How can you cut the cost of art supplies?
A few years ago, the thought occurred to me that the most reliable way of making money out of art was by making money out of artists. Unfortunately, it seems as though we’ll always cough up money for materials, art supplies and ways to promote our work, regardless of whether or not we’ll make any profit from our work. That’s because of love – we love what we do, but that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to earn a living from it.
So what can you do to cut the costs of your art supplies?
Really, the biggest money-waster is tradition. Do you really need to work in the same materials that the ‘old masters’ used, or is that just something that will make you feel better about yourself and your work? Manufacturers know that slapping the name of a famous artist on some old tat is a great money-spinner, and not just for art.
I never work on canvas anymore because I hate the texture and the way it disrupts my fine detail. I prefer to prime sheets of thick watercolour paper and blocks of MDF – I’ve found what I like, and I make work I like.
So if you’re stuck on working in ways that you think are best simply because they’re traditional, you’ll be missing out on the staggering leaps that 21st century art has made. I don’t think anyone can afford to do that.
Make it Yourself
Gosh, the internet is your friend when it comes to making DIY versions of nearly everything. You just need to put in the time to dig for it! You’ll probably find that by taking the time to learn how to fake your own block printing ink, oil paints, or mixed media, you’ll enjoy the process more than if you’d bought something off-the-shelf.
Embrace A New Medium
Back in my first year of art college, my ceramics tutor gave us a great bit of advice for life after art school: if or when you find yourself in a position where you don’t have access to a wheel or a kiln, don’t just give up – keep making. Make anything! Draw, keep a sketchbook, record your ideas – just keep making your art in any way you can.
Turns out that I’m a better painter than I ever was a potter!
Use Gift Cards
Big art stores often issue gift cards which you can buy at a discount. I use Zeek to keep my eyes peeled for these, and I recently found some from Cass Art. If you use my referral code 2VYW7WVC you’ll get an extra £5 towards your spending via Zeek, and so will I.
Yes, it was gutting, but that was life back then. I needed it gone, and another artist got an amazing deal. Art schools, colleges and universities can often dispose of unneeded machinery on eBay (that’s where I found much of my studio equipment in the first place), so set up a custom search in your area and see what comes up.
|You wouldn’t believe how old some of these paints are.|
Think Before You Throw It Out
But having said that…
Can You Really Afford To Hoard?
Ask Other Artists
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