Frugal Tips for Getting Started as an Artist

Frugal Tips for Getting Started as an Artist

Many artists struggle when they are first getting started – that’s where the term “starving artists” comes from. But just because you are an artist doesn’t mean that you have to be destitute. In fact, there are some simple things you can do to save money on art supplies as you begin your artistic career.

Why Are Art Supplies So Expensive?

If you go to a high-end art supply store, you shouldn’t be surprised to see paintbrushes with a $100 price tag. It may be true that you have to pay more for quality with most things, but what is it that makes art supplies so expensive? The cost of various art supplies varies depending on the materials from which they are made. For example, a paintbrush made with camel hair might cost $15 while the same brush made from sable hair could cost $150, or more.

You also have to take into account the fact that art supplies have a fairly limited market and certain supplies don’t have much of a shelf-life which prevents artists from buying in bulk. It is also a matter of preference – you might find that a certain brand of paint works best for your technique and you don’t have control over the price.

Tips for Saving Money on Art Supplies

Though you could certainly spend a small fortune on art supplies without buying out the entire store, most new artists don’t have an unlimited budget to work with. If you’re just getting started, do yourself a favor and follow some of these tips to save money on art supplies:

Choose an art supply store with a rewards or frequent buyer program.
Some art supply shops reward frequent shoppers or you might be able to get a discount just by providing your email address.

Mix your own colors.
You could buy paint for every color in the rainbow, but it’s going to get expensive fast. The more cost-effective option is to buy larger quantities of the primary colors and mix your own paints for each project.

Stretch your own canvas.
If you’re a painter, you know how expensive canvases can be – especially the larger ones. You may be able to save money by buying canvas and stretcher bars in bulk.

Take care of your supplies.
It is easy to destroy a good paintbrush or to let a tube of paint dry out but these simple mistakes can end up costing you. It’s worth it to take care of the supplies you have so you don’t have to waste money on replacements.

Try shopping online.
If you know exactly what you want, you may be able to find it at a cheaper price online than in an art supply shop.

Look for estate sales and garage sales.
You never know what you are going to find at an estate sale or a garage sale. Even if you don’t find any supplies you might find frames and other things that can be repurposed for artwork.

Being successful as an artist isn’t just about being “discovered”. You have to find a way to make your living by doing what you love and that means using your resources (including your money) responsibly. By following the tips above you can cut your costs for art supplies so you can focus on what really matters, making your artwork.

  1. Shaindel AranaShaindel Arana09-16-2017

    Thanks fo this article! My name is Shaindel and I am from Venezuela. In my country I attended grpahic design school and also I worked as one for years in different areas. I’ve always have artistic skills but now I am trying to turn this into my life style and life of the rewards of it. I need someone than can help me with the pricing. I am sort of lost with this precise part of the process. What would you suggest me to do? Thanks

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