Friday, January 9, 2015

Favorite Things Friday - 1/9/15 - Blank Paper

A friend of mine recently started the tradition of talking about things she really loved on Fridays, and while I DO remember occasionally to do a crafty roundup, it seems to me that this is a bit more of a task master to stay on top of.
That, and the fact that this blog is just so eclectic, at least there will be one running theme on it. Plus? I love sharing stuff.
So what I wanted to share was my love of PAPER.
You know people that buy notecards but have no reason to use them? The ones that send hand-written thank yous when an email would suffice? Probably have blank journals spilling off a shelf somewhere?
Yeah. That's me. Me and my Ephemerophilia - which, if it wasn't a thing, is now. Pretty sure that's a Google search I don't want to make, though.
I lied. I googled it. And Ephemeraphilia is actually a pretty cool blog. Check it out!
I love paper. Ever since I was a kid, I took my money from my allowance, my paper route, my lawn mowing business, my crappy part time job at the pet store... and put it in to blank paper. Originally it was just beautiful, crisp white theme notebooks with blue lines and a red column to warn you No! Don't write over here! This part is for doodling when you are bored in class!
But then somewhere in middle school I realized that beyond boring, crappy girl journals with glitter and locks and pink paper that was hard to see your writing on, they had BLANK BOOKS FOR ADULTS. Even better? THEY WOULD LET A KID BUY BLANK BOOKS FOR ADULTS.
So... you know... I did that. And I bought a new one each time I had a new idea. A lot of times they were story ideas.

Which was great, except that I started to realize when the thought was done, there were still 93 more pages or so left. Utilize them? But what about the original idea?? Was it a disservice to follow up with a different idea after I had bought a special book just to encapsulate the first idea? How would I keep track of which ideas were where? After all, I knew if I picked up my red cloth covered book that it had all my ideas in it about Thoreau and Emerson and existentialism... if I put anything different after that, I had this sinking feeling I wouldn't remember it was back there. (It turns out I was right. I have always known myself very well, alas.) And why didn't that thought warrant its own book? Should I just leave a few pages between ideas? What about flags for each idea? Would the flags get messy? Would they fall out?
And why on earth was I not capable of having more that 7-8 pages worth of thought on a subject, anyway??!
As you can tell, I had very odd things that stressed me out as a child.
From this bubbling morass of angst and pseudo-organization arose a thorough love of the blank page and what it could contain. To this day I keep around notebooks to write lists and thoughts down on, and remind myself to go back through them from time to time to remind myself what was in there.
For a long time, too, I knew that there were these things called "sketchbooks", but somewhere it was impressed upon me that art was a hobby and not a living. So initially I didn't allow myself to get them, since what on earth would I have to draw about outside of art class?
Thankfully that one disappeared and then? You got it. I started to buy ALL THE SKETCHBOOKS.
You needed newsprint sketchbooks, sketchbooks for pencil, sketchbooks that could also take watercolor or even, just maybe, ink?! Wow! And you needed one for practice with your regular #2 pencils that you took to school and you needed a much more serious one that you broke out your H, 2B, and 4B graphite pencils to work on. Charcoals and pastels, too! There were SO MANY THINGS with paper especially for them to be set down on!
Because, you see, blank paper to me was a strange and beautifully magical thing. Spellbooks and Grimoires were composed of it. Forbidden Herbal and Alchemy Tomes, and books talking of far lands complete with treasure maps used it. Sketches of Things That Should Not Be, Both Positive and Negative needed them. So to me, a single white sheet of paper was the most powerful thing in the world. I could write a book that might change the world. I could draw art that might bring people together. Paper was the most sacred thing ever.
Now I know that it's not truly possible to craft a working Book of Shadows that will conjure dragons up under a full moon, and I never did find Shangri-La or the Mountains of Madness to make sketches of their impossible climes and denizens. But I still appreciate a good blank piece of paper.
For those of you who think I'm about to wax poetic about Moleskine, got a suprrise for you... it's okay and all, but I hate how easily you can see writing on the other side, how thin the paper is.  It's good for carrying around and jotting down notes because that included band that holds the cover shut keeps things in my bag from sliding in and tearing up and marking pages. But really I could do that with a headband on a normal book. The nostalgia and cool factor are about the only thing going with them, unless, you know, you want to just completely drink the Kool-Aid and get the special editions.
I did. I have the Pac-Man and the Lego ones, and I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I eyeballed the Hobbit ones for a very long time before deciding not to. Even now I have a small hardcover Moleskine with a cassette tape on the front that lives in the pocket of my diaper bag to catch my brain dumps. Not, you know, that I have time for brain dumps with a baby and a diaper bag, but hey! I AM PREPARED.
I have no pictures of all of these because we are moving and I packed them before it occurred to me I might make this blog post. Sorry.
Oh, and for the record? When I do my Moleskines, I do it UNLINED. That's right, baby. There ain't no strings on me! Or columns! Or proper line spacing, really, and things tend to spill to the lower right but I seriously digress...
I got the red one... go figure.

Another set that I seriously love? Maruman Mnemosyne sketchbooks. Seriously. They're just the frikkin' bomb. Very sturdy paper, they come with the ability to date and title your sketches, and they come in a couple different sizes. They have perforations that make removing your work easy, and they take ink pretty damn well. The only downside is that graphite smudges like a bitch, so if I use heavy graphite I usually fold a piece of regular printer paper and slide it in to cover the image and keep it from smudging.
They're incredibly popular, to the point that when they come back in stock from my dealer, er, on the website, I buy the bulk 3-packs to make sure I have enough. And for this I have the large ones (A4) that stay in my art area (currently being deconstructed, but it does still exist) and I have smaller ones (A5) that previously would travel around in my work bag and purse.

Aren't they pretty? The bigger one is the same except, you know, bigger.
I would love to go on another huge tangent about my favorite paper to scribe on with pens, but honestly anything that will take the ink and not smear gets my vote. I have acquired many, many blank books from Barnes and Nobles on the Wall Of Being Self Indulgent aka Journaling, and they have all been fairly good. If anybody wants, I can go find what's left of my outstanding journals and get a photo of it before they go in to boxes, too. Otherwise... you know, it doesn't have to be fancy to hold an idea. It just has to be blank and waiting for you to fill it.
Which isn't as deep as it sounds, now that I look at that.
But seriously... blank paper is awesome.