Alpha vs Gamma (sketchbook paper)

December 19, 2011 | 5 Comments

 I am absolutely loving my Alpha Series Stillman & Birn sketchbook but I am running out of pages and have 3 days left to make it last. So I stuck in a leaf from my Stillman & Birn Gamma sketchbook (given to us in Lisbon) The alpha has bright white paper the gamma, ivory. For some reason the gamma sketchbook did not work for me, so it is interesting to try it again….
111218 Alpha vs Gamma
This is one of my Sunday text/notes pages that I do every week but rarely post. I must say that although the paper is the same (just the colour difference) my writing is neater on the Gamma (cream)… not very scientific I know… but there you have it!

The spread from tonight is all gamma and to be honest I just don’t like working on the cream colour. I probably wouldn’t have been that crazy about this sketch on the bright white paper but the colour of the paper seems to make me dislike it more…

So… only one way to properly test the two papers… draw a Baroque facade on them. Ok… not much in this (had to confess that being a leftie I work from right to left so the Alpha paper got the better deal!) BUT I personally prefer the white paper…can really see the colour, makes my colours brighter and cleaner.
I know many other people LOVE cream paper…but me I am LOVING the bright white so much.

Thanks Stillman & Birn for providing such options for nuts like me! I love your sketchbooks!!!!

BTW this is a VERY famous Rome sight …but I have omitted the main part of it…. what is it?????


  • Liz Steel says:


  • Letizia Farisato says:

    …reading this post of yours a few years later! In fact, I’m in the middle of a paper-color issue, and I was wondering if something similar happened to you, when I found this post…

    Did you finished your cream-paper sketchbook or – since it didn’t work for you – what you did with it?

    In fact, today I just got my first Stillman & Birn sketchbook (waited for more than 10 days for it to arrive in Italy!). I was SO excited while opening the package! Until I found out that… it is BEIGE paper!!!! Sigh… I did not realize about that when I ordered it. Beige is even darker than cream, and I really don’t know if watercolor is going to work on it at all… I’ll test it, as I would hate wasting this (still) beautiful sketchbook just because its paper is too dark…

    I’m trying to be positive and think of creative ways to use it, like maybe for “particular atmosphere” sketches, like scenes at dawn, or something like that, where light is softer… have you ever tried beige paper? Or know of artists who use it?

    • Liz Steel says:

      I probably finished it 70%. I have a beige book and it’s on my list to try. Maybe better for some gouache.

      • Letizia Farisato says:

        Thank you, Liz! I appreciate your reply, especially since I know you’ve been in Porto and very busy: you are AMAZING!!

        BTW: It was an honor meeting you in person Vicenza, I really meant to tell you that before, but I hesitated because I doubt you can remember me, with the tons of people you meet all over the world! 🙂

        I keep following you online and you have no idea of how much you’ve been helping me with my “Artist’s Way” (quoting Julia Cameron). Thank you again for being such a great artist, teacher and inspirer.

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