Review and Giveaway: Stillman & Birn Softcover Sketchbooks

I was really excited when I heard that Stillman & Birn were expanding their product line to include softcover sketchbooks, especially when I saw that a pocket sized version was available. There are so many options out there for hardcover sketchbooks, and so many pocket notebooks, but these really fill a niche in terms of offering durability, flexibility, portability, and a wide array of quality paper options. I’m ashamed to say I received samples for review almost a year ago and am only getting caught up now, but better late than never!

I’ve reviewed Stillman and Birn’s hardcovers in the past, see here and here. The softcovers are available in the same paper types– 6 varieties, covering different paper weights, textures, and colors, but different sizes.

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I tested the 3.5 x 5.5″ pocket size portrait versions, of course! They are slightly smaller than a pocket Moleskine. The covers are a smooth material, not at all leather-like but with a leathery-looking pebbly tone, which you can see but not feel. The covers are neutral shades of grey, dark green, dark red and blue, corresponding to the paper type within– greenish for the Delta, with 270 GSM ivory cold press paper; red for Alpha, with 150 GSM bright white medium grain paper. There is nothing imprinted on or inside the sketchbooks except for the Stillman and Birn logo embossed on the back cover.

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The signatures are stitched, and there is a fair amount of glue at the spine, holding the signatures to the cover. The pages open very flat despite the spines feeling a little stiff at first, especially with the thicker papers. After being opened all the way, the covers will stay open for a while but will eventually close most of the way. There is no elastic to hold the sketchbooks closed. No inside pocket or ribbon marker either.

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The papers are up to the same high standard as S&B’s other products, performing well with all sorts of pens, pencils and watercolors. Only the bleediest markers show through much on the 150 GSM paper, and the 270 GSM paper is pretty impervious. Even the papers meant for only dry media held up fine with watercolors. From the outside, these sketchbooks don’t look like fancy sketchbooks designed to be kept forever, but with acid-free, archival quality paper, what you create on the inside should stand the test of time.

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What’s not to love? This is where I thought I’d be saying “well, they are a bit pricey…” but they’re not! The pocket size sketchbooks have a list price of $10.99 and are currently discounted to under $9.00 for some models at Amazon. With so many options in bindings, paper types, sizes and portrait/landscape formats, Stillman & Birn really offers something for everyone!

And I am offering you all the chance to win a free sample! Four winners will be randomly selected from those who enter in any of the following ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing  “@StillmanandBirn” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page and the Stillman and Birn page, and post something containing the words “Stillman & Birn” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Stillman & Birn” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.

And for those who don’t have these other options available to them, you can also enter by leaving a comment on this post.

Since we can have 4 winners, I will pick at least one winner from each entry method above, and each winner will receive at least 2 sketchbooks.

The deadline for entry is Friday June 23 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!

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26 Responses to “Review and Giveaway: Stillman & Birn Softcover Sketchbooks”

  1. Thanks for the Stillman & Birn review. Love the sizes.

  2. I like the muted colors for the covers. Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. What a great review of Stillman & Birn Softcover Sketchbooks! Makes you drooool! I pray I win one!!

  4. Love the sizes and your review! Thanks for the info and the chance to win!

  5. Thank you for the chance to enter! I have wanted to try these for a while now!

  6. These look great! Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. I appreciate the chance to be included in the giveaway. I think it would be neat for whoever wins to send photos of the sketchbook after they use it!

    Best of luck to everyone though

  8. Thanks for the giveaway. I think that Khang’s idea that whoever wins should send photos after they use the sketchbooks is great.

  9. I’d love to be able to give these sketchbooks a try.

  10. Thanks Nifty for the Stillman & Birn Softcover Sketchbook GAW!

  11. Thanks for the opportunity

  12. Thank you so much for this. Can’t wait to fill them.

  13. Thank you for the giveaway!

  14. Those look really cool!

  15. I would love to try these. I haven’t been able to find them locally

  16. Thanks for the review and the giveaway! **fingers crossed**

  17. This is the first I’m hearing about both Notebook Stories and Stillman & Brin. Came by this post after seeing a tweet. I was curious about the giveaway. Great idea and so kind of you to be doing it.

  18. Thanks for a great review. I learn so much but my shopping “wish list” gets longer every time I read one!

  19. Thank you for the great review. I’ve been wanting to try a sketchbook for logging zentangles and the Stillman & Birn sounds like a great place to start.

  20. Love Stillman and Birn journals! Would love to win! Perfect size!

  21. Very cool. I’ve been wanting to get a quality sketchbook. Thanks for the chance to win one.

  22. These look like beautiful sketchbooks! Just looking at them is making my fingers itch wanting to go to town and begin filling them up! Gorgeous!

  23. Ready to start sketching …

    Thanks for sharing these notebooks.

  24. Thanks for the opportunity! Been wanting to try one of these.

  25. I’m new to journal sketching and looking for the best sketchbooks to use. Your Stillman & Birn review answered questions I had about them. Thank you. I can’t wait to use them

  26. Beautiful review!

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