Today I will review the Zeta Series Sketchbook by Stillman & Birn. Stillman and Birn list the Zeta Series as being: “Weight: 180 lb. – 270 gsm, Shade: Natural White, Surface: Smooth, Media: Watercolor,Pen & Ink, & Dry Media”. I bought this hard bound version on the Zeta Series intending to use it as an everyday carry and practice book. I picked the Zeta Series because it wash a white paper and smooth texture that was good for watercolor. From the reviews, I knew the Kuretake No.50 was supposed to a “wet” writing brush pen. I wanted a paper that could hold the ink without any bleed through. This book deliver!
The book feels solid and well built. Here you can see the quality of the stitching that bounds the book together. The pages will lay flat which for me is a big plus. Trying to write characters has been challenge enough without having to do so on a sloped piece of paper. The book comes fairly stiff so work the binding some to loosen it up. Once you do the book will fall flat on any page. The cover is black faux leather with the Stillman & Birn trademark along with “Zeta Series” embossed in it. The cover is solid I feel safe that even with the hazards of everyday carry that my pages will stay flat and without damage.
Now to the important part the PAPER. The sheets are smooth and other then a little hint of a wave within a quarter inch of the stretching. This wave is only barely visible when looking closely and only on the first few pages of either side of the book. I see no reason why they would effect your usage of the full area so is not a concern. The sheets are thick measuring 0.0135″. They are stiff and resist bending. The pages are uniform in color and have a neutral Ph allowing them to last for a very long time.
This book is not the cheapest option out there but if you want a quality built lay-flat book to write or draw in this is the one you should be looking at. If I had to complain about something it would be that there is only 52 pages. That isn’t that big of an issue though, you can always buy another one! Check out the link below to see all the products that Stillman and Birn have: