Unlike most traditions for this season it isn’t about mince pies, trees, or gifts.
Well, it’s kind of related to trees. If you know where paper comes from (and I do). This tradition of mine goes back as far as 2004-ish? Maybe earlier. I can’t remember when I first went to this particular art shop, nor when I started going there frequently, but given I had just started exploring graphic markers around 2002-2003 this is a good guess. As that was one of the first things I bought there. Went in with some Christmas money and came out with £60 worth of markers.
Since that Christmas it has been a yearly tradition to go back every Christmas.
Of course, much to the lamentation of my wallet- I go there more than once a year. Last year I probably went there about ten-twelve times. Mostly to improve the various materials I use for painting (brushes and canvas paper primarily) which was a long overdue affair. (Mostly because I’d been using the same basic watercolour and brush set since I started painting in 2009.)
You might wonder what there is to buy year on year as once you’ve established a set of materials you’re mostly good to go. However, being a traditional artist means my materials are finite and they might need to be replaced. Mostly this would be pencils and paper. I haven’t gone through too many tubes of paint (watercolour or acrylic), I haven’t run my ink pens dry, I haven’t exhausted my brushes, and I haven’t run any of my graphic markers to the end of their time. Yet. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be new things to buy or interesting new materials to sample.
For instance, when I first picked up the Copic Multiliners, that was a test to see if they were more appropriate to my needs than the Faber Castell Pitt Pens. A test that has since cost me £30-40 in pens and nibs and replacement ink. Despite the fact that after years of use they still have some ink in them. You can never be too prepared, though.
Which seems to be the main reason I go there these days- stocking up.
I do buy new things from time to time, but, for the most part, I’m just there to increase my stocks so I’m not in danger of running out. A few erasers here, a half a dozen replacement pencils there, a few pads of paper here, and a knife blade or two just in case. I have found some love with the recent (new?) range of Daler Rowney cartridge paper which ranges from the incredibly light 130gsm to the incredibly heavy 250gsm. The latter reaching the weight of the Winsor & Newton/Daler Rowney Bristol Board I use. It’s kind of funny because I would avoid cartridge paper like the plague years ago. I used to primarily use Winsor & Newton 170gsm acid-free paper.
I guess that’s my own little artistic evolution right there.
I actually started using the Winsor & Newton/Daler Rowney Bristol Board to replace the Tria Letraset marker pads which were significantly lighter (70gsm opposed to the 250gsm of Bristol Board). They also resembled tracing paper. They’re pretty good for certain kinds of work and not so great for others. There’s also the matter of personal preference in that I just prefer the heavier smoother surface of heavier papers and boards. It’s not for everyone, though. Tria Letraset marker pads are also cheaper.
In any case, as it’s Christmas, and we’re being all festive, I figured I’d talk about one of my quirky seasonal traditions.
Have a nice weekend, all!