SF Cell Field Trip: Art Materials in Japan Town

First of all let me introduce myself, my name is Brian Kolm and I am part of the San Francisco cell.

On Tuesday, May 30, 2006 was the first field trip for the SF Cell, beyond our regular jam sessions at Café International. Our quest…to buy awesome art supplies in San Francisco’s Japantown.

The three of us who attended first met at the plaza between the two halves of Japantown Center, at 6pm. The plaza is quiet and pleasant, with a fountain and tall tower, as well as interesting areas to sit and sketch.

The Japantown Center is a great place to explore, since there is so much cartoon/art everywhere you turn. There’s the usual cutesy characters like Hello Kitty and action stars like Neruto, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Dragon Ball Z, but also places selling handmade paintings and craft pieces. But we had a goal, to visit the Kinokuniya Stationery & Gift.

Kinokuniya Stationery & Gift is a great store if you like unique art materials, particularly their large selection of brush pens. They have everything from fancy re-fillable brushes to the kind that you can throw away after you’re done. They even had some amazing brush pens filled with brightly colored ink (see image below). The secret is to go to the front counter and ask to try their samples. Then you can see what works best for you.

Kinokuniya Stationery & Gift is also great if you like cute little novelty erasers, interesting containers, origami paper, stickers, and beautiful greeting cards. I particularly liked some of the collectible statues from Studio Ghibli films like Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

After we had made our buys, we headed over to the Kinokuniya Bookstore. The place is huge and has pretty much any kind of book or magazine from Japan that you could want. Doc Popular, one of the SF Cell’s founders, lead us to their selection of Deleter comic book supplies.

The Deleter brand of comic book paper is quite good with the smaller sized sheets (with non-repo blue rules) running 40 sheets for $4.60. The aspect is for what they call a Dojinshi/B5 size books, so it’s more square then American size aspect ratio. The paper seems to be a good choice for someone who wants to have the pre-ruled sheets, but does not want to spend a lot of money. It would also be great for kids in cartooning classes. The store also sells the popular markers and pens from Copic.

By this time we were all getting hungry, so we headed to Mifune, a restaurant serving big bowls of noodles or rice topped with tasty treats. The price is reasonable and the environment is cozy. We sat and ate our food and drew a bit with our new pens and paper. What a great way to end our field trip….drawing.

All in all this outing was a lot of fun and our little group agreed that we wanted to plan more events like this. So for those in the San Francisco Bay Area or those visiting, check out the message board or right here at the ol’ blog to see what exciting things are going on.

NOTE: I want to invite my cohorts to comment below on what they bought on this Field Trip and their feelings about them.

2 comments... Thanks!

2 Comments so far

  1. Brian June 1st, 2006 8:41 pm

    The pens I bought on our jaunt are the same ones I have done most of my work on my comic book(s), Beyond the Great Chimney. There is not much to go on with the brand. The cases are silver and say ZEBRA on them. You can ink/draw you comic then paint over the lines and they won’t smear.

    I looked at the retailers site, but found no trace of the model I use. http://www.zebra.co.jp/indexf.html

    I have not tried the Deleter paper yet, but I am looking forward to it.

  2. Doc Pop June 2nd, 2006 9:29 am

    I’ll try to post the pen names if I can find the wrappers for the brands I bought.

    The Deleter paper is great for pen and ink, but it seems to be handling my colored ink poorly.

    btw, the addition of the test paper in the blog… marvelous.

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