Tag: art supplies

Cheap Art Supply Challenge

Using cheap art supplies is nothing new to me and I never thought of it as much of a challenge, but then I came across the “Cheap Art Supply Challenge” on You Tube where artist try to create a good piece using cheap markers, watercolors and what not.

As someone who didn’t take her art seriously for years and years, I never felt comfortable spending extra on good professional art supplies and always tried to make it work with what I had. I used to paint watercolors on printer paper, I’ve made digital pieces in MS Paint, using the mouse… and now I’m making YouTube videos on my smart phone. I grew up in a very frugal environment, in times when there was either nothing available to buy or we could not afford it. So I became quite good at doing the best I can with the materials I already have available. While I’m trying to get out of this mindset and allow myself to expand to more professional materials, I still sometimes have troubles purchasing something I’m not entirely sure I’ll use a lot.

When I picked up watercolors again (as an adult), I resisted buying quality supplies, before I could prove to myself that I’m really interested and that “it isn’t just a phase”. Now 3 years later I’m still not using the top quality supplies, because I don’t paint every day, I don’t offer any watercolor paintings for sale and it just doesn’t feel justified yet. That being said I have tried quality paints, paper and brushes and know for a fact that quality art supplies are worth it. Switching from “whatever I can get my hands on” to “the real deal” feels so amazing, it’s almost as if the materials are drawing by themselves and I don’t need to do a thing! So there’s the upside to using non- professional, low quality materials, when you finally make the switch drawing feels so effortless!

It doesn’t always work that way of course, sometimes you need to re-learn how the new materials behave and interact. I would however recommend it to anyone, especially to beginners and people who are not sure whether a new interest will stick: hold on the big investments, try the more affordable options first!

Now I am finally moving away from the “cheap stuff”, so I’m not too eager to go back to it, but I thought it might be fun to do a “Cheap Art Supply Challenge” anyway. I didn’t buy anything especially for the challenge, because I don’t like buying stuff I know for sure I’m not going to need. Using old supplies I already have, on the other hand, felt like a bit of a cheat, since I know them already. So I tried to be creative and to pick up pens and markers, that would not even be considered “art supplies”, but maybe “office supplies”.

Mechanical pencil

Mine came in a package of 3 at Tiger (a local low price store) for 10 dkk (1,34 € | 1,5$).


Staedtler marker


Even cheaper! I got this one at a Startup Weekend event. Yay!


Talon Double Highlighters

(orange and green, yellow and purple, blue and pink)

10 dkk (1,34 € | 1,5$) at Normal (a local low price store).



(probably mixed media)

I’m fairly certain the paper I used is actually good quality, I got it from an art friend, who moved to a different country, so it was definitely “cheap” for me 🙂



The one thing on the list that is absolutely 100% , not even a little bit an art supply. Well, I guess one can argue about that, since it has been used in the creation of more art then probably any other art supply 😀 As for the price, I wouldn’t know, got it from my mom.


Daler Rowney round brush 4

Ok, this one is actual watercolor brush, because I couldn’t find anything that’s not a brush, but can be used as a brush. It was too big and my coffee was too watery to have a good control anyway, hope that makes it ok 🙂

Coffee Flower Girl

I was pretty sure I’ll nail this illustration, because what can go wrong? Well everything! I haven’t used most of these together and even though I made a quick test in the beginning, it didn’t stop me from messing up. As I actually expected the paper didn’t take the water al that well, but it was still working out pretty fine. It all went fairly well until I decided to go for a second layer of coffee to make the color deeper. That’s when I found out all my markers are neither water proof, nor resistent and they bled all over the place. I saved it as best I could, but the illustration is still a bit of a fail. It was still fun to draw and I learned from it. It makes me wonder what can I do now that I am aware of the reaction, probably all kinds of cool effects that I should go back and experiment with!



Do you sometimes use cheap art supplies or not even art supplies? What have you experimented with and what have you discovered? Share with me some cool ideas in the comments 😉

Fave fun!

Traditional art, new art supplies and video making

A week ago I started my Art History Challenge and it has been a really interesting and fun experience so far, but I think it will be best to talk about it after it is completed and I have the 30 illustrationsin front of me. Even thought the challenge is focused on producing digital illustration, I’m getting more and more interested in expanding my “traditional media horisonts”, something which only 5 years ago seemed like it will never happen.

After discovering the digital world and vector illustration I almost entirely withdrew from everything traditional, well except pencil and paper for doodling. All my finished pieces that I’d dare show to the world were made on the computer. I got terrified by the imperfection of traditional work and too addicted to the clean sleek look of vector graphics. It felt like there’s no way to hide or fix my mistakes, so I just avoided facing them by only working digitally. What I didn’t realize was, mistakes were still there. No computer program can hide gaps in knowledge of proportions, anatomy or perspective, even though it can make it much easier to fix or gloss over, once they are noticed.

