working without paper

as a traditional artist, i find it nearly impossible to work without paper. the mediums i currently work with are pencil, alcohol marker, watercolor, and gouache. the variety is great, but unfortunately, using the same paper for my favorite mediums is nearly impossible. this results in needing several different types of paper and sketchbook in order to work with all of the mediums I love.

as a student, this fall semester will be the first semester that i actively try to be as paperless as possible. i have 16 credits worth of classes, including a math and a science class, and i am planning on using my ipad pro for as much of the work as i can. math and science classes generally make being 100% paperless impossible, but why is it so important to me in the first place?

i don’t think i will ever be a 100% digital artist. i wouldn’t be able to sit down at my desk and watch watercolors swirl together, and watercolor is and always will be my first and favorite medium. until some kind of alternative comes around that gives me the same feeling, paper is necessary for what i create.

i also love printmaking. i just finished up making a suite of paper goods for my best friends bridal shower. i designed games and signs for the event and they were a huge hit. spending the time designing, printing, cutting, and setting all of it up was a bit of a revelation for me and i am looking forward to being able to offer that service as a commission.

paper is too big of a part of my creative self to give up. it’s necessary for what i do. i will be an artist forever and my creative side will never go away. but i will only be a student for the next 3 years (unless graduate school catches my eye). i can’t cut down on the paper i use in my creative life, but i absolutely can in my school life.

here’s how.

tablets are incredible devices, especially today. even cell phones have an incredible amount of computing power. as much as i can get away with, my ipad pro will serve as my notebook for all of my classes. business majors end up having to do a good amount of math unfortunately and i will probably end up with a professor who requires me to do my work on paper. even so, using notebooks for just math is leaps and bounds better than using paper for every single class i have.

tablets are great for taking notes for several other reasons. one of my favorite features is being able to take a pdf or powerpoint presentation and import it into microsoft onenote. this way, i can take my notes directly on the pages or alongside a lecture. i can’t lose those files because they are saved digitally, they don’t take up space in my bag or my room, and i always have them with me from wherever i am.

a tablet also is generally smaller than a laptop (although a laptop can also be used to go paperless) when it comes to weight. my 2nd gen ipad pro weighs 1.49 pounds and my 2015 macbook air weighs 2.96 pounds. both have some kind of case or cover that adds weight to them. when taking as many classes as i do with as many textbooks as i have, being able to use a devise that weighs half as much as my already small laptop is a huge plus. one of my textbooks is looseleaf and contained in a 2.5 inch binder. it’s the worst.

if you have the means to, going paperless can have a lot of benefits in addition to being better for the environment. you can have access to everything you need for school in one place instead of across several notebooks and binders. it also helps you save space in your backpack which is always a good thing, especially for students who have heavy course loads. literally.

my motivation to go paperless is due to the amount of paper i use as an artist, which is something i have very little control over. i can’t live my life completely paperless, but i can take control of the other aspects of my life and limit my use there.

what are some ways you can go more paperless in your own everyday life?