10 Hacks to Save Money as an Artist

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You need to make a hundred bad paintings before you make a good one. Better not run out of all the money you’ve got before making your 101st artwork. We all know that you need quality art supplies to produce quality art, which can cost you a buck.

Every growing artist is aware of this Catch-22 problem. You need money to make good art, and you get the money by selling your art. While the struggles of becoming a successful artist are an essential part of the art journey, there are always clever ways to overcome the obstacles in your path, and developing the right financial practices as an artist is one.

Here are the top ten hacks to save money as an artist.

1. Save Money on Canvases

Canvases take up a significant portion of your art budget. And it’s not a one-time investment. For every new work, you would be buying a fresh, pre-stretched, pre-primed canvas. This can cost you a fortune. But this is not at all necessary.

If you have the time, investing it in stretching your own canvases is a gratifying procedure. Stretching and priming your own painting surfaces helps you discover previously unexplored avenues of being an artist and will save you tons of money.

You can also reuse canvases by just flipping them around. You might be throwing away old used canvases you don’t need, but you can easily use the opposite side by priming them.

2. Make Your Own Colors

We don’t recommend artists use their paints frugally. Being a new artist, you might feel you’re wasting a lot of paint by squeezing out more than you need or having to redo a part of the painting. But these are all part of the art-creating process and don’t stress yourself over the paint on your waist.

We recommend you forget about what colors cost when you paint. Paint freely. This is no time to be economical. Trying to conserve your colors is a big hindrance in discovering your full potential.

But using paint frugally is not the only way to save money when it comes to paints. You can do that by making a wiser decision and buying the paint shades you need.

A lot of young artists stack upon dozens of hues and shades, some they will never use, just to have all the colors ready in their drawer for whenever they need them. But rather than spending so much on tubes of paints that you will hardly use once or twice a year, you could always create the perfect color you need by mixing your own colors.

You will need some practice and knowledge to mix the colors you want, but this is definitely something you want to learn as a growing artist. Not only do you save money as an artist, but it will also take you on a beautiful experimental journey to discover new shades you’ve never seen before.

All you need to get is big tubes of red, yellow, blue, white and black. The color theory states that red, yellow and blue are the primary colors used to make every other color. You can use white or black to add tints or shades. 

3. Develop Good Art Habits

Having a messed-up studio, leaving paint tubes open, and brushes standing in water can seem petty things but will cost you a lot in the long run. Building up good art habits will take some effort, but it will go a long way for you.

Clean up your studio, and you might even find one or two fresh paint tubes or brushes in the decluttering process. Carefully clean your brushes after using them, and preserve all your paints in a well-organized box. You should know how to design your art studio in a way that’s organized and tidy.

4. Use a Tube Wringer

Little drops make a mighty ocean. Getting the last few blobs of paint out of the tube is hard, but with a tube wringer, you can get every last drop out to use. Being able to use all the paint you buy makes a huge difference, especially when you’re working with quality paint. And you could also use it to get out the toothpaste on one of those days.

5. Loyal Customer Benefits

You could get a repeat buyer benefit if you always buy your art supplies from the same store. Ask the store if they have a similar plan for frequent customers.

Repeat buyer discounts are often given in the form of store credits which you can spend the next time you shop for art supplies in the same store.

6. Capitalize on Coupons

Big art supply companies and craft stores offer a lot of artist coupons. You can find dozens of coupons by just googling the name of the art supply company you prefer, along with “coupons.”

You can additionally sign up for all major art suppliers’ weekly or monthly newsletters and keep an eye out for coupons they’re offering. They are a great way to save on everything from pencils to paint thinner.

7. Join an Online Art Gallery

Traditional art exhibitions and galleries will cost you a lot. Moreover, the commission they charge for selling a work of art is a massive proportion of its total cost.

Joining an online art gallery will not only display your work for the whole world to see, but the commission tends to be at a pretty reasonable percentage as compared to conventional galleries.

Being able to sell your art effortlessly, display it for everyone on the internet to see, and receive the money you deserve can do wonders for your finances as an artist.

8. Search for Discounts and Coupons Before Buying

When you head to the art supply store to buy the stuff you need, it’s a good idea to do a quick Google search for any discounts or coupons that may be available for the products you need.

This might seem like a ditch attempt at saving money, but you will most often end up saving quite a bit.

9. Create Your Own Art Blog

Art blogs are a great way to display your work and earn free publicity. Like all long-term investments, creating an art blog will take time and effort initially, but will play a key role in your artistic success down the road.

10. Thrift Shop

Last but not least, thrift shopping can be the most satisfying art supply shopping experience you will ever have. From unused canvases, premium quality paintbrushes, easels to tons of picture frames, you can acquire all of these for little money in garage sales and second-hand shops. This is one of the many great ways to save money as an artist.

Keep an eye out for garage sales and visit thrift shops in your area often. You might as well stumble upon a great work of art selling for a few dimes.

Gary Rhode
Gary Rhode