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Being an artist is a fulfilling and exciting experience. However, as wonderful as it is, it can also be expensive! Studio space, supplies, research; all of these things can really add up. And when you have a particular vision in mind, your budget can definitely get in the way.
On the other hand, art should be about creativity. There are no rules and there is definitely no one surefire way to accomplish your projects. If you’re concerned about collecting art materials and staying budget friendly, take matters into your own hands! This article will guide you on how to get supplies without breaking the bank or compromising your artistic vision.
Making sculptures truly has no limitations, especially if you’re exploring assemblage (assembling different objects to make one piece). One place that you should keep in mind is the thrift store. Although people often shop there for clothes, most second hand stores have sections for dishware, trinkets, jewelry, electronics, books; basically anything that you can imagine. If you’d rather not use objects around your home, go out and make use of other people’s old belongings. Not only will you be helping the planet, but you can truly find some gems!
This is also a great idea for sculptors who work on a larger scale. A trip to the junkyard will provide you with everything you need. For example, if you’re looking for a large base for your sculpture, old car parts like tires can be a good fit. You may have to do some cleaning up depending on the aesthetic you’re going for, but you’ll definitely save a lot of money.
If assemblage isn’t really your style, don’t worry! More traditional materials such as clay are easy to find at craft stores and are typically inexpensive. If you prefer plaster, ask a handyman in your life if they have any laying around the garage. Plaster is often used in construction and everyday wall repairs, so it should be easy to come by. The best part is, there’s no plaster that is made specifically for art; it’s multipurpose! You can find it for about 10$ at your local hardware store.
Photography can be a pricey hobby. Renting a camera rather than purchasing one is one way you can get around this, especially if you won’t be using it on a daily basis. You can also ask a friend if they’d like to buy one and share it with you.
Film photography is where things get expensive. Buying film rolls and processing them can put a dent in your bank account. If you use film for the look rather than the process, try switching to digital photography and focus on the editing. For example, let’s say you find an old point-and-shoot camera laying around the house from 2009. Today, these cameras are typically no more than 300$, which is significantly lower than a DSLR. Although the settings are automatic, you can use an editing program to get the film look that you desire.
Paint materials are all about trial and error. Of course, a higher price tag is usually indicative of higher quality . But if we’re being realistic, most of us can’t afford a 200$ brush set! That being said, you should still experiment. For one, synthetic makeup brushes are affordable, easy to find, and can work really well with paint. Don’t rule them out just because they’re labeled for makeup; a brush is a brush!
Canvases can also be quite pricey. If you’re open to it, try painting on unexpected objects. Grab an old t-shirt, a wood panel, anything really! Not only will this produce unique results, but you may create a whole new meaning to your work.
As for the paints themselves, try buying your most used colors and work with color mixing. You only need a few basic colors to create a wide range of tones. Not only will this save you money, but it’ll help you hone your color mixing skills. When all else fails, hit your nearest convenience store. Those 2-dollar acrylic paint kits may surprise you! Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it won’t work!
Finding affordable drawing materials is similar to finding affordable painting products. Do your best to explore different brands and surfaces. If you’d like to splurge on an expensive pastel kit for example, compromise and find a cheaper surface to work with. Don’t be scared to test things out!
Pencil kits can also be very expensive. Graphite, charcoal, colored; it can be a bit overwhelming. A good rule of thumb is quality over quantity. If you want to buy a couple of high quality pencils that you know will take your drawings to the next level, then go for it. You don’t need ten different graphite pencils to get the job done. As for colored pencils, the art market has a huge range of prices. An expensive kit doesn’t mean that it’ll produce the results you’re looking for. Give the underdog a chance and see what suits you best!