When you’re starting out, just trying to find out where to buy all the art materials you’ll be needing can be a major chore. I think, as artists and crafters, we all need to have a place to just stroll the aisles and imagine what we could do with all the cool stuff. Kind of like bibliophiles have their bookstores and libraries, and fishermen have, um, streams.
So, when I go to buy my paints, pencils, paper, canvas, or other lovely art supplies, I usually try to go local. Luckily, I have a cool little join down the street from me called I’ve Been Framed. They have competitive prices and their staff is more “artsy” than some of the folks I’ve encountered at Blick or Michaels. Plus, I think it’s definitely important to try and support our local businesses whenever possible. It directly goes back into the community, and that is one little way we, as Americans, can start to improve our economy. But, that’s a spiel for another blog.
With that said, sometimes, you just gotta go to one of the “Big Box” stores and experience their MASSIVE selection of awe-inspiring art supply inventory. I usually will go to Dick Blick (I think they’re dropping the “Dick” from the beginning nowadays) whenever ‘I’ve Been Framed’ is closed (they close before I can get there after work), and I am blown away by all of their crafts ideas and the painting and drawing gear. I also love that I can satisfy my need for Smooth-On pourable foams and rubber when I do things like my fake severed head theater prop project.
Blick staff tends to be more of the art crowd, while Michaels tends to have more of a crafters’ flair – with art supplies, too.
I usually go to Michaels because they are closer to where I live in Portland than Blick is. I like both, but I like Blick the most because I tend to lean more toward arts than crafts–although I do both. That is, if I can’t make it in time to ‘I’ve Been Framed.”