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”.
Mine came in a package of 3 at Tiger (a local low price store) for 10 dkk (1,34 € | 1,5$).
Even cheaper! I got this one at a Startup Weekend event. Yay!
Talon Double Highlighters
(orange and green, yellow and purple, blue and pink)
10 dkk (1,34 € | 1,5$) 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 🙂
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 😉