I was a starving artist throughout school, working 2 to 3 jobs to afford school, supplies, and my apartment. When I finished school and started painting for myself all I could afford to buy was a sketchbook and some cheap hobby acrylics. I needed a cheaper alternative to canvas, so I worked on paper a lot. I asked for art supplies for every occasion. Birthday? Please buy me some new brushes! Christmas? I’d love some canvas!
The rest of the year I was still a starving artist, so I used my Michael’s 40% off coupons to buy my supplies. Canvas was lovely, but expensive. I never had more that $20.00 to spend so I bought small wood panels for $1.00 and plaques for $5.00 to paint on. They were excellent to practice collage, mixed media layers, and acrylic painting techniques. I built up many many layers with tissue paper because I really liked the texture it gave the background of my pieces.
Walnut Hollow has a lot of the super cheap craft plaques for $0.99 on Dick Blick. They measure around 5×7 so they fit in my tiny scanner, which also makes it easy to share my work online. And because they are less than a dollar you don’t have to worry about ruining a precious canvas with experiments! I also started using old book pages, coating them with gesso, and using those as a surface to paint on.
Other ideas for starving artist supplies:
- Paintings of insects using book covers as the canvas (lostateminor.com)
- 15 Gifts For the Artsy Gal – All Under $150 (fabsugar.com)
- Benefits of Making Your Own Paints (segmation.wordpress.com)