Monday, January 25, 2010

Bean Tip #1 :: Buy Open Stock Art Supplies

Pitt Brush Pens (4)

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.

Neocolor II's

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.

Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils

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.


Anniesartbook said...

This is absolutely true. That's why I try to do the same, buy by the piece.
Stephanie, you probably did write about this, but I can't find it on your blog, so if you give me a link I would appreciate it- I am looking for good quality white ink to draw on black paper. I tried 10 different pens and markers and I am not very pleased with the quality. Have you ever reviewed white ink pens?

Stephanie "Biffybeans" Smith said...


This article on white pens was really helpful to me:

And this is so far my best white ink pen - cheap too!

Heather said...

I try to buy open stock myself whenever I can. Usually I could never afford to buy an entire set of anything anyway. With me, it's usually the pinks and purples that don't get used; I'd gladly take your greens and browns, as green and brown are two of my favourite colours! Great tip; I'm looking forward to more.

Unknown said...

I'm like Heather. I usually buy browns. Also greys, dark blues and muted colours. :)

I've always bought open stock for the most part. Though I would love a full coloured pencil set sometime. :)

claydancer said...

This is a great suggestion. I mostly buy open stock also. But it would be fun to have an artists swap of all the things, colors, etc for stuff we might use more.

Anonymous said...

Same here, I am a big cool colors fan but not much into warm colors.

I bought a couple of colors of high quality markers made for the scrapbook market, when I tried my hand at drawing mandalas, a few weeks ago, I realize the difference between the high quality markers from the art store and the kids crayola markers I got from the stationery aisle at the grocery store, (I bought the marker for their cute zippered case). :)

Thanks for being an inspiration Biffybeans :)

Anniesartbook said...

Thank you, Stephanie!!! I'll look into it!

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