Artists on a Budget – Tips to Save Money on Painting Supplies

Whether you paint with oils, watercolors, or acrylics, stocking up on paint supplies is expensive. It’s especially tempting when you discover new products or get lost in the art store with no strict plan in mind. Artists at any stage of the craft can suffer a big hit to their pocket once they run out of paint, canvas, or need to replace their budgets. But if you are careful, there are ways to cut these costs in half. These following tips will allow you to have the same creative freedom while also saving some money.

Be mindful of the supplies you already have.

One of the main reasons I used to spend so much money on art supplies was because I was wasteful with the things I already have. Taking care of your brushes will cut future costs. Make sure to wash your brushes thoroughly after use and to store them in a way that won’t ruin the bristles. Another way to ruin your brushes is to leave them in paint water for a long time. Not only does it ruin the wood on wooden brushes, it loosens the bristles on the brush or changes the shape. Only leave them in water for as long as you are going to use them for the day, then wash them and let them dry and store them.

Using up too much unnecessary paint can also become expensive. Try to estimate how much paint you really need at a time and study ways to mix the colors you need beforehand. This will help to mix the correct amount and not waste too much on trying to get enough color. If you are just starting to paint and need practice, buy a medium that will allow the paint to stay wait for longer while you finish your painting. It’s easy to misuse paint if you have not practiced or want to paint spontaneously, but reminding yourself to invest a little extra time in the process will be cheaper in the long run.

Invest in some gesso.

When I first started painting, I went through so many canvases painting things that I was unhappy with. Thankfully, my friend saw my stack of canvases and told me that I can reuse them if I bought some gesso. You just have to apply it over your canvas and now you have a brand new surface to paint on. Gesso can also be used on other surfaces such as wood and panels as a base for painting. This is a great way to recycle canvases and other materials that can be painted on. The price varies depending on the type you trying to purchase, but if you want to purchase a tub just to cover old canvases, it can be as cheap as $5 for 16 ounces. This investment will save you a lot of money on canvas.

Buy used supplies.

You can find used canvases and paint brushes that are still in good shape in garage sales and thrift stores. I have made some nice discoveries digging around at local thrift stores – from finding unused canvases for fifty cents, to paints and easels. Even if you purchase canvases that have been painted on, you can fix them with some gesso and save a couple of dollars. You might be able to find bulk items for sale on sites such as Craiglist or apps like OfferUp (just be a little more careful in the process). You’d be amazed on the things you can find for really low costs.

Buy online.

I have found that buying online always saves me more money than buying in person. My favorite site and the one I have found most affordable is Jerry’s Artarama. If you are comfortable or have the time to look for supplies in non-traditional stores, sites like Ebay or Amazon can save you a lot of cash. Another perk about buying online is that you can sign up for sales alerts and find coupon codes that can save you up to 50%.

Buy from the same store.

If online isn’t for you, or you want to get a better feel of the supplies you are purchasing, then try buying from the same store. Places such as Blick’s offer reward programs to loyal customers. You can get discounts and even free supplies with every purchase you make. If you are buying from a store, make sure to check the weekly ads or their website for coupons to save you a little more.

Buy in bulk amounts.

Buying larger tubs of paints or packs of paint brushes is a better investment than buying single paint brushes and smaller tubs. I like to buy big tubs of primary colors, such as white and black, because those are the ones that I can use to mix different colors. Buying packs of canvases is can also save you a couple of bucks per canvas. This only works if you are buying bulk amounts of supplies that you use consistently. Buying a big tub of dioxazine purple knowing that you are rarely going to use it might not be the best idea.

Buy sample paint from home improvement stores.

Tubs of sample paint are great to buy because they mix well with acrylics. They also cost as little as $3 for 8 ounces. I would not use the sample paints if you are working on a painting of high quality because the consistency can be a little off. But, if you want to practice or are good at mixing to make the consistency and lasting effect better, than it is a step in saving money while still having a good stock of supplies.

Combining these steps for your future purchases will save you hundreds or even a couple of thousand dollars a year. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Thanks for reading and have fun on your shopping adventures!

