Archive for June, 2011

Industry News

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Congratulations to Olivia & Judd!

The picture says it all! Congratulations to Judd Meininger and Olivia Plyler who were married two weekends ago.



Michael Polk

Sharpie and Prismacolor parent Newell Rubbermaid has tapped Unilever executive Michael B. Polk as its new president and CEO. Polk, 50, has been a Newell Rubbermaid director since 2009, and was most recently president of global foods, home and personal care at Unilever. He will succeed Mark Ketchum, who announced his retirement plans earlier this year. Ketchum intends to remain a director until the company’s next board elections in May 2012.

Nebraska Book Co., an operator of a nationwide chain of college bookstores, sought bankruptcy protection with a pre-arranged plan supported by noteholders to restructure about $450 million in debt. The company, based in Lincoln, Nebraska, listed about $657.2 million in assets and about $564 million in debt as of Feb. 14, including the debt and assets of affiliates, in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington,Delaware.


In a press release,  Alvin announced it has acquired the art materials distribution business of OrangeArt of Woodstock, CT , effective June 3, 2011. OrangeArt’s Stationery business will continue under the ownership and direction of John Cook and Carol Mackin.

Congratulations to Southern California based manufacturer’s Sales Representative John Mark Eastman and his wife, Erica, welcomed their third child into the world in Wednesday, June 8.  Reagan Adeline Eastman weighed 6lbs 14oz and measured 19.5″.  Their other children are Kadence Elizabeth (age 5), and Carter Lewis (almost age 3) who was born on the same day as his grandfather, Ken Eastman.

Proud Papa and Reagan Adeline

The Design Management Institute has recognized Gamblin for their leadership in building a color house while bearing in mind the “Triple bottom line”: Society, Environment, Business.  Read more at the Design Management Institute’s website: Design Management Institute, and click DMI’s Featured article of the month. Featured Article PDF


Star Acquisitions, maker of the Red Rope and other portfolio products, filed for Chapter 11 protection on May 16th. DIP financing is already in place and production is nearly back on track. Star does not anticipate any shortages of these staple products through back-to-school.

Urban Art Throwdown at Blue Plum Festival:  Check out this great time-lapse video of the Urban Art Throwdown at the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City, TN.  In under 3 minutes, you can see 8 artists create works on large canvases over 6 hours, using 100 cans of Montana GOLD!  Sponsored by Artopia and Montana Cans.



Stillman & Birn: What Artists are Saying

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Here’s a selection of Artist’s blog posts giving tons of reasons Stillman & Birn’s innovative journals are taking off!
Blog:  Hudson Valley Sketches – 04/26/11

This is a Stillman & Birn 6×8″ Delta Series sketchbook. I’ve done several multi-media pages in it of this type, and it’s handled all the abuse spectacularly well. It’s very heavy paper with a heavy layer of sizing, and just enough texture, so my fountain pens seem to like it as well. As you can see from the color brilliance in the sketch above, this paper really allows the color to sit up on top and show itself well. There is no show-through from one page to the next, and the paper doesn’t buckle with my watercolor work.  I use fountain pens with various inks and waterbrushes in my sketchbooks too, so I put this book through its paces with my pens too. Hudson Valley Sketches Blog

Sketch: Sakura Koi 24-color watercolor set with waterbrush, 0.5 Platinum Preppy loaded with J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil

Ken Januski, 06/09/11 – Blog: Art, Birds, Nature

“Well I have to say I’m impressed, especially for this type of drawing. I did all sorts of erasing and yet you can hardly tell. It’s a pleasant surface to work on. And it’s nice to be able to erase and still have a clean, almost pristine surface.” Ken’s Art, Birds & Nature Blog

Mike Stevens, 05/15/11 – Blog: Book Sketching

“Stillman Birn sketchbook is great!  The quality of the paper is pretty top notch.”  Mike’s Sketching Blog

