24 July 2011

Buy Nothing Summer: I Cheated!

Okay, so I had no idea if I could stick it out when I started the Buy Nothing Summer on June 18th! The idea of buying no new art supplies for the whole summer was intense... but totally necessary if I was ever going to get my sprawling stash under control. Even though I've made a lot of progress in the past 5 weeks, my apartment is still a mess. I'm telling myself that I'm taking it slowly, but surely, but perhaps I'm moving just a touch too slow.

I have managed to make art every single day since I started the BNS, which is more important, really, and have successfully finished at least one art journal page every single day since at least June 28th. (Can't say for sure before that, because I just started dating my pages!). I've even managed to completely avoid buying any craft supplies for myself and have even been successful in adding stuff from my personal stash into my school bags for the art classes I've been teaching all summer. I've dropped off a few boxes every week or so to local thrift stores, too.

I have avoid shopping almost completely. No retail stores since late June when I bought a couple things I needed for classes. I've completely avoided flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales, too. I have, however, looked at Etsy a couple of times, even placed a ridiculously low bid on some Copic markers on eBay (I was outbid within minutes); but I haven't actually laid out any cash... until now.

That's right: I cheated. I cheated hard with an $80 purchase. I should feel really bad about this purchase, but the honest truth is that I am elated! I don't regret it one bit!

Don't ask me why I was looking under the "arts and crafts" section of Craigslist yesterday afternoon. That should have been a strictly off-limits zone, but looking I was and what did I see but a listing that said "My art supplies! Cheap!" How could I resist clicking over?

Oh man!

This person was selling a set of 72 Copic markers for $80! I emailed her immediately, BNS be damned! I figured that with a price that good, they'd have been gone already. Or, that it was one of those scams designed to harvest my email address for nefarious purposes. No way could I score a decent set of Copics for that insanely low price tag.

Seriously, folks, I'm not trying to make excuses here, but wow! The cheapest price I'd managed to find before was $3.50 per marker for new Copic Ciao markers or used Sketch markers. I prefer the Sketch, but am happy with any. Since Copics are refillable, buying a used marker is usually a pretty good deal, even if it doesn't have much ink. I haven't been using Copics (or the starving artist favorite, ShinHan Touch Twin markers*) long enough to have to refill them, but I know that buying a refill ink costs about as much as buying a new Sketch marker, but will refill a marker about 5 - 7 times, maybe more. Before the BNS started, I'd been trying to buy a good selection of Copics on ebay for a good six months, getting outbid every single time as the auctions skyrocketed to prices way higher than I could afford.

[* If you can't afford Copics, I think it's great to start out with the ShinHan Touch Twin markers. They are $1.89 each from Jerry's Artarama. The nibs aren't as good as the Copic Sketch markers, but if you are just starting out, I doubt you'll even notice. The nibs also don't last as long as the Copics, either, and they aren't refillable. Still, they work nearly as well for shading at a fraction of the cost. My plan was to start with the ShinHan markers, see if I even liked using them, then add Copics to my stash as I could afford them. I have discovered that I love using the markers, and have slowly added new Copics to my stash by looking for used lots of them on Ebay. I use both markers together all the time with no problems, and the Copic blending pen works well with ShinHan markers.]

Now, I'm all set with Copics for a nice long time.  Here's what I got:

These markers have been used... a lot! Some of them have sticky ink on them, probably from being overfilled or not stored well. Some of them have writing on the sides, or paint, or fingerprints. The case has been broken and taped back together with green duct tape and a hunk of foam core. I am seriously in love!

Note that I already made a materials page for the markers. I did it as soon as I got home with them. All of the markers work just fine, though Warm Grey #9 is pretty low on ink. One of the blacks has a broad nib that is a little bit busted up, but the rest are all fine. I expected to have to replace at least a handful, but really, it's not necessary. I did discover that with the new ones, I now have 7 duplicates, which includes two blenders (I already had two E00's), but even with the duplicates, this was such a great score! $1.10 each marker! Amazing! There was no way I could resist this deal. No way!

So why am I even telling you that I bought these markers? Couldn't I have just pretended I was sticking to the plan, man, and not even mentioned the slide? Sure, I guess, but I'm human. I'm not going to pretend that I'm perfect, and, really, I don't think that these $80 purchase has completely derailed my whole BNS summer challenge. I did go 35 days without buying a single art supply, after all, so it's not a total fail. Also, I have decided my "punishment" for this purchase is an extra week added to the BNS challenge. I'm now not allowed to buy anything until September 7th. (No biggie... this markers will be keeping me busy! Haha!)

{The other option was to not allow myself to use the markers until the BNS was over, but I decided that was tantamount to presenting a really hungry chocoholic with the most delicious cake ever and making them swear not to eat it. Ain't happening. There was no way I could resist them that long!}

Also, for anyone else struggling with the BNS challenge or with the 30 Day Craft Cleanse, you should know that no one is perfect, not even me. (Hard to believe, ain't it? Har dee har har!) If you do cave and buy something, admit it, then don't do it again.

It'd be really easy to go on a shopping binge right now, (Perhaps a run to Borders for 40% off everything?) but I'm not going to do it. I chose to splurge on something that I felt was just way too good to pass up, but I'm not going to use one purchase as an excuse to make twenty more and write it off as one bad day.

The lesson, perhaps, is that avoiding temptation really is important. If I hadn't been browsing a "forbidden" zone on Craigslist yesterday, I would have never known about this awesome deal and would never have known that I missed out on it. If you don't go browsing your favorite craft haunts clearance aisle, the same thing applies.

So... take what you will from this! I'm going to take my markers and go play!


  1. The Buy Almost Nothing Summer works for me! You got a deal WAY too good to pass up! Hey, it's not a purchase, it's an investment!!! There! Enjoy them. Kathy

  2. Congratulations on your find! I had never thought of looking on CraigsList for art supplies (and NO, I won't be heading over there anytime soon!). It sounds like this was worth the splurge. I admitted on the Ning to buying a magazine today, but I failed to mention that I bought two of the clearance books, too. But, all told, I think I only spent about $10. I've been inventorying and organizing like mad, and got to sort through a whole bag of collage materials I hadn't really looked through, so that felt like shopping and getting new stuff...BONUS!

  3. oh man that's awesome! way too good a deal to pass up and i agree with paperpumpkin - totally an investment! good for you

  4. Glad you all agree that it was too good to pass up! I figured that even if all of the markers were outta ink that the price would be worth it.! I've already made the cutest drawing using the markers, so I know they will get so much use. Plus, since they are already "not perfect" I don't have to get past that fear of messing up my art supplies that I get with pretty new stuff.

  5. What a steal!!! And they already have character/use to them so you can't possibly feel guilty using "new" stuff! I love the enthusiasm that exudes from your post - I keep hoping to get off my duff and make something happen in my own life, perhaps I will make today :) yay!

  6. I agree with all of the others, that this was too great of a deal to pass up! Plus, most stuff on these markers can be replaced should it need to be.

    I guess it's a good thing that I don't go looking on Craigslist!

  7. I don't own any coloring markers but I would love to try Copics! Good deal and I would have arm wrestled you for that luscious case of goodness. I would do absolution for that, lol.


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