Confusion of Love

I made this piece in February of 2009, when I was in the 7th grade and questioning my sexuality for the first time. By the time I created this I knew for certain I liked girls, but couldn’t decide if I also liked boys. That struggle continues to this day.

In a previous post I had labeled myself as pansexual, but that was a very recent decision. I had concluded I would probably love and stay with my partner regardless of how she identifies, therefore being attracted to her regardless of gender. However, today I decided to change the wording of that post and revert back to the Nonbinary Lesbian lable I have been so comfortable with for the past 5+ years.

Although it may sound contradictory to someone unfamiliar with the terms, yes I do identify as both Nonbinary and a Lesbian. This is because our language lacks words that would better describe how I feel. Sex, as in one’s body parts and chromosomes, is not a factor in who I am attracted to. Gender on the other hand, a personal identity and social performance, does for some reason. I am attracted to people that, for lack of better words, have “feminine energy”. This isn’t to say I am not attracted to masculine women though, and I’m not sure how to explain better what I mean by it.

I am also “woman-aligned”. My relationship to gender is so tumultuous I can no longer return to the label and identity of “cisgender woman”, but when forced to “pick a side” between man and woman I always choose woman. This unfortunately happens quite often, an example is when filling out forms that only have two options for gender and there is no way to write anything else. When I can discuss my gender more at length as I am doing here, I am able to convey that I reject the binary and don’t want to be forced into a box. I also continue to struggle with gender dysphoria that once had me identifying as a trans man for a few years, but I no longer feel comfortable identifying as and behaving as a man.

I’m not only attracted to women, but also to fellow nonbinary people. If more people understood that “bisexual” doesn’t just mean “attracted to both binary genders” but often means “two or more genders” perhaps I would use that instead. Unfortunately in our current world many people do not know that, and therefore lesbian is the best word I have to convey my sexuality in simple terms.

If you would like to read more on the topic of nonbinary lesbianism, I found an article that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to understand the lable better. I am aware that it can be very confusing to people both in and outside of the LGBT+ community, but I urge you to approach the subject with sympathy and compassion, we are all just people trying to navigate this very complicated world.

At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter what my sexuality is, because as I’ve said before I am happily partnered (hopefully for life) to my favorite (also nonbinary!) lady in the entire world. I continue to question the labels I use for the sake of understanding myself better, as well as being understood better by others, not because I need other women to know I might find them attractive. Anyway, at this point in my life I think I would choose solitude over another relationship if the one I am in happens to end for any reason.

My relationship to sexuality and gender has always influenced my creations, as all other aspects of my identity and life experience do. So today I publish this very old artwork on this blog to pay homage to the very long journey I’ve had questioning my labels, and to thank my younger self for making this piece that I still resonate with so deeply.

Thank you for reading this and for keeping any unkind thoughts to yourself (wink!), I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you in the next post!

Art Supply No Buy: Mid-year check in!

Last week I let you all know that I had made a mistake and broke my No Buy rules. I never really laid my rules out in a list, so I’ll give that a go now:

  • No purchasing new art supplies, duh!
  • Replacements and refills ONLY and only when genuinely necessary.
  • Borrowing is only okay occasionally, prioritize using owned supplies.
  • Buying things that aren’t necessarily art supplies with the intention to use them as art supplies is NOT allowed.
  • Upcycling trash is allowed, but buying something you wouldn’t have bought with the intention of upcycling the packaging is NOT allowed.
  • Trying free digital art programs is okay, taking free traditional art supplies is not.
  • Organizational items (such as pencil pouches, desk organizers) don’t count as art supplies and are okay to buy if there is a genuine need.
  • Art supply gifts should be discouraged, but if given by someone ignorant of the No Buy may still be accepted. Don’t use gifted items until 2023 unless they would become unusable by then.
  • Buying art merch from fellow small artists, such as stickers, prints, or pin buttons, is ok and actually encouraged.
  • Don’t look for loopholes, if it feels like it would violate the rules then it would.
  • If you stumble or fall just pick yourself back up and keep going. You haven’t failed unless you give up entirely.

