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    « Writing Box | Main | 365 Somethings #13-20 + bonus »

    Color Quandary | Buying Art Materials {No. 1}

    quan-da-ry [kwon-duh-ree, -dree]
    1. a state of perplexity or uncertainty, especially as to what to do; dilemma.

    {every so often I bring back some good posts... this is from August 2011}

    1. Prismacolor has 36 verithin colored pencils and 132 soft core colored pencils.
    2. Pitt artist pens come in 58 colors.
    3. Sakura Gelly rolls come in, well, lots of colors {All About Gellyrolls}.
    4. Winsor & Newton has 96 artist watercolors and 50 Cotman watercolors.
    5. There are about 85 colors of Golden Fluid Acrylics.
    6. There are 50 Caran D'Ache Neocolor I artist crayons and 126 Neocolor IIs.
    7. Liquitex has 94 colors of soft body acrylic paint.
    8. There are 32 colors of Golden acrylic glaze.
    9. 120 Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils.
    10. 24 Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Inks and 36 Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Liquid Watercolors.

    How do you decide what colors to buy?

    What if the choice is infinite but the budget is not?

    Where are you on the scale of curiosity to immersion?

    Analysis-paralysis. I spent a day figuring out which W&N watercolor half pans to buy to start a travel set. A day. I've over-analyzed lots of color choices in all sorts of mediums. 

    The first step is to figure out your level of interest. Are you experimenting with neocolors, curious about calligraphy, engaged in embroidery, addicted to art journaling? Quitting your day job and moving to Bolivia to study batik dying?

    When you are starting out and exploring, my suggestion is to get a small selection and play! You don't need to sweat out an analysis of the pros and cons of each color selection. You can add colors as you wish, and you don't get heavily invested if it turns out it wasn't your thing.

    Ways to go about choosing colors:

    1. Get colors you like. They don't have to "go" together like your living room sofa and your drapes. You can even get different colors in different mediums. Purely examples... {magenta - orange - yellow - turquoise - black} neocolors and {quinacridone crimson - hansa yellow - cobalt teal} fluid acrylics.

    2. Start With the Rainbow. Choose one pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, gray. Experiment with your custom "starter set."  No analysis. Any yellow you like will be OK. If you like it, you'll use it! Lemon? Mustard?

    3. Build Your Collection Slowly. As you draw + paint + play + experiment, you'll notice colors you wish you had. If you are constantly mixing magenta with white, put pastel pink on your wish list.

    5. Learn How to Mix Colors. Start with a small set of watercolors or acrylics and mix colors to create what you want to use. When I was trying to understand color mixing, I found the Color Mixing Bible very useful.

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    Reader Comments (7)

    Boy, did I need to read this today! I've gotten so caught up lately in hunting and gathering supplies that I have no time and little energy left to actually create! Thanks for being the voice of reason and helping me to put things into perspective. My DH thanks you too! :D

    08.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

    My thought stemming from some Theorem Stenciling using oils long ago was to start with a few really good primary colors of a good grade and then mix your own colors. As you progress and your budget progresses then you can add in more mixed colors. I think you then know better what you need from mixing your own. But this is only one thought. It is daunting to look at the numbers that you listed, so many lovely choices - how lucky are we?!!

    08.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

    PS - whoops that thought can only apply to paint, not markers etc..

    08.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

    Thanks for this post--I am looking forward to the next installment.

    I have been having this weird dream for weeks. In the dream, I am in an art supply store, looking for "something." I don't know what the something is--I just know I cannot find it, and the store is about to close, and panic sets in.

    This could have some meaning in my real life, as I am going thru a tough time. But your post reminded me of the strange...

    08.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandra L.

    Haha, the silly things we do and think about. But oh to be able to buy them all, what a dream, because I love art journaling, embroidery, painting, doodling, sketching, etc etc etc etc... ;-)

    01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenteriHanna

    Choices, choices, choices! Good advice. Not really related but just because I have that same palate, Roz Stendahl shows a way to get four (or five) more pans into the body of the case without putting them on the hinge. Here's a link with the a photo - - and I even added one more in the space of the water well. Just FYI. She doesn't actually use any W &: N - she uses a different watercolor with purer pigmentation (she just loves the palate), but I love their paint.

    {From Tammy}: Lizzie, I popped over to see Roz's palette. I can actually close my two palettes with half pans on the hinge if I am careful, but I will have to expand into the center if I get any more paints!

    01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie Bo

    Oh I truly do suffer from art supply analysis paralysis... especially when I arrive at the store, list in hand - only to find there are so many more options on the shelf than what I had considered. Or maybe the other options just 'look better' in the flesh, and my first preferences don't quite look so good.

    I also fall into the trap of not looking around - art supplies are not so easy to come by in my part of town, so I generally end up at the one an only expensive art supply store ... only to find (like I did today!) that a smaller sampler pack of the goods I am after is available in the local $2 shop!! Grrr....

    Am so glad to have bought the 10 pack of Caran D'Ache Neocolor II when I did because I am still in experimental stage, but I do find that the colors are limited. Now that I love them so much! lol.

    02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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