A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art Supplies Online

Are you an artist looking for the best places to buy art supplies online? Whether you're an experienced creator or just starting out, we all want to make smart choices when investing in our artistic tools. Art supplies can often come with a hefty price tag, which is why it's crucial to conduct thorough research before making a purchase.

A collage of beautiful artwork by talented artists, alongside some art supplies

Artistry by Altenew | Premium Art Supplies and Materials

If you're searching for a comprehensive handbook on how to choose the best art stores online and how to save money on your art supplies, then you've come to the right place! Today, we'll delve into the essential factors to consider when getting art supplies and reveal the key qualities to seek in an online art supply store. By the end, you'll be buying art supplies like a pro in no time! 

How to Choose the Best Art Supplies That Money Can Buy

As artists, we all want to create beautiful outputs. Even though the primary purpose of art is to create and express, we still want to end up with stunning results as a testament to our effort and time put into each and every stroke, line, and color. This rings true, especially for professional artists who want their pieces to stand out in the art industry.  

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That's why if you want to reach the full potential of your artwork, it's essential to invest in high-quality art supplies. High-quality supplies will not only result in more beautiful projects, but they will also make the creation process easier. If you're wondering about the benefits of investing in premium art supplies, take a look at these advantages: 

  • Enhances Artistic Output: High-quality art supplies are crafted using superior materials and pigments, resulting in better color accuracy, vibrancy, and overall performance. This allows you to create more impactful artwork. 
  • Longevity and Durability: Artworks created with high-quality supplies are more likely to stand the test of time. High-quality painting materials are often formulated to be lightfast, meaning they resist fading or discoloration over time. This ensures that your artwork retains its original beauty and value for years to come.
  • Improved Techniques and Effects: When you buy professional art supplies, they provide better control, consistency, and responsiveness to your techniques. Whether it's smooth blending, crisp lines, or rich textures, quality supplies contribute to your ability to execute your vision more effectively.
  • Health and Safety: Cheaper or low-quality art supplies may contain toxic substances or have poor ventilation properties. Investing in reputable, high-quality materials reduces the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and ensures a safer working environment for you.

A beautiful alcohol marker artwork is easily created by the best art supplies online

High-Quality Alcohol Markers

  • Confidence and Satisfaction: If you're a beginner, you may think that only professional artists should invest in expensive materials. While there are starter kits available for you, using high-quality supplies can actually boost your confidence! This confidence translates into greater artistic expression and satisfaction with your final results.
  • Cost-Effectiveness in the Long Run: While high-quality art supplies may have a higher upfront cost, they are often more cost-effective in the long run. Their superior quality and longevity reduce the need for frequent replacements, ultimately saving you more money over time.
  • Professional Presentation: As mentioned earlier, if you aspire to showcase or sell your artwork, investing in high-quality supplies is crucial. Artworks created with premium materials are likelier to impress viewers and potential buyers, leading to better reception and recognition in the art community.

How to Know if an Art Supply Is Good Quality

From paints to pencils, how do you know if an art material is of good quality? When choosing your art products, here are some elements that can serve as your criteria to look for.

When It Comes to Painting Supplies:

Pigment Information

Look for clear and detailed pigment information on paint tubes or color labels. High-quality paints typically provide accurate pigment labeling and offer color swatch guides to help you pick out your needed colors. Additionally, premium paints should also have more solid components, with a higher percentage of pigment and less water. 

Two fashion sketches colored with the best alcohol markers available

Artist Markers Coffee Break Set

Paint Lightfastness and Permanence

Check if your paint specifies the lightfastness and permanence ratings. Lightfastness indicates the resistance to fading when exposed to light, while permanence refers to the material's longevity. Look for supplies that offer high ratings for both. 

Color Consistency and Intensity

High-quality paints should offer consistent color throughout different ranges and provide vibrant, saturated hues. This color consistency and intensity allow for predictable color mixing and layering. You wouldn't want to end up with a different shade of blue than the one you initially mixed in the middle of your painting, wouldn't you? 

Blendability and Texture

One thing we all love as artists is to create beautiful blends with our artwork. So if you're buying coloring mediums and paint, try to experiment with the material to assess its blending abilities and texture. Good-quality drawing materials, such as pencils or pastels, should be smooth and easy to blend, while paints should have a desirable flow with good spreading ability, depending on their base component (oil, water, or acrylic). 