Lex Hade, 05/17/11  Blog: Studiofive-ten

“Stillman & Birn are a new series of sketchbooks made with great archival quality paper. It’s about time paper starts to matter!” Studio Five-Ten Blog

Sondy Bojanic, Blog:  Sondy Illustrates Stuff Sometimes – 04/13/11

“I think I have found my sketchbook! The quality of Stillman & Birn paper and the natural white and ivory toned paper options sold me.  Right now I have the Delta series which has extra heavy ivory paper. It’s nice enough to use on final work.” Sondy Illustrates Stuff Sometimes Blog

Blog: WetCanvas Blogger: JamieWG  – 05/02/11

“I am so impressed with all five sketchbooks in the Stillman and Birn lineup that I can’t even choose a favorite. The S&B books come in so many different sizes and styles that it’s hard to pick one, but the good news is that you really can’t go wrong with any of them.” Jamie WG -Wet Canvas Blog

Blog: WetCanvas Blogger: Big Foot – 03/07/11

“A cool line of sketchbooks.. high end.. is from Stillman and Birn.  I think these might exceed the gsm/weight quality of the relatively new (also quite nice) Stonehenge Wired pads. The Stillman and Birn books are special occasion sketchbooks for me. They are archival quality papers – bound in sketchbooks. 100 lb and 180 lb papers with good/archival quality GSMs..and wirebound! Where else do you find something like that? unless you DIY.  The most extraordinary books I have come across have to be the Stillman and Birn sketchbooks.” Big Foot Wet Canvas Blog

The 180 lb paper is really amazing. What can I say? I have never worked with paper this dense and thirsty and lovely in a sketchbook. There are different textures depending on whether you choose the vellum or the more rough paper as well. 180 lb in both forms is perfect for all inks, paints.. mixed media, all sorts of washes and demanding media of all kinds. These books are just very different. it’s worth reading about the company and its history too. I am unabashed.. 🙂

Blog: Wet Canvas Blogger:  RainySea – 05/13/11

“I tested and like the Venezia, too, but am tending to think that I may like a couple of the Stillman & Birn a bit better because of better/different saturation of the inks.” Rainy Sea Wet Canvas Blog


What’s New From Foster Books: PIXAR Cars & Three New Quarry Titles

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Disney is a master at providing quality entertainment and marketing that entertainment effectively. The countdown to the June 24th theatrical release of Cars 2 has started and will include increased marketing by Disney. The Cars franchise is one of Disney’s best and has some of the most recognized animated characters by young children. Cars 2 will be even more popular than the first Cars movie that opened in 2006!  To take advantage of the Disney marketing and the excitement surrounding Cars 2, Walter Foster is introducing a new Learn to Draw Cars, item FODC32M, that includes a brief story synopsis, art tips from professional Disney animators, characters from the new Cars 2 movie as well as the popular animated characters from the first feature. Be sure to take advantage of all the excitement that is building on this animated feature from Disney*PIXAR by adding the new Learn to Draw Cars title.

MacPherson’s has added three new titles from one of Walter Foster’s sister publishing companies, Quarry Publishing. Each new title assists artists, journaling enthusiasts or just-beginning painters as they experiment with their medium. This experimentation helps increase your customer’s enjoyment in the creative process.

Many people want to express themselves through visual journaling, but are stuck or intimidated by how to get started, what to write, or how to move beyond gluing down a few images or putting some paint on the paper. The Art Journal Workshop, item FOQ193859, breaks down the entire working process of journaling with step-by-step photos and instructions from start to finish, how to use different media such as paint, photographs, and collage, and journaling prompts and exercises. These exercises help readers dig deeper to enrich the journaling process and experience. The book discusses the benefits of visual journaling, and includes exercises about what to do when you are in a creative funk or feeling down or uninspired, and how to help yourself out of it. The book includes a DVD featuring the author creating many of the visual journal pages shown throughout the book. This visual guide enhances the information in the book, showing the author’s work process in a way that goes beyond what can be captured in still photographs or through text.


