What? You accuse me of talking baloney? It's true and I can prove it! Let's consider acrylic paints, and put it to the test.
In my e-book I suggest buying 3 tubes of paint and 1 brush to accelerate the learning curve with less variables. So if a mother walked into an art store with my list and got artist grade supplies her bill would say:
Artist grade paints: 21.15
(8oz titanium white, 4.65oz ultramarine blue, and 4.65oz burnt sienna)
Artist grade brush: 12$
If she bought the same supplies in student grade her bill would say:
Student grade paints: (8.45oz titanium white, 4.05oz ultramarine blue, and 4.05oz burnt sienna) 13.17
Student grade brush: Set of six liquidex basics 5$
Now you're all yelling at me, "See Crystal, see she saved 15$, you were wrong!!" But is that the real comparison? No it isn't really.
What actually happens when a parent walks into the art store to buy paints:
Walks to the paint isle and doesn't look at artist quality paints because they're just for artists. Oh, what colors should I get? Look they have sets! (Does quick calculation) The sets are better value for my money! I'll get more paints for my money if I buy a set!
Hmm, we have a set of six 4oz bottles that's 16.59$, well it's all the primary colors so I guess that's good. Now what about the paint brushes... oh look there's sets too! There's a set for 5$... but, they look pretty cheap I could get ones like that at the dollar store! This set looks a little nicer 12$ okay that will do!
Then she leaves having spent 28.59. Almost the same as the other mom who gets the artist grade paints and paint brush suggested in my e-book. Ah, but the second woman came out with more, more paints and more brushes. So she did.
She came out with 24 oz of paint and a set of paintbrushes. So how did you do better by getting 16.55 oz of paint and one paint brush?
Simple, for almost the same price you got quality. Your budget is what it is, but you can choose to get a smaller quantity of higher quality supplies for the same price. Quality means it lasts longer, provides a more satisfying experience and delivers better results. Quality also brings with it appreciation and respect for the materials.
As for that $4.56 some of you are still trying to remind me about... no I didn't make a mistake on the math, I was getting to that. Lets think about that paint brush for a second. If you buy an artist grade paint brush and take care of it, it may literally last a lifetime. I still have one I got in high school.
So here's the math. You get one artist grade paintbrush that lasts at least 5yrs, during that time another mom gets 5 sets of student grade paint brushes (because the bristles keep falling out and her kids throw them out).
One artist grade paint brush for 12$
5 sets of student grade brushes for 12$ = 60$
So for the same price of replacing cheap supplies year after year you could have bought a set of artist quality brushes in the first place.
An example of this principle of quality saving money is my shoes. I have this nice pair of leather shoes my husband bought me when we were first married. They were not cheap, but 6 years later I'm still wearing them, they look almost as good as new, and I wear them all the time.
The advantages of quality artist grade paints are:
Higher concentration of pigment
This means that the colors will be more vibrant the whites will be more opaque and you will need a smaller quantity of paint to cover an area.
Higher permanence ratings:
This means the painting you paint today will be maintain it's colors years from now. For a beginner this may not matter, unless you go on to become a famous artist...
No extra fillers:
Student grade paints have fillers to stretch out the pigment which can dull the colors and make the whites somewhat transparent which is frustrating when you're trying to put in a highlight.
What about colors? I suggest just blue, orange-brown and white! Are you sacrificing color range to get quality paints? Yes you are, but it's not a major sacrifice. It's actually an advantage, nothing will improve a teen's paintings faster than ignoring colors. Value is what matters most in painting. The lights and darks of an image is what really makes a painting great. Without colors to worry about that essential skill will grow like Jack's beanstalk!
So now that you have quality materials how do you take care of them?
I made you a printable poster with the do's and don'ts of paint supplies: Maintain Paint Supplies.
What is one question you have about your teen's art supplies?
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“The minimum a homeschooler needs to get started painting with acrylics.”