of the books give proof to the wrapper.  They look quality and they feel quality.  Especially the Beta and Delta, which have extra heavy weight paper.

The paper's thick, but light for the thickness.  (I won't say these are light books, though!)  The thought that comes to mind is eggshell, because you can feel the texture, but still get the impression of smoothness.

Look and Feel-Hardbound
The binding of the Stillman & Birn is stiff at first, and the pages want to spring up, but if you carefully bend the book backward, the binding loosens just enough so that the pages lie flat enough for two-page spreads and scanning.

Look and Feel-Wirebound
The first thing I always check with a wirebound sketchbook is how much wear and tear the paper will get where the coil rubs against them.  I held one page at edge between finger and thumb and shook the book.

An inspection afterwords didn't show any dents or tears around the coils.  Pages slid easily back and forth, and they hang straight rather than slanting downwards, as happens when the holes are too large for the coil (this was true with the Stillman & Birn Epsilon, also, which has the lightest paper of all the series).

The coil was small enough that it didn't get in the way of my hand, though, as with all coils, it is difficult to draw to the very edge of the page.

Performance-The Delta
Color pencil-Lyra Rembrandt

The rough surface of these two series are really nice for color pencil.  The color builds up quickly and it glows!

Alcohol Markers-Spectrum Noirs
Front of page-color laid down                Back of page-color that bled through
The paper is a bit rough for the fabric nibs of alcohol markers, so I wouldn't use them a lot in this book.  The color bleed-through is only about 10%.  I used the hard tip of a Tim Holtz Distress marker for the linework on the front, and an American Craft Precision pen for the linework on the back of the page.

Performance-The Beta
Fabric-tipped Art Pens-Micron Pigma/American Craft Precision pens

Despite the rough surface, the lines come out bold and crisp, yet by varying the pressure you apply it is easy to vary the thickness and tonal values.  

Acrylic pens-Elmers Painter pens

Elmers Painter pens have a very thick tip, so there isn't much fine detail, but the color applies easily and fairly glows on the white Beta paper.

Watercolor/Mixed Media-Twinkling H2Os, Punchinella and Gel pen
I decided to try for a little Christmas in July effect, though I didn't quite get it done in time for July!  The green and red are Twinkling H2O watercolors.  They glimmer, but the scanner seldom picks that up.  I then glued on some pieces of punchinella (sequin waste) and added some flowers, stars and spots with white and metallic gold gel pen.

The paper did warp and dimple from the watercolor.  I know from experience with my previous Delta that most of this will disappear if I leave a weight on the sketchbook.

Conclusion: I absolutely love the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, and this extra heavy paper make the Deltas and Betas my favorite.  The quality is superb from stem to stern, and you could use the books for almost any purpose.  I'm so glad I have one to giveaway.

You can find my other Stillman & Birn reviews at:
Alpha Series Review
Gamma Series Reivew
Delta Series Review
Epsilon Series Review
Comparison of the different series

Giveaway: I'm giving away a copy of the Stillman & Birn Beta Series Extra Heavy Weight Sketchbook Hardbound 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14.0 x 21.6 cm).  It looks exactly like the Delta reviewed here, but has the same paper color as the Beta reviewed here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent these Stillman & Birn sketchbooks with no requirements asked of me, and have received no other compensation for writing my reviews.  I have included options for the entrants of the giveaway that include visiting Stillman & Birn sites and following them.  I was NOT asked to do this.  I included the options because I think there are benefits--Stillman & Birn features great artists, whose work you might enjoy, they have occasional giveaways and link to giveaways, and following them is the fastest way to learn of new products or deals.  But I do understand that everyone must guard their time and may not wish to do these things.  For that reason, only the first option is mandatory to enter the giveaway, and it is weighted for more points than the other options.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review & Bleedthrumanades in the Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook

This is the first post of my review for the Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook.

I was in North Carolina last week helping my brother with a seminar and giving a presentation on Social Marketing.  The seminar, a Writer's Camp, was held on his farm, and the people who stay there bunk down in pretty rough & rustic cabins, making it a bit like camping.  I wanted to travel light because I wasn't sure how much room I'd have.

The only art supplies I carried were my Epsilon Sketchbook, a Pentel White Sunburst gel pen and one of the Zentangle® Micron Pen sets made by Sakura.

I precolored a few pages in this Sketchbook, with Spectrum Noir markers, so I could do some Bleedthrumanades (Got lemons? Make lemonade.  Got marker bleed-thru? Make Bleedthrumanade.)
I'll have at least one more post with the Epsilon that will feature work done with other media.

The Specs:
Color: Natural White
Weight-100 lb (150 gsm)
Surface-Plate surface for Pen & Ink (very smooth)

Look & Feel:
I received the 6x8 in (15.2 x 20.3 cm) size.  Stillman & Birn, sent me four of the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks shortly before I was due to leave (you can see the Comparison here).  I had reviewed the Delta Series Sketchbook a few weeks ago and chose the Epsilon to take, because the paper was the most different from that of the Delta.

The paper borders on look and feel of cardstock.  It is smooth and bright but not glossy. Alcohol marker color is brilliant in it.  The paper color--natural white--is the same as for the Alpha and the Beta series, but it seems whiter too me, probably because the other books have a rough texture.

As with all the series, the cover is a textured black over extra heavy weight binders board.  I received one of the double wire-coil formats.  The holes for the coil are a bit large.  If the sketchbook is carried in a purse or bag, I think the paper around the coils might eventually rip.

