Almost exactly six months ago, I bought two packages of 500-sheets of mixed media heavyweight art paper. I was inspired to make this purchase for two reasons. The first was because I found the kids were grabbing printer paper for their art and drawings. I like good quality printer paper and the stuff I buy isn’t the cheapest. So I bought them the art paper with the caveat that they use that for their art and leave the printer paper alone. Yesterday, the finished going through the first pack of 500 sheets. I noticed this morning that the second pack of 500 sheets had been opened. It took them 6 months to get through 500 sheets.
They use the art paper for all kinds of things. The Little Miss draws all the time. The Little Man does too, and I find it fascinating how their artwork varies. The Little Miss has been into the Kawaii style of drawing lately. Her drawings are colorful and minimalist. The Little Man has always been into drawing detailed spaceships, bases, Titan-like robots, and epic battles taking place on planetary scales. His drawings are detailed, but almost always black and white, usually black ink.
I woke up this morning and had two Father’s Day cards they made using a couple of those 500 sheets of paper.
The second reason I bought the paper was because it was something I always wanted when I was a kid. I remember loving to draw. My dad had this notepads he’d get from his work with a company letterhead across the top of one side, but I’d use that as my scratch paper and drawing paper. I remember walking through stationary store or the art section of toy stores envious of the amazing pads of paper they had, sketchbooks with thick pages. Paper with different textures besides the newsprint style paper I often used in school, or the manila paper on which I did some of my own drawings.
Art is important and I wanted to encourage it in my kids. Art doesn’t require the best products to make it. It can be made on anything. But I thought that if they had some good paper to work with, it would encourage them to continue to make their art, and that the art they made would last longer. I still have some of my art from those early days. My mom saved it and sent it back to me a few years ago. I’ve even managed to digitize some of it.
With so much stuff happening online these days, drawing allows the kids to choose to deliberately set aside their devices and get back to some basics: exercising fine motor skills, of course, and exercising their imaginations, too. But more than that, expressing that imagination on a blank page. I do that by writing, but I know that feeling of coming into first contact with a blank page and turning it into something else entirely. There is nothing like a blank page to start something new. That’s probably the most important reason why I bought the kids 1,000 blank pages.
They represent 1,000 fresh beginnings, 1,000 opportunities, 1,000 chances to daydream for them.