As a self thought, I was always aware of the gaps in my knowledge and always stived to fill them whenever I found the time and means to do so. And one day I realized that part of it would be going “back to the basics”, back to the traditional media. It started gradually from pencil on paper, through pen on paper to rediscovering watercolors. I had signed up for a drawing basics class and one day before Christmas when only me and 2 others showed up for the class the teacher decided that we should do something different for a change and as a reward for our loyalty to his class. He introduced us to one of the coolest techniques I know of today: ink and watercolor (the class was focused only on pencil and pen techniques). It was pure magic and a love from a first sight! Next semester I signed up for an extra class in aquarelle basics and had some amazing time. Since then I’ve been developing my traditional skills, even at times (in 2015) was more focused on them and did nearly no digital work (except clients projects of course).

Today I can safely say I’m no longer scared of traditional media. There are materials like pastels or acrylic that I haven’t touched since I was a child and to be honest have no interest in going back to. I admit I should probably give them a try and be curious about all new things, but they just don’t excite me at all. At least I can say with clear conscious it’s just my lack of interest that’s stopping me from trying and not at all fear! There is however a medium from my childhood I’ve been dying to go back to: markers!

First time I heard about Copic Markers was during my Graphic design education, this was also the first time I got to try them. Unfortunately I only got to play with bunch of them (mostly grey scale ones) during class and since they were owned by the school, the teacher took them back in the end of the class. We were told that they are “the deal” and “a super cool tool for designers”. Back then my thoughts must have been something along the lines of “meh! why not just use a permanent marker”. I also remember being told they require special paper and a bunch of other special things… and on top of it all they cost a fortune, so I really didn’t think it was worth all the hurdle and dismissed it all as another pointless trend. [Kind of how I feel about Apple products, please don’t kill me with stones!]

A long time have passed since and in the last year or so I’ve been re-evaluating my feelings towards Copics. I’m not saying they are as amazing as everyone says, as I’ve never owned one, but I’ve come to the point where I wish I did, so so badly! The only thing stopping me is how expensive they actually are and I’m not sure I want to invest so much in something that I might end up not liking and not using. I am a person who evaluates almost every purchase quite critically and only buy things I have at least 85% certainty I’d use on at least a weekly basis.

Truth be told I have already reached the level of certainty I need, but every time I go to the store and am faced with the price, I stop and go back to evaluating. I’ve been also looking into more affordable alternatives, but so far I either didn’t see these as that much more affordable, or hated the feel of them when trying them in the shop.

So when last week I was at my art store again, looking for inspiration and drooling over the Copics, I’ve decided I’ll get some markers with brush tips to try them and if I use them often enough, I’ll finally get some Copics. To challenge creativity and save money I’ve only allowed myself 5 colors. What I ended up getting was actually colored brush pens rather then markers, but I’d say it’s close enough. They are by Faber- Castell and the color palette I selected for myself is: Light skin (114), Ice blue (148), Indanthrene blue (247), Dark chrome yellow (109) and Scarlet red (118). I also got two in black, because one can always use a black brush pen and Inktober is coming!

Another item of art supply I’ve been after has been the Prisma color pencils. I want to try them so bad, but none of my local art supply stores seem to have them, so instead I got a Stabilo pen, half red and half blue, I just love sketching in color!

I’ve been pretty happy with this fairly experimental for me purchase… well two of the brush pens are a bit lighter than I thought they were (the Light skin and Ice Blue), but I did try them at the store, so it was my own mistake. They remind me how clumsy I am with a brush pen and how much I need to practice, but I’m having a lot of fun playing around. Which brings me to my other current love and newly found pasion: video making, which deserves (and will get) a post of its own soon!


I wanted to make a video trying out my new art supplies, but at the same time I didn’t want to make just another basic process video. I want to create videos, which tell a story. I must admit this is rather ambitious desire when all you have to work with is the video recorder on your phone and absolutely no knowledge in video making, both production and post production- wise. I’m not a person who’s good at systematically learning the theoretical basis of a subject. If I’m ever to learn anything I must have a problem, so that learning happens in the process of solving that problem. Oh and that problem must excite me so much it won’t let me sleep at night! This is why I have my challenging visions of where I want my videos to be and I’ll either figure out how to make them come true by producing one crappy video every week until they start getting better (and will then continue to produce good videos…) or I’ll find out it was just a phase and I didn’t actually care for video production at all! Video making has been on my mind for quite a long time though, so I kind of believe (and secretly hope) that the first scenario will come true, but there’s only one way to find out!

Enough blabbering! Hope you’ll enjoy my first attempt at a story- telling video and my (I think) third attempt to draw with my new brush pens!