Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Gift Guide: Amateur (Student) Artist

This challenge is harder than I thought. I envisioned it as sort of a major Christmas present that parents would give to their aspiring artist, probably a teenager or a preteen about to enter highschool. The supplies need to be good, easy to work with, fun, but also relatively inexpensive, since the total cost needs to come in under $100. None of the supplies should appear childish or overly amateur, nor should they be crummy, as bad supplies can discourage a student artist almost as fast as a lack of skills. I tried to think about the sort of supplies I would have been excited to receive as a teenager, but honestly, my standards then were quite low. A 40 pack of Crayola pencil colors was a windfall for me back then, and I bought my sketchbooks from Walmart.

The parameters for this challenge were that all supplies should come from one place, and if it's an online store, the shipping should be included in the total. I chose Dick Blick because I'm familiar with the store, both in person, and online. They're slow to ship, with things arriving in two to three weeks, which is unfortunate, as Christmas is around the corner. I would have chosen JetPens, but that list would have been entirely sequential artist specific, instead of generic aspiring artist.

I based my choses off my own expriences as an artist, and also around my own biases. No pastels (I hate pastels), acrylics are a bit neglected (not a fan of acrylics), watercolors get all the love I can spare (they're easy to use, easy to clean up, relatively inexpensive, and go a long long way. What's not to love?) I tried to pick sets whenever possible, mainly because it's cheaper that way, but also to give the young artist a decent selection.

If you are shopping for a special younger artist, I must insist that you don't do your shopping at the local Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Not only are the majority of art supplies embarassingly low grade, but they're vastly overpriced. While I was at UNO, the majority of my art supplies came from Michaels (the only art supply store open after Hurricane Katrina), and I was shocked today when I looked up Golden Acrylics (the brand I used in my undergrad) on Dick Blick for this post. Way, way cheaper online. Your buck can go a lot further (even including shipping) if you do your shopping online.

Anyway, I met this goal with five dollars to spare, and I'm pretty happy with this list.  It's taken me a lot of time to compile, and has required a lot of editing in order to make sure that all items were of good quality, and that the total would come under $100.  I wish I had a young artist in my life to gift a set like this to, I'd love to see his or her face upon opening it.

NOTE:  Prices have been rounded to nearest dollar, but I did my calculating on DickBlick.com, using my shipping address, so tax and shipping have been calculated for Georgia.  I've left enough wiggle room to ensure that it should ship nearly anywhere within the continental US.

All the Supplies a Beginner Needs, for Under $100 (shipped!)


Sketch

Pencils
Staedtler Non Photo Blue Pencil
$1
General's Sketchmate Set (includes Factis Eraser, Sanding Block, Pencil Sharpener, and Blending Tortillon)
$5

Erasers
Pentel Clic Eraser
$2

Drawing


Papers

Canson Combo Pack (Includes a mixed media sketchbook, which can be used for the experimentation of techniques in a variety of media, including acrylic and watercolor)
$14

Color



Watercolor

Raphael Watercolor Travel Pan Set
$19

White Gouache (highlights, and corrections when inking)
$2

Brushes:
Filbert, Size 1/4" 
$5

Blick Scholastic Sable Red Round
$8

Blick Scholastic Camel Hair Oval Wash
$4

Paper/Canvas
Strathmore Watercolor Pad, Tape Bound, 12 Sheets, 5 1/2x81/2"
$2

Pencil Color
Prismacolor Pencils set of 12
$11

Pen and Ink

Bombay India Ink (Black)
$3
Quill and Nib Cartooning Set
$8

Paper:
Bristol, 400 Series, 9"x12" (can also be used for cartooning, marker work, pencil color work, ect, very nice paper)
$6

Other supplies


Ruler

C-Thru Student Kit
$5

Sketchboard 15"x16"
$8

Now, for some photographic proof!




And if you want to save even more money, you could visit RetailMeNot, a coupon/savings code aggregator, and search for DickBlick.


So there you have it!  An impressive beginner's artist set for under $100 (shipped!) that beats the pants off most of those pre-packaged set.  I dare say that most artistic teenagers would be pretty pleased to get a set like this for Christmas.

Wordcount: 772

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