Are you a famous artist that paints for a living and has sold dozens of paintings? If you are, then quality in your art supplies is of utmost importance, but if you are a much lesser known artist, how important is the quality of your art supplies? If you go to the art supply store or search online, you will see a big difference in price in many of the different art supplies. You might see a 4 ounce tube of paint for $3 and another 4 ounce tube of paint for $15 dollars. What makes it cost so much more and should it matter to you?
Often the reason why paint costs more or less depends on how much of what ingredients are present in the paint. For example, if a tube of oil paint is made up mostly of low quality oil and little else, it will be cheaper. If it has a lower amount of oil, quite a bit more pigment, and more preservers of higher quality, meaning you get a better finish, it will cost more. The same goes for other art supplies such as acrylic paint or pastels. Another example is paintbrushes. Synthetic brushes are always much cheaper than brushes made of real animal hair.
When should you buy the good stuff and when is the cheap stuff okay? All of your art supplies, whether you are a beginner painter or an advanced artist, should have some amount of quality. Don’t use the plastic paintbrushes with black plastic bristles you find in kid art sets. They will not work well and they will only hinder your painting ability. Also, don’t necessarily use the cheapest paint you can find, make sure it is a good name meant for quality.
If you are a beginner, the quality of your supplies doesn’t have to be top notch. If you are a painter and most of what you do is messing around and practicing, buy the cheap acrylic. If you are advancing and looking to possibly sell your work, upgrade your paints. If you are a beginner who plans on moving up to a higher grade in the near future, don’t buy gallons of the cheap stuff, only buy what you need. If you buy 3 gallons of white paint and only use have a gallon, that’s a lot of wasted paint. Hopefully you can get your money back or sell it to someone else.
As you progress, you may start to notice the difference in quality of your supplies. Upgrade as you see necessary. As a beginner painter, synthetic brushes may suffice, but as you get better, you might see how much better animal hair brushes against the canvas. Use what works for you while keeping in mind the affordability factor and you will progress as an artist.