Because I used the Pentel White Sunburst gel pen heavily on the front (to the left) and went so heavy with the black on the back, the color appears almost as solid on both sides.  In fact, color bleed-through is only about 75%-80%.  There is some feathering when the alcohol marker is applied, but you can get a crisp line if you move quickly.  I like to let my colors blend so I don't worry about it.

I experimented quite a bit with this one.  I only used shades of gray Spectrum Noirs, and then used the blender marker.  I really like the effect, and haven't done anything further on the front.  I intend to add color to this with other media, but thought you might like to see it before I do (plus I worry I might ruin it!).  

On the back, I used one of the stamps from Viva Las Vegastamps! that was created using my artwork.  I used the steps to my tangle pattern 'Sabal'.  I loaded the stamp with ink, and stamped three times without adding more ink.  The bottom has the darkest ink, and the top barely shows the design.  

Since the ink color is a little different than my pen color, I darkened some of the bottom image with the pen so it would blend.  I added details to the second image that changed the pattern altogether (and blended to the two colors of ink).  Then I added various patterns and shading along the sides and top. I think it looks like an underground grotto reflecting in a lake, lol!

Alcohol marker color is bright but not brilliant. The linework from the Microns was crisp, but not as bold as I thought it might be.  It is bold enough, and a good solid black is possible, but I had to work a little harder than I thought I would.  I actually prefer that, because I like lots of tone variation for shading.

Part II of this review (and a new tangle pattern too!) can be found here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Tangle Pattern Hinge #1 and Review of the Stillman & Birn Delta Series Sketchbook-Day 4

This week I'm doing an overview of the Stillman & Birn Delta Series sketchbook 7x7 in.  You can find my previous review pages on Day 1 and Day 2 and Day 3.

Today's I'm showing you three pages I did using various media and faux metal.  The faux metal is created by melting embossing powder so that it forms a puddle, then pushing a rubber or acrylic stamp into the puddle.

While nowhere near the weight of true metal, this faux metal does have some weight and might cause some paper to sag or pull the page away from a coil binding.  For the first two pieces, I melted my embossing powder on cardstock, and taped it to the sketchbook. But the Stillman & Birn pages remain straight and rigid with no buckling.

Recollection Gold Glitter & Gold Tinsel embossing powders; Spectrum Noir alcohol markers; Tim Holtz Distress Markers; Brown Cardstock; and Viva Las Vegastamps!steampunk balloon ,gear duowatch parts, gear quartet.  (See the steps to the tangle pattern Hinge #1-Steampunk Series at the bottom of this post).

Stampendous Aged Copper embossing powder; Spectrum Noir alcohol markers; Tim Holtz Distress Markers; Brown Cardstock; and Viva Las Vegastamps!Map Background.

Stampendous Aged Silver embossing powdes; Copic alcohol markers; Micron Pigma and Viva Las Vegastamps!gear duo, concentric circles, undulating lines, nesting gears and Gear.

These tangle pattern steps were drawn in one of Geneviève Crabe's Tangle Organizers.

In conclusion, I've found the Stillman & Birn to be durable, well-made and suitable for almost anything you want to throw at it.  It isn't the lightest sketchbook for its size, but the trade off is extra-heavy-weight paper. The double wire-coil binding allows the book to lie flat or be folded back completely.

There was some mild buckling when water was used.  Weighting the book didn't remove it, but weighting the single page itself did.

This is the last of my review, but you'll be seeing a lot more of my work done in this sketchbook.  I highly recommend  the Delta series, and I can't wait to try out the Alpha, Beta and Epsilon series!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Tangle Pattern and Review of the Stillman & Birn Delta Series Sketchbook-Day 2

 Yesterday I began my review of the Stillman & Birn Delta Series sketchbook.  For the specs, and to see how this sketchbook performed with neopastels, please check out Day 1.

Today I am showing you a bleedthrumanade.  Many of you already know, but for those who don't, I decided a while back to take advantage of the color bleed-through that often occurs when using alcohol markers.  Instead of bemoaning the mess on the back, I turn the page and use whatever color shows through to create a second piece of art.  When life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade.  When it hands you marker bleed-through, you should make bleedthrumanades, lol.

I used Spectrum Noir alcohol markers on the front of the page.  The color was bright, but not brilliant.  The color dried quickly, which makes it harder to avoid streaks.  There are methods to do that (circular motions, layers, etc), but I like the texture that streaks give, so I just left them.

There was very little color bleedthrough.  About 10% or less.  I was using brand new markers, very juicy, so this is very good.  Except for a bleedthrumanade, lol.  The challenge is to use whatever the paper gives you, so I had to think a bit for this one.

On the front, I used Micron Pigma Black .08 and .02 to add Zentangle®-Inspired patterns, including a new one--Background #7 of my Steampunk Series.  The pattern steps can be found at the bottom of this post.

I added additional color using Sakura Gellyroll pens in Copper, Gold, Silver and white Pentel Sunburst gel pen.

Suspension Bridge

For the back of the page, I switched to a Micron Pigma brush pen in Sepia.  I drew auras around the patches of color, and then added patterns in the spaces between.

Twilight Meadow

The tangle pattern Background #7 can be varied easily by spacing the circles differently or by changing the type of striping.

These tangle pattern steps were drawn in one of Geneviève Crabe's Tangle Organizers.

Tomorrow I'll show you some pages I've done with colored pencils; Pitt Big Brushes and metallic gellyrolls, and the back of another bleedthrumanade.

Day 1, Day 3, Day 4