Penny-Pinching Artist – How to Save on Materials and Create Your Own

Most individuals know now that non-public funds can be getting tighter and tighter. All the pieces goes up in worth, together with artwork supplies. How are we to maintain portray, whether or not we’re promoting our work or not?

There are numerous methods through which prices could be stored down. This text goals to discover and discover out what a few of them are.

On-line Purchasing (and certainly offline).

At all times preserve an eye fixed open for low cost presents. If you are going to buy from numerous on-line suppliers as I do, you may be on their mailing lists. When reductions are operating, it’s a good time to purchase issues which are usually fairly costly, comparable to oil paints or very heavy-weight watercolour paper. In the event you can stretch your purse, contemplate bigger tubes of paint (like 200ml) particularly oils and significantly if they’re the costlier colors. The highest manufacturers will final for years (except you are portray big yacht-sail canvases).

eBay is value a punt, however notice that many sellers are very acutely aware of what issues usually go for and, though their costs could seem decrease, they then have so as to add the postage on. A tube of paint priced ¬£2 or so decrease than the norm could not show to be a lot of a saving by the point you’ve got paid ¬£three postage for that single merchandise. Having stated that, in the event you trawl often via the artwork provides sections, you may come throughout bargains. I as soon as bought a full set of Daler-Rowney pastel pencils for nearly half-price, just because the corporate had made alterations to the pastel formulation and had discontinued the present packing containers of pencils.

Equally, there are branded paints which are truly good high quality, however are usually not family names to the vast majority of individuals… these typically come up on the market and could be obtained with no competing bids just because most individuals aren’t conversant in them.

Grade of Paints.

In the event you promote your work, you will most likely choose artist-grade paint; however it isn’t uncommon to seek out skilled artists selecting sure student-grade colors for his or her work just because they just like the shade or the dealing with of the paint. Pupil grade paints from the massive names are typically good worth; particularly in acrylics, the place they typically are available in giant quantity.


Piles of canvases come from many locations within the East nowadays. You should buy entire packing containers of them at discounted costs from on-line suppliers, together with eBay.

The one factor I’d notice is the construct high quality. Many are OK; however some are poorly constructed. I’ve had “sq.” canvases wanting something however sq.. What occurs is that if one stretcher-bar is barely longer than the remainder, an ideal sq. or rectangle will not be obtained. The ensuing canvas appears to be like completely terrible when held on the wall and it isn’t match for function… even in the event you ARE a penny-pinching artist.

Dud canvas? Reduce off the canvas and use it to make a panel; or simply practise on. Higher nonetheless, put money into an entire roll of canvas. Costly outlay however you can minimize off precisely what you need, if you need, and put together it as you would like… and it might final you merely years.

Canvas Boards

One other solution to save is to make use of canvas-boards. A whole lot of skilled artists choose them. Canvas-boards are produced from compressed card overlaid with a correct sheet of first rate high quality canvas and glued in place. They final for years; I nonetheless have canvas-board work from the 1970’s and they’re completely nice.

You should buy packing containers of them from some on-line suppliers and eBay is not a foul place to look both.

And even cheaper…


Medium density fibreboard has discovered favour with many painters. Obtainable in a number of thicknesses, the 3mm and 4mm sizes show widespread. Simply minimize into any dimension (and form) that you really want, MDF wants sealing and priming earlier than use. You need to use a normal sealer adopted by a number of coats of acrylic gesso, with gentle sanding in between. Bear in mind the perimeters as nicely. In the event you minimize your personal, use a mud masks, MDF does create lots of flying particles.

Nonetheless, MDF is not fairly as steady as individuals assume. There’s a drawback typically with what is named substrate-induced discolouration (SID). There are some options on the artists’ market that may cope with this.

Conservation consultants are usually not satisfied concerning the long-term stability of MDF, however most of us are usually not essentially going to be portray masterpieces that must final for a number of hundred years. Correctly ready, MDF is ok. Some artists discover it’s too easy for his or her liking. It’s also possible to arrange a panel after which glue correct canvas round it; this may increasingly present the additional tooth that some choose.

And actually actually cheapskates…


You may paint oils on watercolour paper so long as you prime the floor first, acrylic gesso is right. This types a barrier, stopping (or actually delaying) destruction of the paper by the oils. Simply how lengthy it lasts for, I actually do not know however I’d counsel not producing too many masterpieces this manner; simply to be on the secure aspect. Acrylics on watercolour paper don’t trigger an issue.

There are actually particular papers accessible for oil-painting; these look identical to watercolour paper however have been specifically handled to deal with the damaging properties of oil-paint. They are not essentially low-cost per sheet… however… an entire sheet for six or seven kilos will minimize up into no matter dimension you need, and you will get a number of work surfaces in your cash.

I’m not certain about this one. The best hardboard is one with out oils in it (untempered) however I’ve no manner of telling one from the opposite. In the event you use it, sand the floor first, use SID therapy and provides a number of good coats of primer.

Try to use artists’ primers somewhat than these from a DIY store. I do know it is a penny-pinching article however these primers have fungicides and different chemical substances in that will react together with your paints.

Making your personal…

It’s attainable to make somewhat good panels by gluing sections of cotton shirts or previous bedsheets onto MDF or hardboard. Use pva or an acrylic medium to do the sticking. Wrap the fabric over the perimeters and repair to the again, earlier than including a primer to the floor.

Acrylics could be painted onto plastic surfaces, opening up many concepts for the usage of acrylic-sheet, perspex and different related supplies. Probably the greatest locations to trawl is, once more, eBay, search for offcuts or somebody promoting panels.

Different Media… Watercolour.

Good high quality watercolour paper could be expensive. So why not contemplate the light-weight papers comparable to 90lb? I’ve examine artists spreading water on each side of their 90lb paper and easily letting it stick flat—without any taping— to a really clear easy board comparable to formica or marble (an previous kitchen work-surface would most likely do). The sheet stays in place for a good size of time. Different individuals don’t tape it, however merely place bulldog-style clips to affix it to a board, permitting the paper to stretch, cockle after which dry once more with out fiddly taping.


There are alternatives for creating quite a lot of surfaces which can make you much less depending on “ready-done” papers.

Gritty or grainy papers are very fashionable right this moment for pastel work. You can also make your personal gritty surfaces utilizing a number of supplies plus a pot of pastel-primer paint. Strive utilizing the primer on mountboard (which is conveniently acid-free), or different thick card. There’s a pattern to utilizing MDF as nicely, painted and ready with a gritty primer. Even plastics and metallic will maintain a proprietary pastel-primer.

Alternatively, paint the surfaces with clear solid surface sheet gesso. This medium truly has a very good tooth and a few coats will most likely offer you all of the grip you want.

In the event you’re eager you should purchase a bag of four+ fine-grade pumice stone and blend it with white gesso, to color in your surfaces.

I’ve recognized individuals use sandpaper from the hardware store; sure it does work, however the paper will not be acid-free. Pastel is nonetheless a dry medium, so in the event you actually wish to be experimental then get your self a sheet or two of fine-grade sandpaper. Keep away from the rougher grades, the grain will eat your pastels in minutes.


The primary factor is that you’ll be able to discover methods of conserving your abilities alive when cash is a bit tight. In the event you can paint,… and even simply DRAW… throughout these occasions, you’ll have a set of labor able to promote when the darkish clouds draw away and issues enhance once more.

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