Research your community

Art, Blog

Call me SpongeBob.  Over the past several months I’ve been sucking up information on resources and techniques from other artist friends who have been doing what I hope to be doing soon.  Making and selling their art.

I’ve never wanted to have others dictate what I am supposed to draw.  Drawing has always been a very personal thing for me.  I didn’t want to be paid for art on demand.  After 11 years in the graphic design field I didn’t want to be under those same types of demands for my artwork.  Instead I only did my art when I was “inspired”.  As a result, I ended up doing little to no art for many years.  Anyway, I digress.

Since getting back into my art groove, I’ve been listening to the resources where my fellow artists are getting things done.  Where they have been getting art supplies, and hearing about their local print shops and how they have taken advantage of their local resources.

I’ve taken advantage of a couple of resources here in the Lansing, Michigan area.  Since taking my oil painting course with Larry Elmore this fall, I found some of the advantages of working on Masonite board instead of stretched canvas.  First off, it’s so much cheaper than stretched canvas.  Second, you don’t need to play with that spring a stretched canvas has when you are painting onto it.  This brings me to my first local resource.  LOWES.  Yup, Lowes hardware.  This is where I bought my masonite.  A sheet of 4′ x 8′ was only $8.97.  An employee assisted me and cut two sheets of it into 18 x 24″ panels.  I have about twenty cut and ready to be primed.  Pretty sweet deal, or at least I think so.  I think I have enough 18×24 boards for the rest of the year.

The second local resource took a bit of research.  I have a scanner/printer at home.  I thought I might be limited to a maximum size of 9″x12″ to scan in my artwork as this is the largest size for it’s screen.  I know there had to be resources out there for artists to scan in their work and get it on a digital file for reproduction.  I just didn’t know where.  I first called a business I used to do work with when I worked for Kinko’s many years ago.  They specialized in prints for museums, air photos, ect.  They were still in business and the guy I used to work with was running the business.  He couldn’t help me but gave me two other print shops to call.  I went online and checked the first one, their maximum scanner size was the same as mine.  So I checked with this third company.  Score!  It was Commercial Blueprint.  They had moved their office, but they said they could work with my drawings, inks, or paintings.  I asked about the masonite board, and they said they could do that as well.  Relatively cheaply too.  $15 per scan and if I provide my flash drive $5 additional.  If I want it on a CD then it’s a $10.

So this brings me to my point.  Know your local resources in your community.  It may be a while before I can afford an oversize printer.  Knowing who can make the things I want for a decent price is important.  Now it doesn’t matter where you live.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  Make some calls and search the internet for your community resources.  If you know other artists, ask them.  Listen their advice.  There are enough lessons in life and techniques to master.  Take advantage of the wisdom and resources that others have already tried.

And a special shout out to Larry Elmore, Aradani Studios (Mike and Paul), and Tony Smith.  You are all awesome!  Check out their work, and if you get a chance to chat em up at a convention you won’t be disappointed.

Larry Elmore teaching perspective

Larry Elmore teaching perspective

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