(All instances of the word “you” in that list are referring to myself, but feel free to follow my rules if you like them and think they would apply to your own No Buy!)

Now that I’ve laid down the rules, we can see that I have violated the first rule once by buying a phone stylus that doubles as a ballpoint pen. Since this is my first and only slip-up this entire year so far I am actually quite proud of myself! This whole thing is turning out to be a lot easier than I expected.

Since I am not buying any art supplies until 2023 I started a shopping list for when the No Buy is finally over. Only items I think would truly benefit me made this list, there have been many temptations but these all feel like logical purchases!

  • Pentel pocket brush pen
  • Magnetic drawing board toy
  • Top coat for acrylic painting
  • Base coat for acrylic painting
  • Button press machine

The Pentel pocket brush pen is something I’ve only heard good things about and definitely suits my art style. I love using brushes, I love refillable things, and I love things that are very portable. It would definitely be great for limiting my supplies for my travel sketchbook. I have had black brush pens before, such as the Sakura Pigma brush pen, but never ones with bristles and never refillable. This may actually be the item I look forward to most, though it is small and simple I think it will be a game changer.

The magnetic drawing board will be perfect for my daughter and I to get creative together as she will be just the right age to start doodling when the No Buy is over. I also just want one for myself to revisit childhood memories and make some low-effort art without the guilt of “wasting” paper!

Painting rocks is something I’ve really wanted to get into for a while now, especially because a local park we go to actually requests you paint rocks and leave them there! It doesn’t feel right to start now though, as I have so much paper to get through, and it really is advised to use a top coat to seal the rocks so they will last longer outside.

The button press machine is a big pricey investment, especially since I don’t plan on selling pins for profit, but it is something I have wanted for over 5 years. The first time I got to use one was at a pride festival and since then I have always thought it would be awesome to make my own pins and help others make some too!

The shopping list definitely soothes my anxiety about things I think I “Need To Have” because I know I can survive another 6 months without them and I won’t forget anything important. I can always add or remove items as my needs change as well. It gives me lots of time to think about the item and I won’t make any impulse purchases. I really think this shopping list is probably the thing helping me the most through this challenge so far, otherwise I may have slipped up (in a more serious way) by now!

I don’t really consider buying that stylus pen a true slip up because it was a genuine accident. I was rushing to get in and out of the Dollar Tree as fast as possible, I didn’t take time to look at the item thoroughly, and honestly my No Buy was the furthest thing from my mind that night. Accidents happen and there’s no point in dwelling on something so silly. Nonetheless I still found it important to hold myself accountable, I can learn from my mistake and avoid doing the same thing again in the future.

Recently I have decluttered even more art supplies that I haven’t touched the entire first half of this year, many of which suited my mom’s needs so they went to her. Anything else went to the local charity that will give them away for free to families in need. I started my minimalism journey in 2019 and since then I have come to believe if I am not using something it is selfish of me to hold on to it when someone else could be using it. I still tend to hold onto things for quite a while before deciding to get rid of them, because sometimes things do come in handy later on.

I find it incredibly rewarding to pass an item on to someone who will value it so much more than I do, especially because I understand exactly how it feels to be on the receiving end, I grew up very poor and the same charity I donate to now served me and my family back then. The markers I regretted buying probably made a huge difference in a child’s life, and because of that I no longer regret buying them. When I end up donating something I regret purchasing. I just keep in mind that it’s like buying a gift for someone else, and that puts my mind at ease. I won’t let the sunk cost fallacy keep me prisoner any longer!

In summary, so far so good. I look forward to finishing this year out strong, hopefully with no more accidents! I will not let one tiny mistake ruin all the progress I have made over these last 6 months. I hope the lessons I learn from this No Buy will stay with me through the rest of my life, and maybe I won’t have the need to do No Buys in the future. I already feel that I have learned a lot about myself, my art, and my shopping habits through the first 6 months of this challenge.