Water Paper Paint , item # FOQ192545, is not only for “painters” but for all types of creative individuals who want to experience and play with watercolor, whether their background is mixed-media, textile art, journaling, or paper craft. Unlike the typical watercolor text books, this unique, beautiful volume is a field book of inspiration, creative ideas, how to’s, and projects, all from an artist’s perspective. Each creative exercise features a technique, shows step-by-step photographs, and includes a clever idea for a gift or project that can be made from the painted samples.  This is an excellent way to help beginning artists with the process of getting started as well as giving current customers a new way to utilize their talents.

Painted Pages , item # FOQ193858, is an inspiring and fresh collection of photographs, ideas, and projects anyone can use to create their own sketchbooks and mixed media works of art, whether they are a seasoned artist or someone just starting out on their creative journey. Instead of the “classic” idea of an artist sketching in a sketchbook this book shows how to use sketchbooks as daily working tools. While they begin as a place to collect ideas and inspirations, these collections, scraps, and doodles can lead directly to (and fuel ideas for) future mixed media paintings. Specific how to’s, techniques, creative prompts, and project ideas are introduced in each chapter to guide the reader through creating individual works of art which launch from a variety of themes. Each chapter includes an interview with well-known artists and bloggers who will share a peek into their sketchbooks and journals.


Elmer’s Products Foam Board Sustainability Commitment

Friday, June 24th, 2011

At Elmer’s Products, there is a belief that responsible actions lead to long-term success. They want to assure consumers and retailers alike that their products, when used as intended, are safe through their entire life cycle. Their continued cultural dedication makes our communities safer and promotes a cleaner environment for future generations to enjoy. From the workplace to the classroom, they integrate sustainable initiatives into their daily routines.

Reduce- Their foaming agent is 100% ozone-friendly and the process is formaldehyde-free.

Their Statesville, NC, plant has been recognized for its commitment to reducing energy consumption through low-energy, programmable lighting efforts, installation of programmable thermostats and adoption of intermodal transportation.

Additionally, their Statesville plant has reduced its number of annual non-recyclable solid waste loads by 10% or more on average.

Reuse- Foam board byproducts are reused as a fuel source to recover heat value, reducing the amount of electricity used.

Their Statesville facility reuses wooden and plastic pallets and recycles damaged ones that are no longer able to be used.

They continue to donate damaged electronics to local community colleges for repair and reuse versus simple disposal.

Recycle- Their Foam Board products contain recycled content, both internally and externally generated.

The Statesville facility implemented a massive recycling program to recycle as many materials associated with the production process as possible including scrap foam, corrugate, paper, blister cards, scrap shrink and stretch wrap, batteries and PET bands.

In 2010, the recycling program kept over 700,000 lbs. of materials from landfills.

With more than 30 years of category leadership and strong corporate values, they are dedicated to ensuring we meet our customers’ needs and provide quality, environmentally conscious products. They believe their performance-driven products paired with sound environmental practices will yield long-term success and enjoyment by generations to come.


Strathmore Fine Art Pads Now Have Even More Selling Power!

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Strathmore Artist Papers
™ recently introduced a number of exciting enhancements to their fine arts pad program to satisfy consumer needs and meet retailer demand for strong art brands. An expanded product offering, inspiring packaging and new pad features offer retailers more sales opportunities.

New pad features are designed to address consumer needs and emerging trends as well as improve the shopping experience:
•  Easy-to-use flip over covers on selected paper types allow sheets to stay in the pad, yet tear out cleanly.
•  All wire bound pads now feature actual size sheets when paper is removed at the micro-perforation or trimmed at the wire binding.
•  Larger size pads now feature a landscape orientation for improved presentation at retail
•  Quick response (QR) codes have been added to most pad covers to allow consumers to use their smart phones to scan the code and access instant product information via the Strathmore website

What hasn’t changed is the same great paper artists trust for quality, performance and longevity. Clearly defined quality levels by pad series maintain the strong brand identity and color coded covers retailers and customers count on from Strathmore. There’s a pad for every level of expertise.

