I actually had to buy a sketchbook!

If you’ve read the post about my new sketchbook system you may recall me mentioning one of my “travel” category sketchbooks being bigger than I’d like. Recently I came to realize that it’s too big to fit in my cargo pants or fanny pack! I had two options: move that sketchbook to the “medium to large white paper” category, or let it go. Using a bigger bag wasn’t an option for me, due to my disabilities I need to carry as little weight as possible, and I have a tendency to fill all the space in any bag I use!

A few weeks ago I met my friend’s 4 year old daughter and we had a blast drawing together, and since I’d learned she didn’t have a sketchbook of her own, yesterday I decided to ask her mom if it was okay to give that sketchbook to her. They were both thrilled by the present!

With that taken care of, I was left without any excess travel sketchbooks in the overflow cabinet! My No Buy rules allow for replacements and refills as necessary, so I was allowed to buy one. I knew I wanted one of the exact size I’ve been using since it fits perfectly in both my cargo pants and my fanny pack, but isn’t ridiculously small either!

In order to not torture or tempt myself I actually sent my partner into the craft store for me! With her help we picked out a recycled paper sketchbook by Artist Loft. (Not sponsored!!) They were out of the exact sketchbook I had been using, but this one has the same page count, weight, is the same width and is only .5″ longer. I am excited about trying recycled paper- I think the little speckles in the pages might help me fight against the fear of the blank page!

(Image from the Michael’s website)

Well that’s all for now. I’ll make a sketchbook highlights post when I finish up this current travel sketchbook, which will be soon! I’ll see you then, take care in the meantime!

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!

Art supply No Buy: 1st check-in

Wow, it’s already March! How?!

Well first of all, I’ve decided that I’ll be on a sketchbook No Buy for the foreseeable future, not just until 2023. If I run out of a specific-use sketchbook, say I fill up my watercolor sketchbook from front to back, at that point I may buy ONE new watercolor sketchbook.

I had to implement this rule because I have 4 really tiny travel sketchbooks (the pages are 5.5cm x 10cm!) that are specifically for putting into my purse so I can doodle when I’m out and about. If I wasn’t allowed to buy ANY new sketchbook until 100% of my sketchbooks were completely filled… That just wouldn’t work out well for me. I like to work in different mediums and at different sizes.

In the future I’d like to have active at any time: 1 travel sketchbook, 2 medium or large sized sketchbooks (one with white paper and one with black paper!), and 1 watercolor sketchbook. This is how I tend to work anyway, but I have a lot of excess in the medium/large white paper sketchbook department!

What’s tempted me in these last few months? Not too much! I’ve been avoiding watching product reviews (unless it’s something I already own) and I don’t let myself step into arts and craft stores. When passing the arts and craft isles in grocery stores I literally put my hand up to avert my gaze and say aloud, repeatedly: “DON’T LOOK AT THE ART SUPPLIES!”

Ironically as I was typing up that last sentence, I found myself thinking about the fact that we are going to Home Depot today. My brain started to fantasize about buying pieces of wood or tile to paint on. Facepalm!

Something that really tempted me though is a magnetic drawing board toy. I mentioned this in one of my previous posts, because I have a Boogie Board and it reminds me of those. I really want one so I’ve put it on a list of things to buy in 2023. The 2023 shopping list is a great idea that I got from Kindra on YouTube.

Speaking of Kindra, I really recommend checking out her channel if this No Buy topic is interesting to you because she is doing one too! She’s not a huge YouTuber and I actually really enjoy that, her videos feel very down to earth and relatable. And I just love her voice, I find it so soothing. Her No Buy videos have been so inspiring and motivating for me!

Another temptation I had but has since passed is getting a new drawing program for my computer. I fiddled around with a free one that worked pretty well (I think it was Krita?) and decided that was just fine. I haven’t even done any digital art since. (Unless you count building in The Sims 4 haha!)

I know that here and there I’ve found myself interested in a product I’ve watched someone use, but all of those temptations were very fleeting and I don’t even remember any of the products! So thank goodness I didn’t cave, in retrospect it is so clear I didn’t need any of those things.

In a moment of weakness I even found myself eyeing the free ballpoint pens at a pawn shop. Nothing tempts me more than shiny and new but also FREE! I really do not need any new ballpoint pens. They aren’t even my favorite art supply! It’s just my bird brain, wanting to collect and hoard.

But in terms of genuine temptations to buy something and break my No Buy, the only things that’ve really fallen into that category are the magnetic drawing board and the art program for my computer. All those other things were just silly little whims that were easy to write off immediately.

So far I have finished filling two previously half-filled sketchbooks and I haven’t bought any art supplies. I would say that I am doing very well!

So thanks for reading and I will check in again in another 2 or 3 months, unless something crazy comes up and I really need to blog about it!

