• Sketch in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook

    Stillman & Birn Delta Sketchbook Review

    The next sketchbook I’m going to share my thoughts about is a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook.

    As I mentioned in my last post reviewing my Saunders Waterford sketchbook I personally prefer hardback case bound sketchbooks. If you’ve not read my thoughts about it you can see it here.

    I always have several on the go at any one time that I use for different purposes. I think it worth mentioning that we all paint in different ways so a sketchbook one person loves may not suit another at all!

    Stillman & Birn produce a range of different sketchbooks with a variety of paper surfaces, shades and weights.

    The one I’m talking about today is from their Delta series. They are available in various sizes in hardback, soft cover and wire bound.

    Stillman & Birn Delta Sketchbook Review

    Back Cover Of Stillman & Birn Delta Sketchbook
    Embossed logo on the back cover.


    Mine is a stitched 5.5” x 8.5”, 14cm x 21.6cm, hardback sketchbook with 26 sheets, 52 pages, of heavyweight 270gsm ivory paper. The paper has both internal and external sizing and a Cold Press, Not, surface.

    As with a lot of watercolour papers there is a slight difference in texture between the front and back of the paper. One side has a lightly textured surface whilst the other is a little smoother.

    When I purchased this book I had intended to try the Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook that has white paper but it was out of stock at the time. Being impatient I decided to try the Delta instead of waiting for the Beta sketchbook to come back in stock!

    Things I like about this sketchbook!

    It’s convenient size! My Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook is small enough for me to pop into my bag and take with me without being too bulky or heavy but large enough to allow me to be expressive without getting too fiddly!

    I like a book to lay flat whether I’m working on one or both pages and it’s one of the factors I take into account when choosing a new sketchbook. When I first started using the sketchbook the binding was a little stiff however I found it quickly eased off to allow the book to open completely. It’s one of the things I really like about this sketchbook.

    Sketch in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook
    It opens out completely flat, ideal for painting spreads.

    I’ve worked all the way through this sketchbook and I have found the stitching has remained nice and tight.

    I really like the heavyweight paper which is almost like card. I’ve used lots of fluid washes and the paper has remained nice and flat without hardly any buckling.

    Sketch in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook

    I often stick small paintings that I’ve done on offcuts of paper into my sketchbooks and the heavyweight paper and strong binding of this sketchbook is perfect for that.

    Sketch in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook
    Painting on an offcut of paper stuck into my Delta sketchbook

    I do really like the classic look and feel of this sketchbook with its smart black hardback covers.

    I particularly like the Delta sketchbook for my mixed media expressive studies and have found the wonderful thick paper ideal for these. I found my colours stayed nice and bright as they’d dried despite the ivory paper.

    I also really like the surface of both sides of the paper for pencil studies.

    Sketch in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook
    I like the surface for pencil studies such as this one of an ornamental thistle from my garden.

    Things I’m not so keen on about this sketchbook!

    As you can see for me this sketchbook has lots of positive points and for me there was only one downside. I had read many reviews before I bought it and know lots of watercolour artists absolutely love the Delta sketchbook. However, I unfortunately found the paper doesn’t seem to suit the way I like to paint in watercolour. I didn’t feel I was able to blend and move my watercolours washes in the way that I like to especially when painting on to dry paper.

    My overall thoughts.

    Although a Delta Series isn’t my own first choice for a purely watercolour sketchbook I do really like it for my mixed media studies. I like that the stitching has remained tight and secure despite it opening completely flat.

    I’d quite like to try a Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook because it has the same heavyweight paper as the Delta but with white rather than ivory paper.

    I hope you have found my Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook review interesting. It would be great to hear if you have used this sketchbook or have any thoughts about it.

    To watch a short flip through video of my completed Stillman & Birn Delta Series sketchbook please click here

    If you would like to see more of my sketchbook studies please click here.

    Next week I’ll be reviewing a Khadi sketchbook.

    Happy painting,


    You can see more of my daily art activities on my Facebook and Instagram pages.



    2 thoughts on “Stillman & Birn Delta Sketchbook Review

    1. Hello Ingrid,
      After seeing this Stillman & Birn sketchbook in one of your classes, I liked the professional look of it, the quality of the hard back cover and the thickness of the paper. I treated myself to use it for my first “Inktober” and it was great for ink sketching and watercolour pencils. I often balanced it on my knee with my afternoon cup of tea and it opened really well and was easy to handle. I probably would have chosen white paper but only ivory was available at the time.
      Thank you for the interesting sketchbook advice. ✏️🖊
      June x

      1. Hi June,
        Thanks for your comments June, it’s always nice to hear what other people think about their sketchbooks. I’m so pleased you like your Stillman & Birn sketchbook and that you enjoyed using whilst doing Inktober. I imagine the paper is lovely for using ink and watecolour pencils. I also really like its very handy size, it feels comfortable to hold rather than needing a table.

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