cheap vs expensive art supplies
If you have ever wondered if getting better art supplies matter? Let's dig into the real facts about getting better art supplies. First of all I always recommend beginners to use the art supplies I list on my website . The reason is that these supplies are my favorites (and I have gone through a lot of over the years). These supplies I have found are great products for the price.
I don't buy the cheapest supplies because they are crap. Most cheap supplies and ones in big art kits don't contain enough pigment in their products and make art looked washed out. If you have ever purchased crayons or markers from the Dollar Store, you know what I'm talking about. If a company is selling supplies for cheap, it's because they are cutting corners on quality. This quality transfers into your artwork.
Have you ever watched the cheap vs. quality art supply challenges on Youtube? Artists can create amazing art with cheap art supplies. When talents is there, artists can create something great with anything really, even coffee and a napkin. So it doesn't really matter if you use cheap art supplies if your goal is to take a picture, throw it away, or just make a video about it. What you don't see is the art made with the cheap products fades, smudges, and won't last long. Quality art products matter if you want to make a quality product that you want to sell.
I'm aware that most of us live on a budget but going cheap may lead to frustration and I would rather pay a little more to stay happy creating. I have seen students who brought there own supplies to my art lessons, get frustrated when their cheap art supplies. If a student wants a great pigmented product that is easy to use, trying to make a cheap product perform the same, just leads to frustration. That's when I would usually get out my own supplies just so we could move on in the lesson happily. I want my students to succeed, so what I recommend as art supplies is going to do just that! The art supplies I recommend on my website are for beginners, but when you get past the beginner stages and your ready to sell your artwork it's time to invest in better art supplies.
If you want to splurge on art supplies, go do it! Will it make you a better artist, not really. Will it make you a happier artist, most likely. Better products make me happier and that's totally valid. I can easily get frustrated when products don't perform the way I know they should.
However I know plenty of artists and armatures that get fixated over what products to use. It isn't what will break or make their art, it's the artist behind the artwork that matters. Maybe a certain brand or brush makes them happy, that's how I am too. However, leave room for being open minded. For example many of the older generation of artists I met wouldn't accept water-mixable oils as real oil paints. After I explained they were a quality brand, made with oils and performed like oils, but were healthier to work with because I didn't need to use harsh chemicals, they thought the products I used were still sub-par. It still confuses me. If a product performs, it just does. Opinions and facts aren't the same, so I always say, keep an open mind for new products to enter your life. So what does happen when you buy cheap vs. expensive art supplies?
Brushes- Loose hairs that get into your artwork. The brushes I recommend don't lose hairs like the cheapest brushes, but they do get lose sometime.s I still love my cheap brushes. I have spendy brushes and still find myself going back to my inexpensive ones.
Paints/Markers/Colored Pencils- Less pigments that make art look washed out. You may even be able to see the small particles because they didn't take the time to grind them down enough. For acrylics cracking is a major problem with cheap paints. Markers, you will find problems with bleeding, drying out and running out of pigment really soon. Colored pencils won't sharpen without breaking every single freaken time! You go from a full pencil into a stump, buggers. You will also find that they break, crack, and the color doesn't spread smoothly on your surface.
Pastels- very powdery, messy and less rich. I always get the cheapest pastels I can because they do work well for students but the better quality the more buttery they get, the less messy, and oh they just are lovely. Make sure to spray it with a fixative or it smears...they all do.
Paper/Canvases- warped paper and canvases. Colored paper will having you scratching your head like where are the colors? Watercolor paper that is less than 140lb is going to warp, even that thickness warps on me occasionally. However I find that I can flatten it out so I recommend watercolor paper at 140lb for beginners because of the price. The more you pay the less warping and the better the watercolor takes to the paper. You also need to consider acid free or your painting will fade over time. Canvases can also warp because of the cheap wood. Warped canvases are throw outs, and what a waste of money. The canvas also isn't stretched tight which means more work restretching to salvage the artwork. I recommend canvas boards for beginners and to move up to quality when your ready to sell. At that point professionals should be painting on gallery quality.
When your using other mediums like inks, ceramics, glass and so on, I just stay away from kits. Kits are cheaper because they cut quality and I'm always disappointed in how much product I actually get. However the brands below you can save money with kits and still get quality.
I stick with brands I know and love because they have proven quality like Grumbacher, Winsor & Newton, Pebeo and Faber-Castell. I leave an open mind for more brands to win my heart.
So does quality supplies make you a better artists? No, but it does make for a better product. So I hope this helps you when considering what supplies you want to buy. The most important thing when making art is to have fun being creative!
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