Meeting Other Artists

If you are like me and did not go to school for a field in art, it might be difficult to meet other artists. I live in Chicago, and while the city is drowning in artists, it might be an overwhelming process to connect with others in the industry. Whether it is to make friends or form creative partnerships, having the ability to mingle with artists can only help you in your work. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find the best ways to connect network with artists and found some ways that work for me.

Art festivals & Events

If you live in a big city, there should be plenty of opportunities to attend art festivals and events. It’s not only a great way to immerse yourself in different mediums, but you could potentially meet fellow artists and make future connections. I like to take business cards with my website and portfolio link on them so that I can share it with other artists. You never know the opportunities that can arise from these events.

The Americans for The Arts website has a long list of festivals and events going on nationwide. Check your local city for some festivals and exhibits you can attend.

Art classes & Workshops

Art classes and local workshops can offer a smaller, more relaxed setting to meet others in the industry. Because art classes can be expensive, it’s a good idea to look into your local workshops that offer lower costs and sometimes are free. offers opportunities to connect with local artists to have workshops, craft days, and other types of events for artists. It is a great resource to collaborate and learn with other artists, and many of the meet-ups are free or at a low charge.

Social Media

Another great way to chat, find events, and join workshops with other artists is through social media. Facebook’s ‘Events’ sections lines users up with events based on their likes and interests. I have attended many events through social media notifications. You can also find groups and pages of like-minded people and chat with them on anything art related. Sites such as Tumblr also offer meetups for artists. Groups are formed based on similar interests and people either meet up at coffee shops or local conventions. It’s a good start to makes these connections.


Volunteering is an opportunity to not only help your community, but meet people with similar interests. It’s also a good way to consistently interact with artists if the volunteering is a long-term project. The Huffpost created a list of the best places to find volunteering opportunities in your area. These sites offer opportunities based on interests and experience.

Friends of Friends

An easier and organic way of meeting artists in your area is to meet friends of friends. While your friends might not have the same love for art as you, they might know people that do. Ask your friends if they would no of anyone that would like to collaborate on a project or meet up to go to local events. It’s less intimidating if you are more introverted and can result in a good opportunity to immerse yourself in the art world.

I hope these tips help you in finding your crowd. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I will answer as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!

Why is art important?

Most of my friends and I share a similar love for art. It might not always be the same medium, but it gives us all an excuse to visit different shows, go to the museum of art store, and even have get togethers to talk about projects and life in general.

But I have my few select friends that, for a lack of a better word, dislike art. They do not understand why it is so important for us or for the world in general. Whenever I spend time with these friends, I often find myself asking myself the same questions. Why is art so important? How does it contribute to the world? Artists always have been challenged in proving their role in our society. While I cannot give a general answer as to why art is such a vital part of each individual life, I can give my views on how art has shaped our world.

Art provides a way to digest emotions.

Have you ever looked at a piece of art and felt something? Grief, joy, confusion? When we look at a painting we dissect what resonates with us and form emotions based on those connections.

Art provides an outlet for people to show how they feel and also to give others something to feel.  I find myself painting the most when I am sad or overwhelmed. I get so lost in the process that when I am done I no longer feel those intense emotions. It’s a big reason for why it’s used in many therapy sessions for people of all ages.

Art serves as a way to bring up social issues.

I used to work at an after-school program where most of the kids had a rough upbringing. They were kids that had issues with trust, with opening up to others, and with a lot of anger. When we expanded our art program, I saw the shift in how these kids treated the staff and even treated one another. They were able to create pieces that helped them bring up the issues that they were facing in the community or at home. It became a social movement for them.

I think this works for people of any ages. Art has served as a peaceful way to protest for human rights. I think it’s one of the most effective ways because you can show so much with it. For example, Kendrick Lamar brings up the violence and oppression that the black community still faces through his performances. These performances really portray that violence and grief without actually having to personally experience those things.

Art is fun.

How many of us have paintings of sculptures decorating our spaces because they’re cute or cool? Art does not always have to carry an intense meaning t

o it. It can be about creation and aesthetics. The music you dance to on weekends is art. The funky nightstand you have next to your bed is art. If we really think about it, we are constantly surrounded by some form of art. It’s important because it has shaped a lot of how we enjoy ourselves.

