Pastels with Stillman&Birn


I have a couple of S@B journals that are empty. :flushed:

I have been using them mostly for ink and wash drawings but I am interested in trying pastels.

Pastels, Pan pastels and pastel pencils.

I have a gamma and zeta version.

Does anyone have experience with these journals and pastels?

Should I treat the surface?

Any advice is welcome.

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Forgive me, I’m kind of on the new spectrum of art and have never heard brand of paper s@b nor gamma and zeta versions

Never mind I just read the title

After looking at the s&b online gamma and zeta, seems like the zeta is smooth and gamma is somewhat textured.
The more tooth the paper has, the more layers of soft pastels it takes.
I have used clear acrylic gesso on smooth Bristol, and on watercolor paper which works fairly well for soft pastel applications. You might want to try clear acrylic or white gesso on your S&B paper to make it more soft pastel friendly.
Also, the Canson Mis-Teintes Pastel pad works great and is reasonable priced on Amazon or by sheet on hobby lobby or places like that.
I must say that clairfontaine pastelmat is my personal all time favorite.

On this one I used clear acrylic gesso to treat the watercolor paper:

This one is smooth bristol (maybe comparable to S&B?) treated also with clear acrylic gesso:

This next one is on canson Mi-Teintes

I hope it helps

PS. I’m terrible at rendering clouds

Hi Brett - I was not familiar with the Stillman & Birn brand either, so I had to google it. An extra heavyweight paper with a smooth finish sound like good features for pastel drawings. If you plan to leave your drawings in the sketch book that may be a problem because the chalk with transfer to the adjacent page and will probably smudge. So, if I used this paper, I’d pull it out of the sketchbook. That is probably why pastels are not listed as the intended media on the cover of the sketchbook.

With reference to your question about treating the surface, I personally never treat paper that I use for pastel or charcoal, because by coating the paper you are covering the qualities that give the paper the tooth (the ability to hold onto layers of pastel). Why don’t you just pull out a piece of paper and play around with it to see how it behaves?

Also, if you are purchasing paper specifically for the purpose of using pastels, it is hard to find anything better than Clairefontaine Pastelmat. It is pricey, but really nice to work on. I also like Stonehenge Paper, which is 100% cotton for pastel and colored pencil drawings. So, what the paper is made out of is a helpful detail, and cotton is good for pastel drawings. I could not find that information for the Stillman & Birn paper. Maybe you can find that information on your journal.

Hope this is helpful. Happy drawing!

Terri Robichon