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Creativity for Beginners, Part Two

Other Tools That Are Nice to Have
(Or Why Artists Are Always Starving)

  1. Colored pencils

    For my own creative ventures, I tend to focus on using colored pencils. They are inexpensive, readily available, and easily portable. It doesn't take very much effort on your part to get a wide range of effects with them. In my opinion, if you're going to get these from Target or Wal-mart or their ilk, stick with Crayola. The colors in the other brands are not as vibrant and you'll just end up going back to get Crayolas anyway. Trust me, I've done this.

    The other brand that I like is Berol Prismacolors. These seem to be a universal artist's favorite. One advantage to these (besides the great color) is that if you don't want to buy a whole set, you can buy them individually. They also have a broader range of colors than Crayola. I think there are over 100 colors.
  2. Markers

    I don't have too much to say about markers. I don't use them very often because they dry up too quickly. For the most part, I don't think that they provide very good value for the money. When I do buy them, once again, I stick with Crayola. Markers are especially fun to use on slick, glossy paper, although you do have to wait a few seconds for them to dry. The artist SARK writes all of her books with markers, and the results are vibrant and playful.
  3. Stencils

    Here, I'm speaking primarily of those rulers with the different shapes cut out of them. There are literally thousands of other kinds, but for the most part, you're not going to need anything that elaborate. You'd be surprised at what kinds of fantasy creatures and cartoons you can create from basic shapes like circles, squares, and stars.
  4. Rubber stamps & stamp pads

    At one time, I had a whole bin full of these. I primarily used the Hero Arts stamps just because they are readily available. Rubber stamps are good for illustrating your journal when you don't have the time or the inclination to draw something yourself. You can also use them in conjunction with your own sketches. Some stamps can even serve as a starting point for creative writing. Stamps also help satisfy the urge to color or just to do something artsy. You can stamp an image and color it in less than 5 minutes.
  5. Stickers

    These have some of the same uses as rubber stamps, as they are good for adding visual interest on those days when all you want/can do is write.
  6. Aquarelles (Watercolor pencils)

    In terms of artistic bargins, these almost can't be beat. You get all the benefits of colored pencils with the added advantage of also being able to achieve watercolor effects. I happen to love watercolor paintings. With the pencils, you get more control of your picture. You want to make sure that you're using these on fairly thick paper, though.

There are literally thousands of other types of art supplies out there, and I can honestly say that I've tried them all at least once. I have even ground my own paint! However, most of those other supplies don't get nearly the workout as the stuff I've mentioned here. I think it's easy to get overwhelmed when you are trying to master pastels or brush markers and trying to learn to draw at the same time. I finally had to limit myself to the basics and the media I truly love so that I could concentrate on improving my "work". I can't say that I've made any monumental strides, but at least I'm not wasting money and junking up my house.

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