Art is business.

Becausart has shaped what people see as beautiful or trendy, it has become a big factor in any business. Architects are artists that are hired to build things that are nice to look at but are also functional. Lyricists are paid millions to create the next big hit. It is in most businesses that exist today. If we were to take art away from all businesses, our world would be left bland and uninspiring. Products such as furniture would not appeal as much to people. It would change how people look at everything.

world without art would be mundane and robotic. We would not know dance or music. We would not feel excitement to buy new clothes or decorate our homes. Art gives us something to look forward to.


So why is art important to you? Please leave your questions or comments below!

Thank you for reading!

Finding Inspiration – Tips for Artists That Feel Stuck

Art you an artist that feels stuck or unmotivated? We live in a world full of distractions. One minute you are planning out the details for your next big art project, the next minute you have an assignment due or your boss emails you about some deadlines. It is easy to get caught up in the daily routines of life and lose creative inspiration. Fortunately, there are always steps we can take to get back in the groove of things. If time is a constraint, you can start with small changes in your everyday flow.

Integrating art into your routine.

The first step to take to start focusing back on your art is to schedule it into your everyday life. If we are serious about our creative ventures, we have to prioritize them as much as work, school, or our social life. I usually carry a planner everywhere (mostly because I’m forgetful) but also because it helps me visualize everything that I want to do and allows me to give myself a timeline to complete those things. Ultimately, you have to treat you projects as if they were a homework assignment or a work project.


Many artists find that doodling helps them brainstorm and get back on track when it comes to their creativity. When I’m feeling uninspired, I like to doodle anything that comes into my head. It usually helps me shake away the funk and find new ideas. Doodling is also a good technique because it can be done almost anywhere: during your breaks at work, during class, or even on the bus ride home.

Or writing.

If you are not a doodler, carrying a journal around might be a better way of releasing stress and also brainstorming. Journaling is therapeutic because it helps to clear your head. It’s also convenient because you can carry your journal everywhere, write ideas down, or even sketch in it.

Finding a quiet spot.

Concentrating can be hard as it is, but what makes it more difficult is being surrounded by noise and movement. I used to pride myself in being able to work around a bunch of chatty people, until I realized how the quality of my work turned out. If you are trying to work, find a place that you can work in silence to eliminate distractions.

If for some reason there is no way you can find a quiet spot, pop in some headphones and listen to music that is calming. I usually listen to soft instrumentals because lyrics are also distracting.
Music can help your creative juices flow and provide a getaway from all the outside chaos.

Be present in the moment.

Stop what you are doing for five minutes. It is hard to focus on one thing when our brains are being bombarded by a million other things. Put away your phone, laptop, don’t login onto your social media, and relax.

I’m a big believe in meditating before being productive. Meditation does not have to be an everyday, elongated task. Even 5 minutes, 3 times a week can make a difference. You’ll notice that focusing on your environment now can inspire you with new ideas and help you feel prepared to think of new ones.

Surround yourself with creative minds

The phrase “you are who you hang out with” definitely applies to artists. If you are constantly hanging out with people that want to party, are unfocused, or a distraction, you will eventually internalize those habits. If you are hanging out with friends that like art, like discussing art, or collaborating on projects, it will become easier for you to work on your own project or even come up with new ones.

Set a coffee date with friends that are focused on growing and talk to them about your ideas. Ask them questions about how they can stay focused and how they have grown. If anything, use their stories of success and failure for your own drive.

Do not limit yourself to your own medium for ideas.

Whether you are a painter or a dancer, you can still find inspiration from other forms of art. Like previously mentioned, even listening to music can help you with new projects. My best ideas have come from going to different art shows, listening to music, and reading. Art is everywhere, you just have to find the types that inspire you.

These steps have all helped me in some way or another to become more productive and find inspiration. Once you follow these pointers, you will be be able to focus on your art and complete your next project.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave them below. I will get back to you as soon as possible!