My new Stillman and Birn Alpha Sketchbook

February 12, 2013 | 4 Comments

Here are the beginning pages of my A5 Stillman & Brin Alpha book (actually it is the one we got at Santo Domingo in our Symposium sample bag) I think the images speak for themselves (except for a special hello to the owner of the Gordon Pizza Bar who I promised to post my sketch – it is right down the bottom of the post!)

A few general thoughts about changing from A4 watercolour moleskine:

– A LOT of experimentation is going on in these pages

– I am working VERY wet – often adding water on the top of my initial washes. The alpha paper is not designed for this treatment and obviously ‘real’ watercolour paper would be ‘better’ to use… but I am loving the effects anyway

– It is REALLY strange to go back to my standard sketchbook format after a break of over 6 months. The last time I used this format for a daily sketchbook it was just after coming back from NYC. I do feel in some ways a different person since then and do not have the familiar feeling I was expecting. (it is not the exact same sketchbook that I used to use – that was a Jasart Premium Book but they have changed the paper and I love S&B sketchbooks in any shape and form!!)

– I AM missing my large sketchbook in many ways (except for the weight and bulk of carrying around) I miss the larger page size for my sketches but I am also missing using the other side of the sketchbook as a table/prop for my paint tin.

– However, I am finding that the smaller size is more intimate and personal – I feel like this can be a more personal and experimental book – less for show as the big book. It fits on a small cafe table a lot easier (not that I have been using it in that location much – what????)

– BTW the ‘old Liz’ of ink and wash hasn’t totally gone and in fact I feel one of those sketches coming on… tonight or tomorrow maybe…and I am looking forward to seeing what happens. (My Lamy pen is a little upset!)

– I have forgotten how MUCH I LOVE writing on the Alpha paper… (never felt quite right to write on the watercolour paper of the moleskine)..and yes, I can see my gridlines through the thinner paper so my writing can be neater- though I haven’t had it with me all the time

– I am totally addicted to using my credit card (apple gift card in fact) to scrape paint… it is not a fun sketch without trying to do that at some stage.

OK… enough for tonight!…

oh…here are the pages…


  • Bruce Sherman - February 12, 2013 reply

    Hi Liz!... I love the loose... honest and painterly quality of your journal-sketchbook entries!

    They record an exciting adventure... and a spiritual outlook which I much admire! Enjoyed my first taste and visit!

    Good Painting and sketching! Let the adventures continue!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce Sherman

  • Liz Steel - February 12, 2013 reply

    thank you very much Bruce and especially a first visit!
    Love your paintings - slightly different weather for you as it is for me!

  • pauline - February 12, 2013 reply

    i always love coming here for a visit. Your work is stunning. Love your journal pages... xox

  • Linnéa Strömberg - July 16, 2016 reply

    Hey, awesome journal pages! I bought one from the Beta series a while ago and brought as my art journal to Kenya, probably the best paper I've ever used!

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