My next No Buy check-in will be in a few months, probably around the beginning of Autumn. There should be plenty of new posts between now and then, so I’ll see you in the next one. I hope you have a wonderful day!

I’m on a roll!

Released a new traditional art coloring page today, and even got a sketch in too! Just as I had hoped, as a side effect of not playing video games, I am creating more frequently. I’ve started using my watercolor sketchbook more, and I’m hoping to actually get it wet soon.

Working on my mid-year Art Supply No Buy check-in post, so stay tuned! See you soon!

(Water)coloring page!

I drew this new traditional coloring page in my watercolor sketchbook! I plan to use my watercolor paints to color the original myself.

I’m “getting high on my own supply” so to speak, I’ve recently started coloring my own coloring pages. Now I’m addicted, and I need more line art to color! It’s not like I’ve never colored before, I spent my childhood coloring like many of us did, and being an artsy type it was one of my favorite activities. However, over the last several years I have mostly focused on drawing, and for some reason I never really considered coloring my own coloring pages.

Now I’m coloring out of boredom and a desire for some low-stress creativity. I consider coloring to be an art form in and of itself, but there’s something particularly rewarding about coloring in line art drawn by oneself! I figured that since I have created so many of my own designs, and I think buying coloring books goes against my Art Supply No Buy, I might as well have a go at coloring them myself.

Since I started using Mandoo I have been able to create line art so much easier, it has really helped me ease back into drawing regularly. Wanting new designs to color is also a huge motivator for me now! I have been itching to get back into watercolor but I have been feeling intimidated, so I figured coloring would be a great way to start again.

I do plan on showing off some of my colored coloring pages soon, so stay tuned! Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the next post!

Neurographic Mandalas

Using Mandoo I was able to combine the concept of neurographic art with mandala and I love the results!

Doing this traditionally would be a lot harder and probably not a “true neurograph” since one is meant to start a neurograph with a random scribble, but with a mandala-making program it is completely possible and very easy!

If you are interested in coloring these I have uploaded them all to my digitally-drawn coloring pages Google Drive folder, so please enjoy!

Happy Pride Month!

You can find the original files for these coloring pages in my digitally-drawn coloring pages Google Drive folder!

This coloring page was a special request from my mom, who gave me the idea for the little blank flags. I went with something super simple and open-ended so it is very customizable! I am eternally grateful to have a mom who accepts me and wants to support me and my community.

My queer identity has a very long and complicated story behind it. Today I have settled with the labels of “nonbinary lesbian” but it’s still something I continue to question on a regular basis. Luckily I am happily partnered to the most wonderful woman in the world so I don’t really need to think so hard about it!

I hope June is kind to each and every one of you, see you in the next post!

I accidentally violated my No Buy rules… Oops!!

Today I bought a pack of two stylus pens from The Dollar Tree to use with my phone. Unfortunately, I overlooked the fact that they are actual pens as well. Since they actually work surprisingly well I am certain I will end up using them as pens too, making this the first and only art supply I have bought in 2022.

Hopefully I can avoid making any more mistakes like this for the rest of the year, but what is done is done so I will just keep on going! Might as well just enjoy the new shiny toys since I have them now, the only alternative is to donate them and that feels silly since they do what I needed them to do.

Just wanted to make a quick post to hold myself accountable. See you in the next one!

Mandala made easy!

While it might read like it is, this post is NOT sponsored. I’m just excited about this wonderful tool I recently started using and I want to share it with the world.

These 3 mandalas were made in the android app Mandoo. It is completely free, no ads or in-app purchases! I love this app so much. It’s rare to find good apps that are completely free, but when I do I am so incredibly grateful.

Mandoo lets anyone create a mandala, from absolute novices to experienced veterans. This is because you only have to draw one section of the mandala, the app will automatically copy the design around the facets for you.

