I was warned that I may not like this particular paper as well because it is much smoother than traditional watercolor paper. It is similar to hot press but different. It's almost as if Stillman and Birn have managed to combine the properties of hot press (smoothness) with the responsiveness of cold press (absorbency). I gotta tell you, I love the smoother surface as it works well for pen AND it makes me think differently!
As I've mentioned in the last several posts, I've been working towards working looser. The page above is testament to how changing up our media can bring about changes in our style.
Moby is our youngest kitten and she became quite ill towards the end of January. She curled up into a ball on the couch and quit playing, interacting and basically slept 23 out of 24 hours. This is so not normal for a kitten and it scared us witless.
When the vet starts throwing words around like meningitis and spinal column injury or infection, you tend to freak out.
Two trips to the vet, two rounds of strong antibiotics, and a new, cutting-edge anti-inflammatory drug for cats later and we have a furry, purry, playful kitten again.
When I started the page, I knew I wanted to capture a quick image that showed Moby's stoic withdrawal from us. She felt so bad and it showed on her face even in sleep.
I had captured a moody picture of her with my camera a few days back before she became sick and the left part of her face was in deep shadow. When I went to sketch and paint this image, Moby climbed up into the big chair in my studio and basically sat in the same position as the photo. I was able to sketch from the live model while using the dramatic lighting from the image.
The Zeta paper is easy to paint, draw, and write on. I've found it to be very versatile and easy to use. Because it's different from my usual paper, it also challenges me to be in the moment rather than working "as usual."
I have to think about what I'm doing, how I'm laying down paint, how I'm engaging with the paper to create the image I seek.
The new header at the top of the blog is also painted on the Zeta paper and I'll have a number of other examples to share with you over the coming weeks.
So if you are looking to change up your style, let me suggest to you that you change your media. The Zeta sketchbooks are a great way to accomplish this!
I also want to comment on the overall Stillman and Birn experience. From the time I first started playing around in with the SB sketchbooks several years ago until today, I've been impressed with the overall consistency of the paper and the binding.
My books tumble around in my bag, get dropped, shipped, and drug through airports—without incident. The binding has never given way on me. The sizing on the paper is consistent and I know what I'm getting every time I pull the plastic off a new book. I can't say that about any other paper line I've ever worked with!
So do yourself a favor and get a Stillman and Birn sketchbook—you'll be glad you did!
Please Note: Painted Thoughts Blog, ImaginaryTrips.com nor I, Laure Ferlita, are affiliated with Stillman and Birn.