Made in America!
These products have earned their stars & stripes …
These products have earned their stars & stripes …
Editor’s Note: Today’s blogger, Less, was one of three winners in our Stillman & Birn Art Journal Giveaway, and received the Stillman & Birn Alpha Side Spiralbound Art Journal. She readily volunteered to write a guest review for our blog, and we’re thrilled to host her words, images, and videos today! Love what you see? Let her know in the comments!
The sketchbook arrived to me well packaged and once the wrapping was removed I was quite impressed with the sketchbook. The covers feel very heavy and sturdy. Unlike some other sketchbooks I’ve bought they were not bowed and so far even with the oppressive Massachusetts humidity, they have remained flat and rigid. The black covering is black plastic with a nice faux leather grain. The back cover is debossed with the Stillman & Birn logo as well as Alpha, the sketchbook series. The coils are made of nice sturdy wire and painted black to match the cover. The holes for the rings are standard sized squares. They aren’t too tight nor are they sloppy, pretty much just right.
Inside the covers are 50 leaves or 100 pages of 110 lb (150 gsm) heavy paper. The surface is a lovely cold pressed finish. When I looked at the paper I was surprised to find that Stillman & Birn refer to it as a cold press finish, as I generally think of CP paper as quite a bit rougher than these pages. It is a very subtle cold press finish. It’s quite smooth but has just enough texture to be interesting with a variety of materials. The paper is warm white in color without leaning into ivory.
I’ve tested a variety of materials on these pages and have been nothing but impressed. My fountain pens all love this paper. Ink looks great. Every color out of every pen just looks wonderful. The warm white shade really shows the colors off. Black is a nice deep black color, red pops off the page and my greys look perfectly silvery.
Officially Stillman & Birn rates this paper as “good for light washes.” Of course I had to throw that caution into the wind and really slop some watercolor onto the page. With light to moderate washes I noticed some cockling of the paper, that mostly relaxed after drying, leaving only slight waves in the pages. The pages I dumped heavy amount of watercolors reacted pretty much as expected, lots of cockling and plenty of waves even when dry. The waves in the pages did decrease after closing the sketchbook for a few hours.
A surprising thing is that with both heavy amounts of ink and watercolor there was no soak through to the reverse side of the page. Which left me with both sides of the page being useful. The only soak through that I experienced was with spray inks when applied heavily and regular bullet point Sharpies. It felt great with a variety of pencils, I was able to lay down thick layers of pencil to create deep darks without the paper falling apart. Erasing pencil was great too, the paper stood up to my erasers and erases cleanly.
Overall I’m very pleased with the Stillman & Birn Alpha series paper, it works perfectly with my style of sketching and art journaling. I have no doubt that it would survive the abuse that most mixed media art journalers would throw at its pages. I will be getting more.
Meet the Writer: Less Herger is the owner and writer behind ComfortableShoesStudio.com and co-founder of PutitonPaper.org. She’s been making art for as long as she can remember and can’t imagine a day without her pen and ink.
Perfect to add to any pen collection, the Lamy AL-Star has a sleek and modern design with a flexible wire clip. The translucent grip section is molded for comfort and the whole pen comes ready to write right out of the box! The AL-Star uses ink cartridges primarily (a Lamy T10 Blue Ink Cartridge is included), but can be modified with Lamy’s Z24 Converter to use their T52 Bottled Ink.
Choose the Lamy AL-Star in either fine or medium nib, and use it for everyday use or for catching up on correspondence!
Life Imitates Doodles: Comparison of the Stillman & Birn Sketchbook Series
No Pen Intended: Cookie Bookie
A Penchant for Paper: Zebra Zeb-Roller 0.5mm Black
The Inked Nib: Lamy Nexx
East, West, Everywhere: Sailor Lecoule MF nib
East, West, Everywhere: De Atramentis Beethoven
FPGeeks: Confessions of an Inkoholic
PenInkCillin: Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron
The Inked Nib: Noodler’s Honorable Blue
Stamp of Approval: This Summer Stay Cool with Stamps
Summertime is officially here – although you could have fooled us with the nearly 100-degree heat in Colorado lately! It’s the perfect time to try something new, particularly outside to spark the creative juices.
Before you go, grab a journal and write down your intentions for the day. What do you want to find on your journey: an emotion, an idea, or something else? Also consider bringing along a smaller pocket journal on your walk, bike ride, or hike to jot down your swirling thoughts during your breaks.
If you don’t journal before or during your wandering, the most important thing you can do is take a minute afterward to capture your thoughts. This serves to record the truth of the moment for you to reflect back on in the future. Gift your future self with a journal in the present.
Check out all journals, notebooks, and notepads on EuropeanPaper.com here!
Take a closer peek inside the Quo Vadis Academic Planners for 2012-2013! With several high-quality features per planner, Quo Vadis has a perfect planner for every type of user. Choose between vertical or horizontal formats, and pocket or large planner size. Best of all, Quo Vadis Academic Planners are coveted for their refillable feature in the Club covers that are made of a saddle-stitched sturdy leatherette. After checking out their academic planners and refills, read all about history of Quo Vadis here.
It’s love at first write. Precious and quirky, Apica is one of Japan’s most highly regarded paper manufacturers.
Imported directly from Japan, Apica’s CD series notebooks have acid-free paper that resists most pen bleedthrough. The flexible cover and svelte profile make their notebooks a travel-friendly favorite to stash in your purse, bag or briefcase. And their sewn bindings ensure they will last through classes, meetings, and daily abuse without pages falling out.
