Artist Tip #16 – Why on earth did you buy that?

Have you ever stuffed your cart so full of art supplies, paid for them, lugged them 1000 clicks across an international border only to be strip searched for stolen erasers!

View to the left

OK, I did buy a few bags full of paper, pens and other artist sundries while visiting New York City in the Spring of 1994 and we did get stopped by the border patrol on our way back across into New Brunswick, Canada. We had to take everything out of the van and report all that we did, bought and drew upon. Sadly I’ve never returned to the United States since then. 14 years passes rapidly when one is consumed with Chron’s Disease, going into remission, getting married, then divorced, succumbing to addiction only to recover and have your boyfriend leave you. My god.

Whilst those 14 years of joy and agony were, I lugged around an accumulated arsenal of artist materials. I drug them from Fredericton to Saint John, Saint John to Fredericton and back again only to fly and mail them out to Vancouver for five years where I resided and began drawing solely with black and occasionally red ink. I swore off pencil all together thinking it an unnecessary time consuming evil that could be cut from the creative process all together. And I began painting extra large wall paintings to break the cycle of fear of going big.

I bought fat black pens, phat black pens, skinny black pens, no name brand black pens and ultra-fine-grip no slip tip permanent eat your heart out black pens. I bought them all. I tried them all until they ran dry. At one point I was averaging two to three pens per week. That is a lot of drawing and writing folks.

Why did I buy them?

How could you not buy something that makes you happy. How can you not buy a tool to help you find that means to an end. I found an answer while in Vancouver. I discovered two brands of pens that to this day are still my favorites; the Viscose based Pilot G-tec C4 pen and the Archival Micron Pen; each costing $5.

View to the right

For the next 14 years I plan to buy more black pens. In the near future I’m buying an Epson printer and then…


When you purchase a good quality artist supply it will not deteriorate over time with proper storage, use and care. If your art supplies are becoming goopy, yellowing or drying up perhaps you should invest in that $30 paint brush or that $45 sketchbook. This standard does not hold true for all supplies but I will tell you this, those bags of paper I bought in New York 14 years ago, today remain in the same condition as they were then.

Last Week’s Tip – The Truth Behind the Struggle

Next Week’s Tip – Did you mix enough of that color?

Picture credits – The two pics were captured from the windows of my studio; one to the left and one to the right

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Related Posts with Thumbnails

17 thoughts on “Artist Tip #16 – Why on earth did you buy that?”

  1. I will be lugging supplies tomorrow. I do travel with two little people. They sometimes help themselves to the candy isle. I always have to search them before we leave the store. They are 3 and 4 years old so when people watch me do this they smile. The older they get the less cute it will become:) Nice blog! I found you through etsy forums.

  2. Hi LSKcrochet – that is so cute that you have to search your children for sweets. I hope you had fun getting your supplies!

    Thanks for coming by :)

  3. Chief Brutus!

    I have to laugh. I will go over and check your art out on your blog because I am nice and you are my best commenter… next to Rahul!

  4. How can I be next to someone ?? That too.. Next to a fellow Indian…Thank you so much for visiting and praising my work… I am very glad you liked my work. And the yellow elephant that you’d mentioned in your comments is an Indian god… we worship the elephant head god, ‘Lord Ganesha’.

    Mein Tujhe Dekh Loonga…[I will see you soon – in Hindi (an Indian language)]

  5. I know what you mean about dragging art supplies around. I have a few that have followed me from Fredericton to Northern Ontario to SJ. I love the Microns too.

  6. Haha!!! Candice I would say it IS art! I’m going to have to go and check out the vehicle you are blasting away.

    I just purchased an archival printer… next will be an external hard drive.

  7. It’s on flickr… fixing a hole in the roof. Next is thin layers of bondo and sanding and bondo and sanding….

    (I explained it to my boyfriend like this. “Basically, you repeat that until your hands hurt from sanding, then you give up and go again the next day.” Hand-sanding comes out a lot prettier than air-sanding does, but I might try the air tools on it this time.)

  8. OMG!!! I can relate to hand sanding. It’s back breaking work but the results are so fabulous. I’ve been sanding plaster walls and ceilings with my Dad and Brother over at a centuries old house.

    bondo… hmmmm interesting.

    Air tools rock!!!

  9. Bondo may sound like some car-dude stuff, but it’s just a two-part epoxy. Which by virtue of the hardener, is usually pink. (You can get other colors but pink is the main one.) Looks like bubblegum.

Leave a Reply