The rich, subtle smell of paper and ink and a hint of magic filled the shop. Today the shop was lit almost moodily, a dim greasy yellow just highlighting the racks of old prints, papers, paints, inks, stationery. We walked down to the drawing paper section.
“So, does Paul prefer 90g Versailles papier-de-sorcelles or 100g Kyoto?”
“Is that what they taught you in school?” said Willard, smiling again.
“Yes…” I blushed.
“Hmmm… have a feel of this.”
I reached out and touched the thin, bluish paper. It felt slightly waxy and… this wasn’t papier-de-sorcelles at all, just ordinary paper!
“But how do you construct the object models in your spells and your interfaces?” I exclaimed.
“We just do the blueprint on here before we commit to papier-de-sorcelles. If you have a feel, you can tell it’s just right for pencilling. So, blue pencil first, then something darker so that it can be scanned…
“Then we transfer it from computer to papier-de-sorcelles!”
As Will spoke and explained about Paul’s process, I started to realise just how much new I had to learn. My head almost ached with the new information. How could I remember all of this? My course though 2 years long had prepared me only in theory- the way to structure spells, various methods to improve their efficiency, suitable materials and inks- but the actual process itself that was taught was very backwards. Computerised printing in relation to spellcraft had advanced quite a lot even in the short time that I had been studying. Even though it was well entrenched in traditional printing, spellcrafters due to their extreme speciality were prone to be initially mistrustful of technology and take time to implement it.
“Sorry, Sumaya, I’m probably talking your ear off!”
“No, it’s good, even if I don’t really understand all of it yet.”
“I’ve always loved spellcrafting so much. Even when my mum used to draw and ink little spells to find the keys in the house! So sometimes I go on a bit when I’m outside the shop!”
I felt exhilerated as we paid and made our way out of the shop. Will’s love for the craft infused me with a new joy for what we were doing, and seeing him open up and joke and talk was simply amazing. We stopped on the way at a tiny bakery on the way back that was full of light and the smell of flour and baking. I bought myself a pain-au-chocolat as two small children chased each other and weaved their way between me and Will, their friendly mother apologising profusely, and Will, a custard tart.
We wound our way, munching away, back to the shop, paper and inks in hand. As we swung the old door open, Paul appeared.
“Ah, there you two are! Now, I’ll be crafting a few spells for the fellows. Both of you come with me!” he beckoned excitedly as ever.
Spreading the wax paper on a large table, he started planning out loud; we began…