Shopping for Art Supplies: The Best Brands, Varieties, and Stores

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish

The sheer number of options in regards to brand, type, or quality, can be overwhelming. Hobby and art stores are so widespread, there's no limit to availability of supplies to anyone searching for tools for their craft. Understanding the difference between different types of supplies can help the artist chose the tools best for them.

Paints come in three basic varieties: acrylic, oil, and watercolour. These three options each have unique characteristics which influence the method of painting and the resulting artwork. As a beginning painter, acrylic is an excellent option as it is known for being fairly forgiving. Mistakes are easily covered up simply by waiting for the paint to dry, and painting over it. Even with lighter colours this is effective. The benefit of oil is that it dries very slowly and the artist has time to manipulate after it has been applied to the surface. However, this can also be a frustrating quality, in that some oil paints take days to dry. Oils are much more difficult to clean up than acrylics, which can be wiped away with soap and water. Watercolour is certainly the least forgiving of the three for fixing mess-ups. However, it is a cheaper method and a little bit goes a very long way.

Paintbrushes range in price according to quality of make, but for a beginning painter, cheaper brushes won't make much of a difference. A high quality brush has more bristles with split ends, for a smoother stroke and better paint retention. Bristles are made either of animal hair or synthetic materials. Natural bristles are only recommended for oil painting. Brush shapes include round, flat, fan, and mop. These each are selected based on the type of stroke desired by the painter. Beginners will find that many cheaper brands sell a variety pack of different shapes and sizes.

Canvases are available in most stores in a roll or stretched. Professional artists will stretch their own canvases for a custom size but for general purposes, stretched canvas is a simpler route. Linen canvases are longer-lasting and a smoother surface but are far more expensive than cotton, which work well with acrylic paints. Most canvases bought in an art supply store have already been primed and are ready to be painted by oil or acrylic. There are also watercolour canvases which are made of one hundred percent cotton with a special absorbent coating.

The yarn section at hobby stores typically stretches across three or four aisles. As crocheting and knitting has grown in popularity in the past few years, the options for these hobbies have grown as well. Materials for yarn are typically wool, fleece, rayon, and polyester. There are also specific designations for the weight or thickness of the yarn: lace, super fine, fine, light, medium, bulky, super bulky. Knitting and crochet needles range in size to match. Very thin or highly textured yarn is more difficult to work with as a beginner. The real variety comes in the colour options for yarn. There is even yarn which is colored to produce stripes when crocheted or knitted.

Not every artist finds an easel a necessary tool, but it certainly can bring ease to the creative process. The angle of the piece of art changes the light shed on it and this is very important to an artist. Some easels sit on top of the table, with an adjustable angle and slots that tighten on to the material to hold it secure. Larger a-frame models sit on the floor and can be worked at while standing or sitting on a stool. Wall-mount easels use the least amount of floor space and can still be easily tilted to any angle.

Art supplies today are accessible to the artist in everyone. The vastness of options shouldn't hold anyone back from exploring the world of art with Craft Arts

Report this article

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article