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!