Supplies [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Supplies

07-29-2016, 06:37 AM
I have a question, but I'm not looking for the obvious answer that I know will be at the tip of most people's tongue - if I might explain more.

It would be an obvious answer to say that one should use professional grade supplies when creating art which they hope to eventually sell - be it paints, papers, pencils, inks, etc. But it seems often times, it's amateurs who get more caught up in the set-in-stone ways that things must be done, and the professionals who break those rules and are thus applauded. It could be people who say that you can't use an iPhone or Polaroid to create professional images, and then you'll have someone(s) exhibit who used one of those exclusively. Same with any other visual artist.

So I'm seriously wondering, for all the countless articles or posts I have come across that demands an artist must use higher end paints, higher end paper, higher end pencils/pastels/crayons, and all of that stuff - is that literally the only choice? Is it not possible nor feasible that an artist could go to the dollar store and buy construction paper, pastels, paints, cardboard, coloured tape, etc - and use that for their project.

I can search around on Artsy and find all sorts of mixed media items, and all sorts of materials pop up such as lined notebook paper, newspaper, and other items that they don't sell in art supply shops as professional grade. I feel like if a professional artist wanted to make whatever they decided on with whatever materials they choose to use, regardless of whether they were the most expensive or the cheapest, junk they could buy - if the art was interesting and fitting of their style/brand, people would still applaud it. Am I wrong?

Susan Mulno
07-29-2016, 07:48 AM
It is both. A true artist can make anything look good. One of my best works years ago was in crayons!

What you get with better quality is usually easier coverage and durability, the artist quality mediums are light fast and artist papers etc.. are acid free.

Hope this helps.

Welcome to the forum!

07-29-2016, 08:01 AM
Hello Dots.

I am specifically amateur and don't paint to sell, so maybe others have different views. I paint a lot in watercolour ( so no clue on oils, accrylics, canvasses etc) and don't own anything you would call expensive. ( I have a box of 24 graphite pencils of various hardness that my daughter paid 20 for as a present and that probably the most expensive single item I own) I use 300 gsm cold pressed paper, 12" x 9" mainly and pay 3 for 12 sheets here in England. That's very cheap and I use a lot of that. ( These pads are decidedly the cheap end as the same thing in bigger Craft or Stationers can cost more than double that, sometimes even more. You can buy thinner stuff but I use 300 gsm which is almost card, and don't want less) I have a load of brushes bought in sets (many I won't ever use) and a whole box full of tube paints all bought cheaply, some that have fossilised. My favourite brush is so old it has the makers name in Aramaic on it and my paint box is plastic. (-:

All that said, if you want top branded stuff then you get what you pay for. My sketch books are mainly 130 gsm minimum and I use loads of them. The only thing I would say as a rule/standard (I don't believe in rules in creating, just do your own thing) is try various items and decide what suits you best. One man's meat..etc. Good luck in deciding.


07-29-2016, 08:23 AM
Thanks Susan and Desdichado. Appreciate both of your opinions.

My question really just comes from a place of curiosity, more than anything else. Not just from the art world, but from any time I read or hear the majority say "it has to be done this way" or "that way will never work." Amateur photogs argue over full frame vs cropped frame censored cameras. Artists over grade quality of supplies. With regard to art supplies, I can see and feel the difference with certain items (papers, paints, etc).

My question wasn't due to financial comparison, such as construction paper that is $1 for 50 sheets vs cold-pressed, acid free, 350gsm construction paper that is $12 for 12 sheets (just an example). Though that could certainly be an issue, too. But if I read enough articles from legitimate art sites, journals, etc which touted that you have to use artist grade items, it begins to clog my brain with that being the only thing you can use. And then seeing Artsy, which I love looking at, and seeing cool pieces using like literally everything under the rainbow - glass, plastic, metal, magazine clippings, newspaper clippings, magic markers, sharpies, etc - it makes me wonder why I would allow my creativity to be stifled.

Anyway, thanks to both of you.