Paper brands and writing software options are just as diverse as pens and pencils. There’s a difference between scrap, copy, and resume papers. Some writers need lined or grid marked paper, while others prefer blank sheets. Writing software ranges from covering all distractions to focusing on niche formats, to offering every bell and whistle conceivable. Artists need entirely different types of paper depending on what materials they’re using. Graphite works differently than chalk, than pastels, watercolors, or ink. Just as different thickness papers and smoothness affects the overall piece and how it comes out.
It all boils down to what you personally need at the time. It’s not always going to be the same for every creation. Hence why having some level of diversity amongst your options is encouraged. Out of convenience and budget I tend to use standard 20lb weight white copy paper for most of my writing. But I also have some sketch books, wirebound and perforated for easy removal, but generally I keep it to lower grade paper for art at the moment.
I’ve only been sketching semi-regularly for a little over two years now, with varying levels of success. While I’ve experimented with oils, ink, pencils, and Adobe Illustrator, I’ve leaned more towards sketching with pencils on regular paper than any other combination. That said, I have a respect for quality materials, but feel I haven’t quite reached the base levels of finding my personal style to warrant getting the bigger/better toys.
I’ve been writing since the fourth grade, using marbled composition notebooks, to wirebound college ruled notebooks (left-side and top-side bound (Seriously so nice to use)), to Moleskines, to Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, Google Drive, Evernote, and dozens of other software programs at one time or another. Some are more simplistic, to prevent distractions, while others provide all the bells, whistles, and accoutrements to style your piece as you please. Some are platform specific, while others span all current operating systems.
Currently, the cross-platform, cloud-syncing options provide the right level of breadth and depth for me. I can write where I am, on whatever device I’m on, when my schedule allows. When I’m ready to work on a piece again, it’ll be there, synced across my accounts. The key: Write what I want, when I want, where I want. Well, as long as there’s a Wi-Fi or cell signal so background cloud syncing occurs accordingly.
As much as I want to play with a Wacom tablet for art, or even a Surface with digital pen for sketching or outlining ideas, I don’t have the practice hours built up or the disposable income yet to justify such an investment.
I know I don’t speak for every artist, merely for myself. We’re all entitled to our personal preferences, but I’ll bet that most writers agree with me that these software, hardware, and service brands should continue the overarching promise of: Write what you will, where and when you will; we’ll be here to help you along the way.
What commoditized brands do you prefer and feel loyal to, whether it’s writing-focused or otherwise?