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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Building Your Studio, A Guide the Basics

Apart from the usual activities given an artist, growing your studio should be the the next important thing.  When I say growing the studio, I mean accumulating the supplies necessary to go about the task of creating artwork.  Most of the artists I know do not have large sums of money to buy all the equipment at once, so being a savvy shopper is crucial. 

When choosing supplies, always choose archival materials. These are paints, papers, canvases designed not to fade, crumble, or wear away. Usually Archival paints and papers aren't very much different in price than non archival paper, but are far better in material.   Additionally the better quality paints and paper are usually easier to work with, and produce a far more satisfying result. If you want to fill your coffers with excellent media, stick with professional quality paint, pastels, and pencils.  If money is an issue, most of the higher end products can be purchased on item at a time.  Typically you can find individual professional pastels, pencils, inks and paints at better art stores.  When bought one or two at a time, you will be surprised at how quickly your media supplies will fill out. 

Once you have a good base set of your chosen media, you can feel free to try the more inexpensive products. Some are very good, such as Academy watercolor paints, and many artist use a combination of both student and professional paints to good effect.  Keep in mind most student supplies do not have the concentration of pigment that higher end supplies.  It may seem counter-intuitive to buy the more expensive first, but having a good groundwork of quality materials will go a long way to boosting artistic achievement, and may even keep some artists from getting frustrated and giving up.  My own artwork improved by leaps and bounds once I began to upgrade my materials.  I can't imagine now using nothing but cheap materials. 

A list of supplies that would make a good start
Archival acid free, hand or mould made Arches, Strathmore both make good papers
Windsor and Newton Watercolors (tube) inexpensive yet professional quality
Strathmore drawing paper, or Bristol
12 drawing pencils of various hardness
Kneaded eraser
Rubber eraser
12 Prismacolor artist pencils. (excellent quality, come in smooth, and a harder "verithin" variety)
12 Unisom soft pastels
 Waterproof black Calligraphy Ink
Calligraphy pen with drawing nibs

The previous will give the budding artist a good start, and help you find the direction that you wish to take with your work.  

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