For the people who know me, this is going to sound crazy, but I miss working in art supply stores.
I worked in the reprographic departments of a couple of art supply stores for a number of years. I don’t miss interacting with the public in a retail environment which is especially challenging when dealing with artistic individuals with artistic temperaments. It’s the inventory — the toys — I miss.
The stores were always getting in some new marker or a clever new eraser or an unusually formatted sketchbook. There was always some great new gadget or gewgaw that I would drool over. Sadly that experience has been on the wane. Fortunately for me and the world, I no longer work in retail, but my recent visits to local art supply stores haven’t been anything like the wondrous voyages of discovery that I used to have either working or visiting the smaller, old time shops. The local shops are now mainly big box stores with bland inventories, and I just pick up staple items like pads and pencils. Snooze.
Then I discovered JetPens.com.
Jet Pens has the goods! They specialize in art supplies imported from Japan and Germany. I’ve written before about the tug-of-war between pixels and pigments, and I lamented that the quality of old fashioned, real world art materials and tools was on the decline as digital design dominates. Don’t tell the Germans and Japanese that. They continue to make and innovate art supplies that are among the best I’ve ever used! The collection of art supplies towards the top of the page is my first try with this online retailer. It probably won’t be my last.
Inking the sketch at the top of the page with brush pens was so much fun that I am considering abandoning some of the pixels for pigments. I will always work with computers — there’s no avoiding it — but I have to face facts. Drawing and inking with a digitizing tablet on a computer screen is just not as fun as pencil or pen on paper. I just can’t get comfortable in front of a computer whereas I’ve done drawings of which I’ve been very happy on shaky subway trains or the metal benches at the YMCA.
There’s also the idea of committing to the drawing. There can be endless re-do’s on a computer screen which is maddening and ultimately a waste of time. With ink, once that mark is on the paper, you just have to go with it.
So, stay tuned. I’ll be sharing the results from my purchases soon. First I have to break open the beautiful packaging.