Y LYNDSEY SANDS
I love to see the creativity that comes from other people when they create art, so I want to make sure more people have access to creativity. Of course there’s pencil and paper but it can seem expensive to try any other mediums or tools. Here are just a few ways to be an artist without breaking the bank:
If you want to try embroidery like me, you can go to basically any craft store or order materials online. I use the popular DMC brand embroidery floss which sells for different rates at different stores. At Walmart, I found floss for 50 cents while at Michaels and Hobby Lobby the same floss was 60 cents. You can also buy the floss in bulk rather than individual colors. Those, too, are less expensive at Walmart, at around $4 for 36 different colors. I also found an organizer to keep my floss in for $3.99 at Michaels, but I saw more at Walmart as well. The organizer I bought came with plastic bobbins to keep my floss on so it won’t get tangled. You’re also going to need embroidery hoops (I like the wooden ones) and small sewing needles.I found my DMC embroidery-specific embroidery needles at Walmart for about $2.50. So if you want to experiment with threading, I recommend shopping at Walmart and a craft store. All-in-all you can get 36 colors of floss, needles, a hoop, and an organizer for less than $15.
In June of last year, I was in Five Below when I got the idea to paint shoes. I had seen custom shoes online, but they were always from more expensive brands like Nike, Vans, and Converse. When I saw the $5 shoes that looked similar to slip on vans, I was super excited. I bought a pair and painted them for my friend’s birthday. I already had paint—an Artist’s Loft starter kit I had gotten off Amazon for $20—but when I need to restock I buy the small individual Craft Smart acrylic paints from Michaels or Walmart for about 50 cents or $1 each. In my humble opinion, you only need six colors: white, black, red, blue, yellow, and brown. If you have those six, you can mix them to create whatever other colors you want, to a certain extent. If you want, you can get paint thinner to make sure the paint on the shoes does not crack. Walmart and Target also have similarly priced white shoes in different styles that you can customize.
Thrift Store Projects:
If you’ve been on TikTok, you’ve probably seen today’s youth embrace secondhand wear. With embroidery, paint, and other materials, you can revamp clothing you find at a local thrift store. You can use bleach to imprint patterns and lighten coloring on jeans and t-shirts. You can embroider hats, jeans, or jean jackets you find. If you find any plain t-shirts or pants, you can use photo transfer paper to add your own special touches.
I have an old ipad (I think it’s the second or third generation), and while it wasn’t compatible with any of the good drawing apps, I downloaded a lower grade one that works well enough. It’s definitely not as sophisticated as Procreate or Photoshop, but it’s good for practice. You can find old ipads on eBay for less than $100. You can create digital art and post it on social media to attract attention to your art and people might pay to commission you.
These are only a few ways you can be creative without spending loads on art materials. The world is your canvas and I’d love to see how you use it. I want to see more Black and POC artists tell their stories going forward, so spread the word!
Black Artists on Instagram
I love @itajart has great tutorials
@theghettointrovert has a unique style that reminds me of the likes of the Boondocks
@indaviduallBlack Webcomics Naomi Osaka’s sister,
@ctrlyourself on Webtoon, story “Haine” just started January 29, 2021 @zealforart on Webtoon, completed story called “Late Bloomer”
@moosopp on Webtoon, ongoing story called “Daybreak”
Black Artists on Tiktok