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When It Comes to Art Tools and Surfaces:

Acid-Free and Archival Paper Quality

When buying paper for your artwork, such as drawing paper and watercolor paper, consider the paper's lightfastness and archival quality. Acid-free and archival-grade papers are designed to resist yellowing or deterioration over time, ensuring the longevity of your artwork. 

Durability of Art Tools

Assess the durability of tools such as brushes or palette knives. Quality brushes should have well-secured bristles that retain their shape and springiness. Palette knives should be sturdy and resistant to bending or breaking.

A beautiful watercolor painting of a woman

Painting Brush Quality 

If good paints then are a must, then great painting brushes are an even greater necessity! High-quality brushes don't easily shed, can hold a lot of paint, are easier to clean, and will apply more evenly on your surface. There are two types of painting brushes: natural hair and synthetic hair. Synthetic brushes are the best for water-based paints, and natural hair brushes work better with oil-based or alkyd-based paints. 

Read This Before Buying From an Art Supply Store Online

While most artists prefer buying in person, nothing beats the convenience of buying art supplies online. Sometimes, we're too busy to go out, and we immediately need to procure new supplies once they run out. This is where online art supplies become the savior of many artists. 

Nowadays, from the convenience of your home, you can now access a wide array of art supplies through reputable online retailers! However, if you're a beginner in the art world, knowing which brands to go for and which art supply stores to shop in can be daunting. If that's the case, refer to these guidelines on what to look for in an online art supply store: 

Go for the Ones With Good Brand Reputation

Research and choose art supply brands with a good reputation in the industry. Established brands often have a history of producing high-quality materials, and their products are more likely to meet professional standards. 

A good art supply brand should have an active social media presence, reputable websites, and expert resource pages. These trademarks of an established brand will help you avoid scams or illegitimate art websites. 

A stunning artwork painting of a native goddess colored with alcohol markers

Artist Markers Cool Summer Night Set

Read User Reviews and Recommendations

Seek out user reviews and recommendations from artists who have experience with the particular art supply you are interested in. Their insights can provide you with valuable information regarding performance, longevity, and overall satisfaction. Not only will these reviews help guide your purchasing decisions, but they will also give you tips about the products, as most reviews also include project photos and ways that artists have used the product. 

Compare the Products’ Prices and Value

 While price alone doesn't determine quality, excessively low-priced supplies may indicate compromised quality. Consider the price relative to the reputation and quality factors mentioned earlier to assess the overall value of the art supply.

A lovely silhouette artwork against a sunset

Fine Liner Pen Set

Buy From Brands With Good Customer Service

Let's face it: sometimes, we can encounter technical difficulties with products we purchase online. Whether it's super tight lids, broken containers, or refund concerns, these things happen whether we like it or not. That's why having customer service that gives prompt assistance in these kinds of situations is a must! Excellent customer service can make or break our experience with an art supply brand. 

So when shopping online, look for online art supply stores known for their excellent customer support, including responsive assistance, prompt shipping, and hassle-free returns. This is so you can say goodbye to worries and focus on what truly matters: your artistic endeavors!

Support Brands With Artist Community and Inspiration

In modern times, our online transactions with brands go beyond the simple buy and sell. Nowadays, brands offer more and more value as they foster more connections with their customers. In line with this value, you should look for an art brand that actively caters to the artistic community and offers their customers additional value with their purchases: blog posts, inspirational content, and tutorials on how to use products. 

There are art supply brands that create platforms where you can connect with fellow artists, share your work, and draw inspiration from others. After all, it's not just about buying supplies; it's about being part of a vibrant creative network. 

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A beautiful fashion sketch of a woman with a long green dress colored with alcohol markers

Artist Markers Tropical Forest Set

So that's it for our post on being a savvy art supply shopper! We hope you learned a lot and that this guide will give you the confidence to start shopping for art supplies online. Remember, investing in high-quality art supplies is always a good idea, and it's best to know your art supply brands first to make a well-informed decision! So, gear up for an exciting shopping experience and get shopping for the best art supplies available online! 

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