An Artist on Paper

When your pen—or pencil, or brush—hits paper, magic can happen.

Since he was young, artist Drew Schafer has relished putting pen on paper, smudging the still-wet ink to add shading and contrast.

Today, as a founder of Michigan-based Aberro Creative, Schafer admits to spending most of his days designing projects in front of a glowing computer monitor. However, he continues to appreciate the permanence of paper and the simple fact that “you can leave an indelible mark on something that technology hasn’t found a way to replicate.”

“A digital medium might be cleaner, it might be more convenient—I won’t be washing graphite and ink off my hands as much as I usually would—but you don’t have that sensation of creating something tangible,” says Schafer.

“Digitally, anything can be undone, it can be overwritten, it can be outright deleted, but with paper there’s that sense of having to be in the moment,” he adds. “Every pen stroke, every color you decide to choose, it’s right there, stuck there, and you’ve got to be a little more conscious about the decisions that you’re making.”

That’s why Schafer reaches for a sheet of quality art paper when he’s ready to sit down and produce something for himself.

“If you’re an artist that has something to say, there’s nothing that listens quite like paper. You’re present, you’re there with your medium, there’s no barrier between you. There’s no keyboard, there’s no mouse, there’s just you and what you’re working on.”

And that is when magic happens.