The Apica CD Series Notebooks are perfect for students, professionals, and general use. Each notebook has lined pages in a soft grey ink and is available in five great cover colors: green, red, blue, white, and yellow. Sold in sets of 3, the Apica CD Notebooks are sophisticated and utilitarian notebooks used by students, professionals, jet-setters and more. And for an added touch of class, we love the Baroque flourishes that frame the front cover – perfect for writing in your name, project, subject, date, etc. – plus the quirky “Most advanced quality, Gives best writing features” written on the front.
And now, you can indulge yourself with the incredibly smooth paper of the Apica Premium CD Notebooks (A5, A6, and B5 sizes). You’ll be challenged to find another notebook with such a high quality vellum. Apica’s Premium CD Notebooks were developed in celebration of Apica’s 25th anniversary (2012). The silky smooth, acid-free paper can handle pencil, ballpoint pens, and rollerball pens, and some fountain pens. The classy header on the front cover says it all: “Choose the paper like you would a good pen.”
(The Apica Premium CD Notebooks come in three versions: black cover with plain pages, blue cover with ruled pages, red cover with graph pages.)
Recording Thoughts: The Leuchtturm 1917 Master Dots
Archer Rantings: Black Ocean 1.2 by Whitelines
Ms. Logica: Leuchtturm1917 Notebook
Pen Pencil Paper: Working in a Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook
Comfortable Shoes Studio: Intro to Cafe Sketching
Recording Thoughts: Pencil review: Palomino HB
Archer Rantings: Lamy Safari 2012 LE Green
Grease Monkey Hands: Pilot Grance and Iroshizuku yu-yake
Tyler Dahl: Cartridge / Converter
With hectic home lives and crazy work schedules, planning a trip can seem like a daunting task. However, an academic planner can help you do all the legwork well in advance – so all that’s left to do is enjoy the journey! Plus, since an academic planner is built to accommodate summer, it’s the perfect planner to outline summer vacation plans.
The first step to using your academic planner to plan your travels is to pick the dates and block them out on your planner. Because you’re able to work far in advance with an 18-month planner, you can plot out all the trips you’re planning and prevent accidentally double booking yourself. Cross out the dates or highlight them in a specific color so that you don’t overlap commitments.
Once you have your trip dates blocked out, use your planner to schedule the entire trip’s to dos. Start with the date of the trip and back up. For example, if you want to start pricing flights four weeks before you travel, flip four weeks before your departure date and write, “Price out flights.” If you want to wait to book the flight until two weeks before (for enough time to check for that last-minute screaming deal), flip two weeks after you put the pricing note and write, “Book flights.” Follow these same steps for each task – booking a hotel, renewing your passport, buying traveler’s insurance, and so on.
You know how much you have budgeted for your trip. Jot that amount down on the day you depart. Each time you spend money on the trip – paying for the flight, buying a new bathing suit, or picking up sunscreen – subtract that amount from the total. You can even calculate estimates for your expenses as you plan the trip. For example, back up to the date you decided to start pricing flights. Use that page to write notes on how much the flight will be on various airlines so that when you go to purchase the tickets, you have a budget reference. Bonus: If you don’t spend as much as you anticipated in the planning stages, you’ll have a balance to use for extra souvenirs!
In addition to planning your dates, to dos, and budget, you can use your academic planner to create lists for each aspect of your trip. If you jot the lists on the day you need to do them, you’ll stay organized and won’t forget crucial information. On your planner page for the day before you depart, start a packing list. Even if the trip is eight months away, if you think of something – don’t forget extra camera batteries – write it down.
Use the notes pages in your planner to get creative. Paste images of your destination on the notes pages to motivate and inspire you. During your trip, use the pages to journal or scrapbook about your adventures. And when the trip is through, add your favorite pictures from the trip and archive the planner.
Using your 12 or 18-month planner can help you plan your trip down to the details in advance. You won’t be scrambling around the night before your flight leaves, trying to remember everything you wanted to bring!
Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com
Harkening back to the days of list-making simplicity in the fields of your family, Field Notes notebooks are a modern cult sensation for their straightforward design and marketing spunk.
Field Notes is the lovechild of Draplin Design Co. (DDC) and Coudal Partners, the first a design company, the latter a design and advertising studio. Both are hard to pin down to one element. Which is interesting as Field Notes is only one element: “honest memo books.”
At the center you’ll find Aaron Draplin, founder of DDC, expounding on the classic memo books that kickstarted the idea for Field Notes. Draplin’s passion comes from direct experience with picking up and using older agricultural notebooks in the decade before he started Draplin Design Co. in 2004.
Filled with measurements, guides, and extra tidbits of data, the old memo books Field Notes are based off of “are meant to save a guy’s life,” Draplin says in their latest video (a must watch) while explaining Field Notes’ history a bit more.
DDC and Coudal have effectively revived the memo book in their grab-and-go Field Notes 3-Pack Memo Books, available in plain, ruled, or graphed page stylings (or a mixed set of all three). Field Notes’ utilitarian design with simple type, a three staple side binding, rounded corners, and 48 pages make each notebook handy and versatile.
At a perfect pocket size of 3.5 by 5.5 inches, these notebooks can live in your backpack, purse, shirt or pants pocket and withstand most abuse to last until it’s full up and you grab another. Field Notes lined and squared paper is printed in a soft brown ink, reducing the harsh contrast black lines can have with your writings. And best of all, they’re all 100% made in the USA.