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Where Do You Draw The Line?

I'm Tammy and I have an art material.... issue. I love art materials. I love paper. And paint. And pens. And markers. And journals. And washi tape. But I cannot use all of the materials that I think would be cool to have. 

I deal with art material overload by choosing materials that I know I will use often or can be used in a bunch of different ways. I focus on core art materials {paint, paper, brushes, pencils, mediums}. Kinda like using source data instead of wikipedia. For example, I'm open to buying another half pan of watercolor paint because (a) it expands the color choices for my existing set, and (b) watercolors are open-ended in potential uses. But I wouldn't buy a stencil of a building because (a) it's of limited use. But I say focus because I'm not immune to impulse purchases.

The discussion question for today is...

How do you develop a sane art materials purchase strategy? With all of stuff available for the artist, where do you draw the line {pun intended} between what you buy and what you resist? And what is your weakness, something that you see as a splurge, but you don't regret. For me that might be washi tape. For others, that might be fabric or pens.

Where do you draw the line? Or is there no line?

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Reader Comments (22)

Over time I think my work has dictated the materials. I find I can resist a lot of things because my work has become more focused. The experimentation with materials is only when I think a pen or some collage scrap will add to the image.

This is a really great thing to post and think about. thanks :)

11.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie jean

Allow yourself to buy whatever you want BUT only buy one and in a colour you know you will use. If you love it, you'll know you love it and use it. Save up and when you 'run out' of the one you love, buy the set that you love most of the colours in, even if that means you only get the pack of 6.
I love inks. They're so versatile. Mix with medium to make 'paint', water to make watercolours, alcohol to make sprays, refil your markers with then, use a dip pen or brush... so many possibilities :)

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhomany

I love pens! I thought I had all I needed until I met someone with some of the coolest pens I've seen. Now I'm thinking I need more pens. :) That's ok though, I know I will use them all. I have to be careful with any new and clever tools. I tend to want everything but I have to seriously decide if I'll actually use it regularly. If not then I don't buy it.

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

When I feel the urge to splurge I try and focus on things I know I'll use, like paper or small cheap things, like dip pen nibs. I'd love to have an airbrush, but I'm not sure how often I'd use it and it's just too expensive to buy on an impulse. Also I have markers I don't use much, because they're not archival, but I bought a bunch second hand at auction for a fraction of the price. If I feel the urge to buy markers I just remember I have a bunch at home I don't use much.
I have a weakness for paper and inks, but books are the worst. I have tons of art books, I know they'll pay off in the end tho, as I learned most of my craft via books.

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterThaily

Great question Tammy! Usually, it is my budget drawing the line - most times I stick to the basics (paper, glue, paint) and I am not that easily drawn to new materials if I think I will not use them multiple times or if I have the feeling they can not be made 'mine' (kwim?) That said: I cannot resist pens and markers... ALL KIND! I can stay away from stores a long time, but if I have to go there for glue or paper, I ALWAYS come back with at least one pen/marker...

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarit

Great question. Difficult question. I find a have an obsession with paper. The way it looks and feels calls to me. It makes me sigh and then I don't want to use it because I'll never have it again. I'm working on that. I buy less paper these days. I did splurge during the Thanksgiving sales but that it for me for a long while.

I have a lot of ink. I'm not buying any more ink. I have enough to last me for years!! I recently went through my markers. I gave several to a friend who is new to stamping. It was nice to know they would go to a good home. I would love to have Copic markers but they are not in my price range right now and I don't need anymore markers.

I recently sorted through a few boxes of misc. art stuff. I made a box of things to sell at a yard sale or give away. Three friends stopped by and my box is 3/4 empty now. They were happy to have my old stuff as their new stuff.

I think a great idea would be to have an art supply swap meet. Bring your things and swap them for someone else's cast offs. If you knew a lot of people in the same area this would work well.

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBoo

Oh dear....this is such a great question. I struggle with restricting my art supply buying of books or products!! If there was a 12 step group to join for 'art-a-holics' , I would have to join!;-D I just love color of all kinds and in all sorts of mediums; watercolor, acrylics, pastels etc. Also papers, pens, markers, inks, and the beat goes on....I love it all! Some of the suggestions above are good ones...about buying one of something...but, I live in the UK and stuff is so expensive here that I save my art shopping for when I return to the US for Xmas or other holidays. Guess where I will be at Xmas? You guessed it....this year I am taking my Dick Blick 'wish list' with me....anyone know any other places to buy great stuff and good prices? I know about Jerrys Artarama and Michaels...any other suggestions? Happy Art-ing everyone!!

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana

I guess that depends on what part of the country, Duana. JoAnn Arts and Crafts has a good selection in some cities. Plaza Arts is also great if you are going to be near one. Gary Burlin & Co. has a ton of stuff but I don't know if he sells retail. I purchased from him when I owned my stamp store.

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBoo

Thanks Boo, I will have to look up on Goggle to see if the places you mentioned are in the cities where we will be. I haven't heard of Plaza Arts or Gary Burlin & Co....I will definitely check them out. We will be in New York, Austin, Texas and Missippi....a rather eclectic group of places due to relatives being scattered out and around! Again, thanks for the information!

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana

Right now, I find it is my classes that are leading me astray. Each instructor has their favorite products that they go to. I end up buying new materials to complete the lessons. Also, as I haven't really found my personal niche and style artistically, I am doing a lot of experimentation. I am hoping this will change when I find my groove. :-) I do try to limit my spending by only buying a small sample of a new medium. I can expand later if I really enjoy using it.

11.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKris

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