Should I finish this sketch?

September 21, 2015 | 16 Comments

New week. New sketchbook. Mon Tues and Wed are super crazy for me so I thought I would warm up this morning by drawing my kit on the first page. I always draw my palette but I kept going. Taking too long so will have to get back to this later…

This is what I posted to Instagram this morning, but should I finish it? I haven’t drawn all my pens or any of my brushes? What you do think? I will do whatever gets the most votes!

BTW this is a A5 hardbound Stillman and Birn Delta book. It is the first time I have ever tried the Delta paper! I am a ‘white girl’ – preferring bright white paper to off white or cream … but sometimes it is good to have a change.

This brand new sketchbook doesn’t look new does it? Ah! that is because I have taken the bold move of washing off the sizing on every page with clean water before starting the book. S&B Beta and Delta paper have a little too much sizing for the speed and wetness that I work and I find that I can easily end up with a watery mess as a result. I have just finished a Beta book and for the last few pages washed off the sizing – I was much happier with how it handled.

Two important notes:
1. Please don’t quote me on this yet, but I thought I would take the risk of doing this for the whole book.
2. Most people ADORE the Beta/Delta just as it is. I have some very unusual methods in the way that I paint which means that what suits most artists often doesn’t work for me, and vice versa.

Ah! September in Sydney is so gorgeous and having the afternoon sun in my studio at this time of year is just SO nice!

And if you are going to ask me about the red dot, it is something that I go in a scrapbook kit and have no idea what it is or where to buy it, but I am using it as an identifier for this current sketchbook.


  • Hi Liz, I like your sketch very much just the way it is!

  • Barbra Joan says:

    I'd be doing the 'Happy Dance' if I reached that far. ! Looks good .

  • larry says:

    Liz, how do you wash off the sizing. As these are double-sized books, I assume you're talking about the surface sizing only. Also, once it's washed, how does this affect how DeAtramentis Document inks take to it? I'm on the last pages of a Beta book and would like to try it. — Larry

  • Cathy Dwyer says:

    It's great as is but I'd love to see it with all your gear as well.

  • Have you tried the Zeta?

  • Liz Steel says:

    Ha! It is on my to do list!

  • Liz Steel says:

    Thanks. It is staying as is.

  • Liz Steel says:

    Thanks bj!!!

  • Liz Steel says:

    It is a light washing and doesn't seem to affect the lines in pen or pencil. Lightly sprayed my pages and then wiped off with a big flat brush. The pages are a little watped but that's ok with me. Will update later!

  • Liz Steel says:

    This won't be the last one that I do!!!! Ha!

  • Liz Steel says:

    Yes. It is better for watercolor in terms of the sizing issues. Lovely for ink but not so good for pencil. B

  • benspeeds says:

    It's generous of you to share updated versions of your kit as it evolves and changes. You probably have an endless amount of other things you would like to move on to, but I must admit that the consumer programmed part of my brain REALLY wants a full list of your current tools. At the end of the day, it's up to you. Thanx for all that you do 🙂

  • larry says:

    Ok, I'll look forward to that report, Liz. Will probably try it myself in the meantime.

  • Liz Steel says:

    Hi Larry- not sure if you are getting notifications of this thread, and whether I have specifically stated it in a future post… but the washing off the sizing really helped!!!

  • larry says:

    I did set notifications on this thread, Liz and appreciate the update. I'm an Alpha guy at heart but when I started using Beta I just thought it was me, but it did respond differently, indicating more than just a thickness difference. I really like the thickness of Beta, though. I tried washing a sheet of it as you described and it does make a difference but my watercolor skills are so limited that I can't really identify how it's different. Just "feels" different. Logically it must be more absorptive but I'm unsure how it helps/hurts me one way or the other. I need more watercolor maturity I think 🙂

  • larry says:

    I love Epsilon/Zeta for pen work. I'm somewhat assured by the fact that you've found it not so great for pencil work. I've found difficulties using watercolor pencil on it, at least the way I use them.

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