MacPherson’s 2018 workshop in Vegas

I’ve been away for a month, traveling in Spain and Portugal and teaching at the 9th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Porto. Lots of sketches and posts about that soon. But first a couple of long-overdue posts.

This first one from a fun little trip to Las Vegas last month where I was demo artist at MacPherson’s 2018 Dealer Workshop. It was essentially is a sort of ‘symposium’ of art material makers (think art-supplies-heaven) all in one giant room, with lots of people from art stores in the US and Canada visiting to see what new products manufacturers had to offer.


I led a little demo at Stillman & Birn‘s booth. I’ve used their sketchbooks for many years now, and love them: they’re great multimedia books that work really well with watercolor and pen and ink, and stand up well to handling and traveling a lot.So it was fun to present a little project where artists who visited the booth got to compare and contrast the different papers and explore the possibilities of what they could do on them.

I took a sample pack of all the papers in the sketchbook series and strung them together accordion-style. Then I put a whole bunch of media on the table: watercolors, gouache, watersoluble pencils, markers, watersoluble graphite and more. Visitors to the booth sat down and played and created some wonderful accordion pieces.

What was particularly exciting was playing with the new Nova series of paper. The lighter shades (beige and grey) can handle transparent watercolor, but what really shines on it is gouache and also (a very exciting discovery of me) Posca markers: they’re so great at producing vibrant, matte color on this paper and they come in a range of tips and colors. (Am I the last person to discover them??) And, they don’t bleed through the paper like an alcohol based marker would!

You can see I went a little bit crazy sketching/painting on them.

The booth had perhaps the messiest demo table, but something about it made people feel welcome to come sit down and just play.

If you want to make your own accordion book and try out the paper, write to and find out how you can get a sample packet.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in How to, supplies, Supplies and Materials, teaching, Workshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to MacPherson’s 2018 workshop in Vegas

  1. Sherry says:

    Thanks Suhita, its so refreshing to read a blog from someone who’s been away for a month sketching but doesn’t fill that blog with how tiring it all is, and the need for constant breaks etc – thank you so much for a positive, enthusiastic and fun story from your trip! I can tell you enjoyed yourself enormously 🙂


  2. Sigrun says:

    Great sketches! What kind of Posca pens do you use?


  3. miatagrrl says:

    Ah-ha — so now I know what I will do with the sample pack I got in my goodie bag! 😉 I love Posca pens on black paper, too. I keep thinking it would be ideal for a night sketch.

    – Tina


  4. Pingback: Homemade Accordion Binding from Sample Pack « Stillman & Birn

  5. Thanks for your insights! I have a huge Posca collection and got a Stillman and Birn nova series last year and was very disappointed with it’s inability to handle anything other than a light watercolour wash. Now I have some new things to try. I love the idea of making a concertina book from the sample pages. Also it was great to meet you in Évora. Hope to catch up again in Amsterdam. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the wonderful article, I have always wanted to try gouache and now I think I will try. I contacted Stillmanandbirn and requested a sample pack. They are going to send me one. The send out samples the third week of the month. I am so excited. Have you ever used acrylic gouache? I have some samples from Holbein, but, have never tried them. Again, thanks so much


    • acrylic gouache is fun: but I’d use it at home not out in the field. Cleanup is closer to acrylic paints than to watercolors, but the colors do have a pop you can’t get with regular gouache: a more shiny surface as opposed to chalky/matte.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s