The 200 Series / Good pad product line has nearly doubled in size and now provides a complete offering of paper types and pad sizes at great prices economical enough for daily use.

300 Series /Better pads now feature inspiring new artwork. Strathmore collaborated with Professor John Rise and a group of talented Savannah College of Art and Design students  to create a variety of classic still life images typical of foundation level art classes.

400 Series / Best pads now feature custom artwork created through a collaboration between Strathmore and a diverse group of professional artists. Each unique creation contains expressive imagery and the iconic Strathmore thistle incorporated into the image.

500 Series / Premium pads have newly redesigned covers that showcase artists’ interpretations of the classic Strathmore thistle corner stamp – the mark of excellence that symbolizes the ultimate in high-quality professional level paper surfaces.

The story behind each artist that contributed to this project is featured on Strathmore Artists!.

Learn how to build on the brand power of Strathmore and increase the productivity of your retail space by contacting your MacPherson sales representative.


Industry News

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Congratulations to David Flax, Mike Pendleton and the tireless staff at Sam Flax in Orlando, FL on the opening of their amazing new store just down the street from their old location. Visiting this store will be a must at next year’s NAMTA show in Orlando!

Golden Artist Colors has been named 2011 Top Small Company Workplace! On May 23, 2011, Inc. Magazine and Winning Workplaces recognized Golden Artist Colors as one of the winners of the 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces competition – an annual recognition that highlights the nation’s 50 best small and mid-sized company work environments – in Inc.’s June issue.

The Golden Team 2011

Canson News: Roy Cavicchi, Sales Manager at Canson North America has left to pursue other interests.  For the immediate future, Jim Allery will assume Roy’s responsibilities.  In other Canson news, Donna Gorham has been promoted and is taking on overall responsibility for Customer Service, Purchasing and Forecasting. Also, Luis Pedro has become Operations Manager, responsible for all converting and distribution activities.

At Talens, Michiel van Rossem, has announced his retirement effective September 1st, 2011. Michiel has led Royal Talens in Holland as CEO for the last 10 years and decided to spend more time on other activities.


Leading Japanese stationery firm Kokuyo is set to acquire a majority stake in Indian art material & stationery manufacturer Camlin.

Here’s a cool History Channel video on the making of graphite pencils featuring General Pencil’s 100 year old factory in Jersey City, NJ. The tour is conducted by our General Pencil favorites, Katie Vanoncini and David Seeber.


The Miri Likes Art Foundation was established in 2010 to honor the life of Miriam Benezra who worked at Dick Blick in Evanston, IL and was unfortunately killed in a car accident. The Foundation has been formed by her family and friends to raise funds to help creative people in her memory. Miri will always be remembered for being a young, high-spirited individual with a contagiously vibrant personality. Each year the store staff creates a fundraiser for local charities in her name and this years recipient is The People’s Music School. Here’s information about this year’s event:

When: Sunday, June 5th, 2011 | Doors open at 2PM
Where: 222 W. Hubbard, Chicago, IL 60654
Admission: FREE !!!
For more information Click Here.

Street Art keeps gaining acceptance and visibility. Recently Jeff Shoham’s Jerry’s Store and the Arts Council in Hartford, CT co-sponsored a public event called Street Painting in celebration of United Art Week.

ColArt Market Priorities, Part 1: Derwent Inktense Blocks

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Derwent Inktense is unique.  Dry, it delivers pure vibrant color, but when completely washed out it is transformed into a translucent ink-like paint.  The paint, when dry, is permanent and can be worked over.

