Whether you’re an art student, hobby oil painter, or professional portrait artist, you know that art supplies can get very expensive. All art forms, from sculpture to performance art, require the right supplies. But in the art supply business, high quality supplies can very quickly become prohibitively expensive for students or anyone on a tight budget. Some artists choose to buy lower quality supplies to save money, but in most cases it’s possible to buy good quality paint, brushes, and other materials and still save money.
Start by shopping around and visiting as many art supply stores as possible. Some stores offer the lowest prices on one brand or specific material, and charge a much higher price for everything else. By buying your paint at the store that offers the best deal, and your canvas at a different store, you can save plenty on any kind of art supply. Include online stores in your searches. You may have to travel more to pick up supplies, but if you time your trips and buy enough to last for a few months, you will still end up saving money.
Take advantage of any coupons or sales offered by local art supply stores, even if you don’t need a specific supply at the time. Buying 10 tubes of high quality acrylic paint for the price of 3 tubes of bargain paint will save your hard earned cash, even if you already have a fully stocked paint supply. Most art supply stores send out coupons and sale announcements through the mail and email. When shopping, ask a sales associate if the store has a mailing list, and sign up if they do.
Finally, look for art supplies in unexpected places. Yard sales and thrift stores often have high quality unmarked canvas that come from people who took a painting class at a local community center and decided the hobby wasn’t for them. Although it can be tricky to find paints that aren’t dried out completely this way, you may be surprised at your luck. Frames for shows can be picked up for a fraction of their normal price, and mixed media artists are very familiar with salvaging interesting items for their art pieces.