Artist proves that basic school supplies work fine for making art

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Same applies to construction site debris, they give the materials away. I’ve been making furniture / gifts / and what nots from that stuff for years.


My only disagreement is in paper. While a No2 pencil is as good as any sketching pencil out there, paper matters. Notebook paper is just garbage. Give me a decent strathmore sketch paper anytime, or canson bristol board.


I resent how most art supplies are designed to pander to the worst affectations of amateur artists: the flimsy pochade box; the flowery font for faux-French product names; the precious sable brushes, etc.

Art is DIY. It’s innovation and improvisation.

Screw products. Make art with what you’ve got (and buy the rest at a hardware store for 1/4 the price). Or in the back-to-school aisle, like this talented fellow.


Use anything and anything, that’s the way.
High-end products won’t make any more of your talent than cheap materials. I’m far more interested in what an artist has to communicate than the materials they used; unless the specific materials are related to the art in question, obviously.

I work with all sorts of materials, physical and digital, but I’d echo @quorihunter above in that paper is more important than pencils. I also do makeup design, and for that medium the quality of the brushes is far more important than the makeup products used. You can borrow my pencil, but nobody touches my brushes :angry: :wink:


A highly skilled artist can use anything. Not surprising. Using school supplies is just extra-cute. I want to give him some Lisa Frank stickers.


You gotta start somewhere!

With a kit like this I’ve seen:
Carved erasers.
Carved pencils.
Pencil sculpture.
Graphite drawings that would blow your mind.
Origami creations
Paper objects made from recycled notebook paper.
Box art.
Flip books.
and more!

Basic art supplies are gateways to many things…


Meanwhile on the digital side - many times when I see something impressive it turns out it was done by someone with no particular skill using a purpose-built application.

Remember those wax pencils the teacher used to use on the overhead projector? My drawing was made with those on newsprint paper, the same stuff used for Big Chief notebook tablets.


I just hope that people don’t get the wrong idea and start thinking there’s no difference in quality of supplies. A good artist can make something cool with even mundane supplies but they also can make something even better with better supplies.
As a programmer, sure I can code something interesting in BASIC, but let me have freedom to use any language I want and I can make something far cooler.

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I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove. Materials that create a particular effect can be used to create a particular effect. Pencils are pencils. Although the paper has lines in it that undermine the work. But once you start getting into colors, you raise issues of pigment quality and lightfastness, durability, etc. Cheap paints can look flat and quickly fade or flake, etc. Paper that’s too acidic will yellow - looks great now maybe, but…
A number of artists in the '60s and '70s started using unconventional household materials to make art - only to have the work start literally disintegrating in a couple decades. So yeah, if you don’t mind your art being disposable, you can absolutely use whatever you want without consideration.


Juan Francisco Casas has been making absolutely stunning art with only Bic ballpoint pens.

(Some of his work is NSFW.)


this is the $100 bass vs $10000 bass all over again isn’t it?

  • at the low end, more money = easier to use
  • skill is more important than materials

Before I begin, I must say that I am not great at drawing, though I did spent a few years trying to get good at it in my teenage years. My experience with art really comes from music.
Having said that, artists can, and routinely do, make great art out of crap material. Found object art is basically this, not to mention collage.
High end material is a tool, a really expensive screwdriver won’t turn a screw tighter but it should last longer, and good paint and brushes should serve to make the task easier, not more creative.

I guess the only thing I question is that this needed proving.


Do whatever makes you happy, but personally, if I’m going to invest hours and hours into an artwork, it’s worth it to me to pay a little more for archival materials and tools that will maximize the effect I’m trying to achieve.


This is on my mind because last night I found myself sorting my art and drafting supplies left over from college. I found myself wondering if I could have spent less money on all of it without diminishing the quality of the experience. Mrs. Hungryjoe and I were broke as a joke at the time, after all. I’m sure I overspent on some items. However, a hugely important part of our first and second year was experimenting with different tools. Learning things like the way different types of instrument make marks on different types of paper. Learning when to use a marker, when to use a pencil, and how to use tools like gel pens to add highlights. How many days did we spend just learning to make a proper line with lead holder on trace paper? Those experiences matter.

I am in favor of anything that expands access to art. It’s helpful encouragement to let people know they can get started on a shoestring. But I hope people will also experiment and learn why there’s such a vast array of possible supplies and materials, and what those are good for.


And for that matter, I think all of us recognized in elementary school that not all #2 pencils are created equal, and not all paper is, either. When I was a kid we had those recycled paper notebooks that just came apart when you used your pencil eraser.


I agree. I sounded a bit extreme there.

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Ugh. I hated those #2s that had that “glossy” feel as you moved them across the paper. Coincidentally, they also sucked at creating enough black when filling in Scantron bubbles.


Getting the formula right for graphite ‘lead’ has involved a surprising amount of fiddling, historically; and the results are dreadful if you don’t get it right.

Possibly even worse with mechanical pencils, where bad lead invariably manages to be hard enough to tear at the paper without leaving any other mark; while brittle enough to snap all the time. Wooden jacketed pencil lead can also be abundantly awful; but the support provided by the wood masks some of the brittleness.