Expanding on the tremendous success of Inktense Pencils, Derwent has introduced Inktense Blocks. These new chunky Derwent Inktense Blocks bring a whole new colorful and exciting dimension to drawing and painting.  They are extremely versatile and can be used wet or dry, on their own or with other media.  They are also perfect for creating fine lines or broad strokes of color. They combine beautifully with the Derwent Inktense Pencils and Outliner which are perfect for very fine detail and outlines.  The non-soluble outliner pencil is particularly useful as it allows you to draw outlines that are permanent, even when water is applied. The blocks are ideal for loose, expressive landscapes and colorful still life.  They can also be used on fabric to create stunning silk paintings and quilts.

Read a great review of the new Derwent Inktense Blocks from the Derwent blog.  Inktense Blog

To help artists get as much enjoyment and creativity out of the new Inktense Blocks as possible, Derwent has put together an ingenious range of complementary accessories….

The Grate ‘n’ Shake allows you to create paint and mix new colors in three easy steps.  Add water into the container, grate the Inktense Block into the water and then shake the container to mix the pigments.

Holding the Inktense block and dipping it into water can get a bit messy!  The Derwent Grippers are the perfect way to keep the block secure and your hands clean.

Derwent Inktense Blocks are available in 24 jewel-like color s either individually or in sets of 12 & 24.

Check out this great YouTube video showing Inktense Blocks used with rubber stamps!

With the great early buzz for Inktense Blocks, now is the time to get this product on your store shelves.  The amazing versatility of Inktense makes the product perfect for a large array of art and craft mediums:  colored pencil, pen and ink, silk painting, art quilting, mixed media, rubber stamping and many others.  Both Inktense Pencils and Blocks are available in sets and open stock and are a great way to increase sales in the Drawing section of your store.  Contact your MacPherson’s representative to place your order for Derwent Inktense Bocks or any of the other great Derwent products.


Understanding Golden’s Marketing Priorities, Part 2: Support of the New Introductory Grounds Set

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

GOLDEN Introduces New Grounds Set – Order Now!

Did you know that many GOLDEN Gels & Pastes make great grounds for drawing media as well as wet media? Colored pencil, pastel, charcoal, these are just some of the common drawing materials that work great on top of many GOLDEN textures. To help artists discover a broad range of options, we’ve put together this Introductory Set of GOLDEN products that offer exciting surfaces when used as grounds for drawing or painting.

The set will be launched as part of the GOLDEN BTS promotion, with an introductory list price of $14.99, producing economical purchase prices for both retailer and consumer. Discounts (BTS and everyday) apply to this introductory list price.

This set fits perfectly in both the GOLDEN Acrylic aisle and in the Drawing aisle. Cross-merchandising this set will grow not only day-to-day interest in the largest range of Gel & Pastes offered to artists, it should intrigue dry media artists as well, stimulating new customer trial.

By utilizing QR Codes on point-of-purchase merchandising materials, customers can access 1-minute online videos for each product in the set, giving them ideas for use and application information. The set will also include an informational piece of literature detailing the products inside: Fine Pumice Gel, Fiber Paste, Acrylic Ground for Pastels, Crackle Paste, Coarse Molding Paste and Silverpoint / Drawing Ground. Click on the following link to simulate the result of scanning the Grounds Set QR code.If you want to see the page consumers land on when they use their smart phone, you can either scan the QR code above or Click Here.

GOLDEN Attendance at Upcoming Dealer Workshop: The GOLDEN Team is looking forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming MacPherson’s Dealer Workshop taking place mid-June in Berkeley, CA.



CCC’s Redesigned Custom Web Catalogs!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Our friends at Creative Catalog Concepts (CCC) have been hard at work improving the functionality and flexibility of the art materials e-commerce web sites. Check it out!


Website Demo Website Features

Montana Cans Across America Tour Video Now Online!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

The Montana Cans Across America tour video is now available online! Check out US sponsored Montana artists Wane and Sever, Montana founder Ruedione, and SMASH 137 from Switzerland as they travel, paint, and eat their way through the American Midwest. Don’t forget to re-post through your social media channels!