How to Recognize a Good Art Supplies Store
Art can be confusing for a beginner. First, you need to choose between all the mediums available, then pick the right supplies, learn how to actually do the thing you want to do, and the list goes on and on. As relaxing and productive as it may be, making art isn’t really a walk in the park. Sure, you will love the process of learning and I love that you’re already on your journey, but I’d like you to be prepared for all the challenges and curveballs this new hobby might throw at you.
Even for people who have been involved in the arts for a long time, it can get confusing sometimes, especially when products come into question. Just like with anything else, you’re an expert for as long as something new doesn’t show up, once it does, you need to go back to basics, try it out, and turn into your old expert self once again.
There are many online resources that can help you take the first steps toward becoming the artist you want to become, but once you’re already past the research phase and actual buying steps on stage, things can get a bit tricky. Where you get your art supplies can impact your experience with your new hobby a lot, so here are a few signs the art store you’re looking at is actually a good one.
It Is Well-Stocked
Good products live in good art supplies stores, so finding one is imperative.
Good art supplies stores are always the ones that are well-stocked. If you see half-empty shelves and products that look dusty and old you need to look somewhere else. Freshness is a huge factor when art supplies are in question, so trust me, you really don’t want any crusty pigments and dried out pens.
Walk inside and look around. Notice the whole mood of the store. Look at the walls. Are they decorated or are they plain? Can you recognize a lot of brand names? Can you see a variety of products all around? If so, chances are you’ve probably walked into a good art supply store.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to see everything, from canvases to sketchbooks to clay, to deem a store well-stocked. On the contrary, many stores that sell art materials can be specialized to serve a particular kind of art, so don’t get discouraged if you only see painting supplies or sculpting supplies.
If you do, chances are that the store is quite the expert on the specific branch and will offer a better service than most others that aren’t as focused on one type of art, even though that’s not a rule set in stone. One that is, though, is seeing a lot of products on the shelves and a lot of good reviews online.
It Carries Quality Products
This one will require a bunch of research on your part, but will still help you determine a good store from a bad one. As I said, you don’t want crusty pigments and dried out pens, so quality matters. When you’re new in the art world, you may not know which products are well-made and which aren’t, so Google can be a very good friend in this case. Research known brands and ask for recommendations from friends and people within the art community.
More often than not, you will find someone who will recommend something that will work for you. Once you get the hang of everything though you’re going to be able to pick and choose all by yourself. Still, even if something is super-popular it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily well-made. We’ve seen a lot of examples within different industries where a product is super-popular and everybody has it, even though other things may do the job a bit better.
To avoid getting trapped into this, I’d recommend going a bit deeper into what you’ll want to do and which supplies you’re going to need. Then, it’s time to really dig around, find examples online, or see if the store offers samples or examples of the particular products. This is always a good sign as it means that the store knows their stuff is good, so they’re confident you’re going to like it.
It also means that they really care about your art experience and don’t want you throwing money at things that just may not work out for you in the end. It’s all a process of trial and error, so you’re going to end up buying a few flops no matter what you do, but hey, that’s also part of the beauty of art!
They Have Informative & Friendly Employees
This one is crucial, especially when you’re a newbie. Having someone around that can guide you through the products and answer any questions you may have is worth gold when you’re starting out, so if a store has a friendly and well-informed employee you’ll know you’re in the right place.
Many art store employees are involved in the arts themselves so they’ll be able to offer expert and personal advice on most of the products you’re interested in. They’ll also be able to help you tell the high-quality products from the lower-quality ones, explain what the differences are, and what kind of experience both are going to give you.
This will save you a lot of research time, though I do recommend you still inform yourself at least a bit before venturing out to find the perfect arts and crafts store. Employees can also give you practical tips on different ways to use the products you’re interested in, which can help you grow as an artist and include you in the community, so don’t be afraid to chat them up! We all love to talk about the things we’re passionate about, so it’s going to go well – I promise!
If the store you’re considering checks at least two out of these three items, you’re good to go. Happy crafting!