Monday, January 25, 2010
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind - art supplies are costly. Especially good quality art supplies. When shopping, you will find that there are typically two versions of every kind of media. Student grade and artist (professional) grade. One might think that the less expensive student grade products would be suitable for the beginner, but they often consist of lower quality materials and less pigment which means that you may not achieve your desired results, and you might think it's you, when it's really the materials. (Same goes for paper, but I'll save that for another post.)
When I want to buy new supplies, I go digging all over the web for advice from other artists on what works best for them. There is generally a consistent line pointing towards the more expensive products but I don't always have the money to buy a full set of colored pencils or watercolors.
The biggest piece of advice I can offer you when shopping for new supplies is buy open stock whenever possible. Open stock means materials that are sold by the piece rather than by the set. Large chain art supply stores like Blick (Blick online as well) and some craft stores like Michael's/AC Moore sell products by the piece. My suggestion is to buy a few of your desired product in the colors you know you will use. I can't tell you how much product I have in browns, & greens I never use. You might end up spending a little more in the long run, but it's better to try before you spend the $$$ on a larger set without knowing whether or not you will like using that product.
I finally got smart when I bought these Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils. I bought the individual colors I wanted and loved them, then I went back and bought a few more to round out my own personal color pallette and I didn't have to spend money on colors I wasn't going to use.