Discount Art Supplies:

Paint Yourself into a Bargain

Artist at Work For Discount Art SuppliesDiscount Art Supplies For Artists

Let's hear it for discount art supplies, because everyone loves free, right?

Yeah well, I have some bad news: Nothing's free. Except maybe oxygen, and word is they're even working up possible price scales for that commodity on the global market.

Yet luckily for us artists, we can at least save some well-earned dough on our much needed artistic tools.

Dick Blick Art Materials has been in business since 1911. Once selling its discount art supplies through pamphlets and catalogs as well as at brick and mortar stores (yep, they do still exist!), Dick Blick now maintains a comprehensive website which offers everything from brushes to audiovisual equipment, books to ceramics, easels to educational materials.

The company also provides discounts on select products, as well as photos and videos illustrating those products. The only problem is that you really have to be a 'quick draw' to click on one of the many ever-changing banner ads that advertise these deals; otherwise, a great site.

Dick Blick offers online promotional deals almost daily, free lesson plans, free instructional videos on YouTube and have an inventory of 70,000 plus items. They are also known for their excellent customer service.

Girl Painting Who Loves Discounted Stuff!Girl Painting Who Loves Discounted Stuff!

Another longstanding force in the discount art supplies market, Jerry's Artarama has been selling these items since 1968; from acrylic paints to brush washers, easels to canvases, charcoal to fabric paints and erasers. And the dealer sells products not normally found in art stores, such as apparel and artist trading cards. Plus discounts and free drawing instruction videos are available; the only thing that seems to be missing is a comprehensive history of the company (Who is Jerry???) Overall, though, this is a very solid site.

Rex Art is a designated art supplies superstore; and it earns this title by offering everything from brushes to portfolios, easels to brushes, and even more obscure items like air filters and stretcher bars. From drafting and framing supplies to art instruction resources, the online shop pretty much has it all—and illustrates it all through vivid color photographs. The site boasts an inventory of more than 15,000 supplies, though it hasn't been around quite as long as the others mentioned. Rex Art has been in business for 16 years and seems to operate only online; still it seems like a top notch dealer worthy of consideration.

When one really, truly wants to buy discounted art supplies, they might—for some strange reason—be tempted to stop by a site called Discount Art. Get airbrushes, brushes, books, canvases, cutting materials, drafting equipment, art markers and pencils, plus less expected items like mailing tubes for artwork. The store, in fact, is part of a large office supply conglomerate; not exactly a family-owned business maintained by starving artists like us. Yet this place has been in business for 22 years and—as its name implies—offers deep and frequent discounts.

Art Supplies Warehouse is another excellent source of all things artistic, including brushes, palette knives and accessories, airbrush equipment, drawing pads, canvases, portfolios, etc. The website also offers many discounts and guarantees, plus more rare items like travel journals and Chinese calligraphy tools, and even backpacks and other equipment to facilitate outdoor painting. One thing the site doesn't have is a self-esteem problem; its claim to offer the world's finest art supplies might seem lofty to some. Overall, though, ASW does seem superior in quality.

Cheap Joe's Art Stuff has a great deal going for it, including a clever name, and a website that—despite this name—looks far from cheap. The website in fact is beautiful, as are the photos used to illustrate the items offered.

These products include all the needed supplies, including acrylic paints, art sets, brushes, colored wheels, colored pencils, etc; as well as unexpected novelties like Cheap Joe's gift cards and merchandise as well as greeting cards. The dealer also offers workshops and merchandise discounts in equal measure, as well as framing options and a customer service line; though a live chat option is not available 24/7, and no schedule is available to indicate when that line is open.

Joe's live chat is available M-F 9-5 est. It does say that on the chat window that opens. You are welcome to chat and ask questions. If outside of these hours you can email a CSR.

Still, Cheap Joe's ranks among the best discount art supply sites.

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