© Copyright 2018 Brenda Swenson retains copyrights to all artwork. All images on this site are property of Brenda Swenson and may not be used in any way for commercial, financial or personal without prior written consent. All Rights Reserved for republication (printed and digital) and anything but personal viewing of artworks on this site.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Putting Zeta Paper to the Test


Recently the Stillman & Birn Sketchbook Company sent me samples of their new Zeta Series paper. When the paper arrived the first thing I noticed was the papers surface. It is similar to Hot Press watercolor paper. To the touch the surface is smooth, bright white and the weight is 180 lb. The Zeta Series has both internal and surface sizing, it is acid-free, lignin-free and chloride-free.  

Click on image to see larger
Step #1 Pen drawing. I used the technique of Contour Drawing with a waterproof pen.

Step #2 Watercolor painting. I began by blocking in the larger areas with watercolor.

Step #3 Here is where the paper is put to the test. I like to build up rich color in glazes. The paper held up great
.Where I wanted to lift color for highlights the color came up easily with a soft brush and clean water.

Pen & Ink
I thoroughly enjoyed how pens move on the surface…they glide! I also noticed that some inks take a little longer to dry than others. This has to do with the papers sizing. This isn't
a problem, just an important fact. Quite often I select pens/ink because they move when wet, but for this demonstration I wanted the line work to stay put. The Pitt Pens by Faber-Castell dried instantly, and this is the pen I used (medium tip). Noodler’s Ink in Polar Brown and Lexington Gray dried instantly, too.

Watercolor
I am predominately a watercolor artist so I was curious to see how the paper would hold up with watercolor. The paper was a joy to paint on! It was easy to build up layers, soften edges, and lift color. I found it easier to work on than Hot Press watercolor paper. All my colors remained clear and vibrant and the paper didn't warp.

Final Thoughts
I take all my artwork seriously whether I'm sketching or painting. The Stillman & Birn Company takes their paper seriously, too. I can’t wait for the new sketchbooks made with Zeta paper to arrive in stores. I will definitely be using it!

Happy Sketching! 

Brenda

17 comments:

  1. Beautiful Brenda...I love your style so so much. Hugs xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your paintings always look so "alive"! Love this page!

    ReplyDelete
  3. One of my fondest memories with my husband was wandering the shops of Sorrento, Italy ogling over the beautiful hand painted pottery. I found one approx. 2 ft. tall, 100lbs. and commented.."Do you think we could fit this one in the suitcase honey??" He replied..:maybe we could buy it a seat on the airplane..LOL. I love your paintings and getting to know you through all we have both been through in our own lives..even though I've never met you..I feel like I do know you. I love this particular piece not only because of its beauty but for the feeling of great family memories of our last trip together in beautiful Italy! Thanks Brenda!! Mary Snedden

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, I'm happy to know my image brings back fond memories of Jerry. Yes, we have not met but I too feel like we are friends. Hopefully one day we'll meet in person. Sending hugs, Brenda

      Delete
  4. Thank you for posting your review. Your work looks fabulous! I'll be trying the Zeta paper sometime...I like the idea of a paper that is smooth for pen-work but makes watercolors look bright and vibrant. Though I have not tried any hot press papers, I have tried Yupo and I love it for those reasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacy, I am delighted with how this paper works with watercolor. Finally a sketchbook company that knows what artists want.
      Happy Sketching!

      Delete
  5. The color seems to positively sing, Brenda. Beautiful drawing and painting - I will have to try this paper.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I found your blog through the Stillman & Birn facebook post about your review. It's a lovely demonstration and great review. I look forward to checking out your blog and books.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your colors are so vibrant and beautiful. Thanks for the info on the zeta papers. I have a local Daniel Smith so I am off and running. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Never heard of this paper. You keep us all "in the know".
    Let us know now when you hear that it gets to the stores so we can try it out too.
    I have not ordered too much from Daniel Smith but I do love their watercolors.
    Which reminds me that I want to try some of their Lunar Black which you put on your palette but I hate just ordering one tube of paint (too much shipping for one tube!). So need to gather up a larger order.
    I do have a Stillman and Birns 5.5 x 8.5 " sketchbook (Beta series) I am going to try soon and am saving for your Dillman's workshop in June. I don't think this is Zeta paper however. I'd like you to do a blog on Pens soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginny, Please use the links provided in the text of the blog to find a distributor near you. The Beta is similar to cold press and the Zeta is similar to hot press watercolor paper.
      See you in June!

      Delete
  9. Brenda, I went back in your blog to reread your review of the S&B Beta, and noted that you really liked it too, but I think you just used watercolor in the Beta. Using pen and watercolor, which is the one that that you prefer, the Beta or the Zeta? Thanks. L

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use pen & watercolor in both the Beta & Zeta. You ask, which do I prefer? I use them both...I don't prefer one over the other.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the information. I've been so taken with working in pen since doing your 75 day sketch challenge that I'm always looking for paper that I will enjoy with both water soluble and permanent ink, and watercolor too. I also find the vignette info very useful and find it charming. Thanks! L

      Delete
  10. Hi Brenda,

    My name is Shawn Jack and I have recently started watercolor painting last December 2012. I have been reading your blog and studying your art work on there. I love your style and have been trying to imitate it. This post on the Zeta paper inspired me to do a pen and ink and watercolor piece with some of my wife's fancy dishes. You can see it here:

    http://shawnwatercolor.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/fancy-dishes/

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

    The Lord be with you,

    Shawn Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shawn, thank you for the note. I enjoyed viewing your watercolors. You are doing great and it looks like you are having fun along the way. Keep it up!

      Delete