I wanted to share this just because I think it is quite remarkable. So, yesterday, I posted the fact that my drawing of waking Joe was marred when I wrote on the bottom of the painting and the letters became all spidery and smudgy.

A few hours later, I got an email from Michael at Stillman and Birn:

I saw your blogpost today and the problem you had writing with your dip pen with watercolor. Can you share some more details with me about happened? Was the wash very heavy and undried when you tried to write on top of it?

It hadn’t occurred to me that the paper was in any way to blame so this evening I conducted a more in-depth test. First I laid down a coat of watercolor and let it dry, really dry, for an hour and a half. Then I tested various pens and inks on it. No bleeding at all.

Then I made a wash and let it sit for just five minutes so the surface was just barely dry to the touch. And this time I did get a little spreading after a few minutes, but only with Dr, Martins.

In short, I was at fault — as I had expected. I hadn’t let the painting of Joe actually dry properly before I laid down another layer and thus the problem.

Another messy drawing accident is not remarkable or even news at all. What does impress me is that Michael, who contacted me in the first place and offered to send me the sketchbooks to try out, is so diligent that he would monitor my blog and write to me to discuss the problem.

If I hadn’t already been impressed by Stillman & Birn‘s products, I certainly would be now. I hope you are too.

7 thoughts on “Remarkable.”

  1. I think you have zillions of followers (and fans!) you know nothing about. Not at all surprised that a sketchbook supplier is especially interested. I click on your postings every morning, a sweet and fascinating way to start the day.


  2. Kate Johnson and a host of our friends at urban sketchers Flickr group have discussed experiences like this ad nauseum. I have found that a combination of paper, pen/ink and the actually drying time contribute substantially to the sort of ink migration thing. Recently we talked about how some brands of paper (moleskien’s sketchbooks vs. their watercolor paper) really contributes to the problem when pared with certain bulletproof inks from Noodlers. Quite a number of factors to consider… so thanks for elevating this to the attention of some of the brand managers.


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