One of the most fun workshops I organize is for Stillman & Birn. S&B has a huge line of sketchbooks in an assortment of papers and for those wondering what paper works best for them, this workshop is a time to test and experiment all while exploring some fun techniques.
Last weekend we built little accordion folds out of a sample pack of paper and then tried different techniques across them. My demo focussed on a technique I’m using more and more in my sketchbooks.
There’s a lot I love about gouache and I like using that thick, creamy paint in my sketches sometimes. But carrying two separate kits for watercolor and gouache is more than I want in my bag. For quick gouache effects, I carry one tube of permanent white gouache and a waterbrush I use to dip directly into the tube. And voila! with just this one color I can get pretty interesting opaque effects with my regular kit. My watercolor kit stays untouched by gouache , because I mix colors directly on paper. That’s really important since white gouache can very quickly make all your transparent colors go opaque if it gets muddled in with them.
In the piece above, one cactus is true gouache and the other two are regular watercolor with white gouache. And these pieces below are watercolor and white gouache.
The participants had so much fun experimenting and came up with some really fun pieces, only a few of which are documented here.
You can see more demos and how to build an accordion fold here:
If you want to make your own accordion book and try out the paper, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how you can get a sample packet.
Answers to FAQs
– The demos I do with these papers are free to the public, and are paid for by Stillman & Birn.
– I am not a spokesperson for the brand and am not paid to use or promote the sketchbooks.
– I love the books and use them a lot, but they’re not the only sketchbooks I use.