This isn’t a new concept, Mandoo is only one of many apps that can do this, but I love Mandoo for being ad-free and very simple to use. Many mandala coloring pages you find in coloring books are made this way with similar programs, and I can see why, It gives you perfect symmetry effortlessly and it saves loads of time!

If you’ve been around here long enough you should have gathered by now that I am a fan of “easy” art that is accessible to all skill levels. I am very much not someone who argues about what is or isn’t real art, I find that all to be overly pretentious and unnecessary. My whole mission is to inspire ALL people to embrace their creative side, so there’s no room for that nonsense here!

What I started using this app for is jotting down ideas for traditional pieces later, as lately I found myself overusing certain motifs and I have grown bored of them. The possibilities are endless and I want to unlock more of those possibilities! Even just by scribbling at random I can find new shapes that inspire me and I can use them again later. I have found myself making finished pieces in this app more and more though, since I enjoy using it so much.

Nothing really beats the experience of drawing a mandala entirely by hand for me, the repetition is actually part I like most. But if you’re someone who looks at mandala art and thinks it’s not for you because it looks too tedious, you might want to try a tool like this, because then you can make the same fancy circles I do without having to do quite as much work!

You may know that I have a Google Drive folder of all my free hand-drawn coloring pages, but I’m going to start a new one for these digital tool-assisted pieces. This will make it easier to choose coloring pages based on what better suits your personal tastes, and I will be able to release new line art faster using this tool. I can’t lie, my traditional pieces are more sentimental to me though since I have to put more work into them. You can expect to see me putting out both traditional and digital mandalas in the future, as I enjoy them both for different reasons.

See you in the next one, have a wonderful day!

A summer without video games 🚫🎮

Starting today, June 1st, I will not be playing any video games until at least September 1st.

What’s this got to do with art? Quite a bit actually! This will free up more of my time and force me out of my comfort zone. I have done these “video game detoxes” three times before, and each time I made significantly more art during the “detox”.

Previously I did this because I found myself addicted to video games, I would play compulsively and neglect my real life responsibilities. This time is different, I have reevaluated my relationship to games and been playing much more responsibly for some time now.

However, I find myself bored and longing for different activities to fill my time. I would often reach for my phone to play Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic because it was the easiest thing to do, even though there were things I wanted to do more. I wouldn’t play for too long at a time and I would easily drop it to do something more important, I think I’ve just become burnt out on it and I haven’t been playing any other games lately anyway.

I’m writing this post to hold myself accountable, the more people I tell the less likely I’ll back out, just like with my Art Supply No Buy. Which come to think of it, I need to do a mid-year check-in soon! Stay tuned!

See you in the next one. I’ve got a fun post in my drafts that will be coming up soon 😊

Adventures in Red and Blue

[All photo credit goes to my partner this time around! It was much more frustrating than I expected to take photos of my tiny travel sketchbook. She really made this post possible, I was ready to give up! Thanks, love!]

This is just a small sample of the doodles I’ve made with my red/blue color palette. I would show more, but I need to figure out how to get decent photos!

These red and blue Sakura Pigma Micron PN pens were some of the last supplies I bought before I decided to do an Art Supply No Buy, I bought them right before Birdie was born because I was anxious and I thought it would cheer me up. I didn’t start really using them until this year though!

I had read about limiting one’s color palette and how useful it can be, and I’m really glad I tried it out for myself. The rumors are true, it’s fantastic! I struggle a lot with decision fatigue and this solves that problem. I don’t like working in just black and white all the time, so this gives me that color I crave while still not overwhelming my brain!

Deciding what elements of the drawing to make which color is exciting for me. Since most of the things I draw are not actually blue and red in real life it’s so interesting to see how different it looks when I cut down the colors to just two. I love how I can add emphasis and contrast using this method.

When it comes to doing art on the go I think a very limited palette is the best choice for me and I will continue with this method in the future. I would like to try experimenting with cyan, yellow, and magenta next time! Those are my 3 favorite colors, and they’re a famous trio!

That’s all for now, see you in the next one!