Grownups and Art Supplies

Grownups and Art Supplies…

In my blog post last week, Children and Art Supplies,  I talked about how important I thought it was to provide an abundance of art supplies to children in order to feed their creativity. Today, I going to talk about grownups and art supplies.

I have noticed four categories when it comes to artists and  art supplies…

First, there is the Striving Artist who buys tons of supplies. They can afford to buy that gorgeous drawing paper, the best watercolors, tubes of artist grade paints, the beautiful sketchbooks, etc. But…they don’t really use them very much. The supplies are so precious that they want to wait for the important project, that strike of inspiration, the perfect studio day.  The supplies are too good to be wasted, so they are never used. It’s like never using the good china and always eating off of paper plates when company comes.  

Next is the Stingy Artist. They buy the cheapest thing they can find. They do make art but the cheap materials can be frustrating because they fight with the materials and are often discouraged by the results.  

Then comes the Starving Artist. These are artists who truly have very little money. They want the best supplies but they are financially out of reach. Oftentimes, these artists are the most resourceful! These are the trash pickers, the assemblage makers, the collage artists, the mixed media artists. They create from whatever they have on hand. Scarcity often breeds creativity.

Finally there is the Satisfied Artist. They buy what they want and experiment with different products. What doesn’t serve them after a time is given away. Satisfied artists can have very spare studios or studios stuffed to the ceiling with materials. Either way, they use what they have and restock the inventory when needed. 

What camp do I fall into? I am split between the Stingy Artist and the Satisfied Artist. I tend to be stingy (My best friend calls me cheap but I prefer flinty!) It’s not so much that I feel I don’t deserve the supplies, but I don’t like wasting money. If I’m uncertain that I will actually use the supply, then I won’t buy it. Therefore, when inspiration strikes outside of the fiber category, I just have crappy materials at hand. Dried up watercolors, old acrylics, nasty gouache, short and stubby prismicolor pencils from college, old drawing pads. You get the picture. 

On the other hand, I’m great with buying really lovely yarns and fiber supplies when I see them. I buy fibers like a painter would buy tubes of paint and I indulge myself with only “Artist Grade” fiber supplies. I buy one or two gorgeous skeins at a time, so even when it’s very expensive, it’s not too hard on the pocketbook. I have amassed a really good inventory of many different colors, weights and kinds of fiber. I always keep a swatch with the label so I can resupply as needed. Although, usually one skein is plenty for whatever project I am working on. 

What kind of artist are you? Striving, Stingy, Satisfied or Starving? Do you think there are more categories to consider? 

I’ve decided that it might serve me well to restock my basic drawing and painting supplies so that I have good materials on hand when inspiration strikes. Christmas is coming up! I think unwrapping a new box of Prismacolor pencils from Santa might be just as delightful as opening a new box of Crayola crayons.

What do you  think? 

You can see Laura Morrison’s Art at