Happily Reorganized!

My art desk, plus one cubby under the TV, for drawing and watercolor painting supplies.
My acrylic painting station, and the “overflow cabinet” in the hallway.

After I was done decluttering my supplies, I took the opportunity to give each item a new and more productive home.

I wanted to keep supplies closer to where I’d actually use them, so I grouped my drawing and watercolor stuff together as I generally do both of those at the desk. I also moved my purse from the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet to make room for my acrylic supplies so they could be close to the easel!

I counted and I have a total of 14(!) sketchbooks, not counting the 4 I have fully filled. Out of those, 9 have been drawn in already. I’m only keeping the ones I’ve been most active in lately in the bedroom, I’m hoping that focusing on a few specific ones will help me fill them up faster.

With everything nicely organized, and plenty of supplies that I know I like just waiting to be used up, I think 2022 will be off to a good start 🙂

May the coming year be full of creation! Happy New Year everyone!

Everything in one place

So I decided not to make a written catalog of all of my art supplies because the idea was extremely daunting, especially after seeing the pile.

I included both my and my partner’s art supplies because we share with each other, even though some things are more mine and some things are more hers.

I ended up doing most of the decluttering as I removed things from the cabinet in the hallway. So what you see in that photo is pretty much just what was left as my “keep” pile. There were a few things though, like the Zebra Zensations mechanical colored pencils, and the 6 sheets of Canson XL watercolor paper, that went bye bye after this photo.

I decluttered all of my tempura paints (because I’m now using acrylics instead!), a Winsor and Newton Cotman travel watercolor set (I have every color in that set and more in my custom palette), several sets of Crayola crayons, and quite a few other miscellaneous little things. And that’s just the art supplies! I also donated a bunch of baby stuff that our daughter has already outgrown, some clothes that don’t suit me, and other random household items we no longer need.

This has been the biggest declutter since my first big purge back in January of 2019. Hard to believe I’ve been pursuing the minimalist lifestyle for so long now! I’m hoping the No Buy can help me do better now and in the future.

Although I’ve been fighting my hoarding tendencies over the last 3 years, I hadn’t really combatted the real root of the problem: my shopping addiction. I’ve learned to let things go when they stop serving me, but I haven’t learned to stop acquiring things in the first place. This lead me to buy things only to declutter them a week or two later!

I’m really happy with how I ended up reorganizing everything, made the whole process worth it. I’ll be back shortly with a separate post about that!

Art supply “No Buy” 2022?!

For Christmas I received a pack of 60 acrylic paint markers from my partner, and a box easel from her dad! I’ve always wanted an easel, and I really love paint markers, so obviously this was a good Christmas for me.
I also bought myself the 320 pack of Ohuhu bullet/chisel duel tip markers (HUGE splurge, wow that was expensive!), 2 sets of 16 count 2oz Craft Smart acrylic paints, and a pad of Canson Oil & Acrylic paper.

I have a LOT of art supplies. I have decluttered them a few times, but I always end up buying more because my brain wants a shiny new thing. I have more unfinished sketchbooks on hand than I want to admit, and a whole cabinet of art supplies just collecting dust. In a lot of aspects I’m a minimalist, but art supplies are my weakness! Quite simply, I am an art supply hoarder. No surprise there, I used to hoard everything, not just art supplies! It’s just a lot easier to talk myself into thinking I need a new art supply rather than the other random junk I used to accumulate.

So I’ve decided to take on a new challenge to hopefully make far more use of the things I already own… a No Buy year. Can I truly commit to not buying any new art supplies for a whole year? Only time will tell. I’m sure it can be done, but I have to be responsible and disciplined.

I’m not sure if I will allow myself to buy replacements for things I run out of. Maybe if it feels genuinely urgent for some reason. My Molotow liquid chrome marker is something I might consider getting another refill for if I were to somehow go through the entire refill I already have, as it’s my absolute favorite art supply. But maybe I shouldn’t! I have so many things I need to use (or realize I’ll never use and thus donate) so it might be a good thing to run out of my favorite things! I do have a drawing tablet (an older Wacom, none of those fancy ones with the screens haha) so technically even if I ran out of ALL my traditional supplies I could still make art.

Since my problem is specifically hoarding and not just finances, I will also not allow myself to aquire new supplies for free unless I have a genuine need. If I completely run out of paper I may use scraps from the recycling bin for example, but otherwise, no free supplies from the charity, and I’ll have to tell people not to get me art supplies as gifts either.

Maybe in the future I can make a post where I catalog ALL of my art supplies. Maybe seeing it all in one place, KonMari style, will help me realize how bad the problem really is! And maybe I’d be able to declutter some things right away, things I know I truly do not need.

I’ll try to keep y’all updated with this challenge, as a way to hold myself accountable. Wish me luck!