I am an artist. When I tell people that I am surprised by the reactions. The idea sends some folks into a panic. I think because the image of an artist in the mind is a stereotypical hipster-type person with slight body odor, who works in a cafe, writes poetry and looks exhausted from all the quasi-famous affiliations they have with the local arts scene.
Creating art is activating a part of the brain that goes beyond language and explanation and if you allow yourself to explore what that means for you (the individual) then you can begin to see how you express yourself.
There is a ton of art theory and I will not try to tackle all of those concepts in this post. Instead I offer you a more approachable breakdown.
Lets talk Supplies
First, you will need some money! I suggest spending $100 in an initial purchase. This may sound like a lot and it is.. but most art supplies will last you months even years worth of use so if you think about that $100 broken into 6 months then you are looking at $16 a month. Or you can spend $16 a month for 6 months so the $100 is not such a hit on your monthly budget.
Art paper is not cheap but it is not cheap performing. The best and most awesome thing to learn as an artist is to learn the different densities of paper. Once you begin to experience how different paper absorbs ink from markers and can handle a lot of erasing then you will understand why you are paying the extra bucks for the paper. I recommend a couple of brands and forms.
Neenah cardstock - cardstock is a great paper to start with because you can make all sorts of things with individual sheets. Cut into shapes, make cards, ink and draw or fold into 3-D shapes. Cardstock will run easily through a printer so you an print downloaded items and paint and draw on top of them.
Bristol 11 x 17 Poster size pad - It nice to branch out and go with a larger size paper just to allow yourself a bit more imagination in larger designs.
Moleskine Journal - this one is a little tough because this takes more commitment. The Moleskine art journal is a culture in and of itself. These notebooks are so easy to carry around and I treat each page with a shrine-like worship. Each page of my Moleskine is important and if I mess up a page I will take some gesso and paint over the mistake and create the page again.
Prismacolor Pencils - This is a brand that is just awesome! The pigment load in these pencils is very clearly better than other brands and using these pencils on heavier paper produces excellent results.
Ink is one of my favorite mediums to work with in that it performs well, surprises you with beauty, and is accessible. Ink contain pigment particles or dye particles and depending on the type of ink you buy it will behave differently. Ink is formulated by the manufacturer is perform a task. Printer ink is expected to dry immediately. Ink for artists dries slower.
Prismacolor Markers + Micron Pens - Prismacolor markers are alcohol markers and are high quality much like Copic markers. Alcohol markers are great at blending. Micron pens by Sakura are high quality Japanese ink pens made with an oil-based pigment ink. The oil-based pens make a dense black imprint and do not smear with other solutions. Water-based markers and alcohol markers will not react with oil.
Paint is similar to ink but contains more of a base to support the pigments and dyes. Oy! I am not an expert on paints but I DO know that artists distinguish between student paint and professional paints. If you are just starting out —- honestly I have had good experiences practicing with Target’s Hand Made craft paints. The basic black is very opaque and lasted me through several projects. And while you are on the shop page — pick up a basic brush set too!
Papermate ink pen, Crayola marker, color pencil, Micron, Prismacolor marker, and prismacolor color blending pencil on Bristol drawing pad.
Once you collect your supplies then I recommend a consecutive day challenge to commit to being an artist. Pick a time range like 30-days and pick a subject you really like .. like cats.. or cars or actors or anything! It really doesn’t matter because starting is the hardest part and guess what you don’t really need classes. You will find that your skill and your taste change over time and when your skills reach a peak then perhaps do some online lessons or take a class. It’s not necessary to take a class to start creating. Its an exciting journey!