Looking for fun & forgiving art supplies
September 22, 2016 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I’d like to get some art supplies to help me decompress after work. What are some fun, forgiving tools for someone with only a modicum of talent and technique?

I don’t want anything that requires a paint brush. No pencils, colored or otherwise, and no pastels either.

However, I’ve been reading about brush pens which produce neat effects with seemingly little technique. Are there other supplies you’d recommend along the same lines?

I’m hoping to walk out of the art store this weekend with some exciting supplies, including some that I never even knew existed. Let’s say my budget for an initial visit is $100.
posted by cathycartoon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Alcohol ink! It's something my BFF just did at a weekend retreat, and it's freeform and sloppy and fun.
posted by xingcat at 11:52 AM on September 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

cross stitching is pretty forgiving (but can be slow work)! Embroidery!
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:55 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Marbling with enamel? You buy a few colors of enamel paints, dribble them into a basin of water, and lay a piece of paper down and slowly lift it off. Voila, marbled paper! You can also use pins and bamboo skewers to swirl and create different designs.
posted by ananci at 12:06 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Metal embossing

The demo in the video starts with die cut stencils but you could absolutely freehand it. Here's a similar tutorial but using foil tape on a metal tin.

It's a slippery slope from there into chasing and repousee on thicker gauge metal, just as a warning.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:10 PM on September 22, 2016

posted by porpoise at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

does baking small and super fancy pastry counts as a craft and art?
Make them small 1"-1.5" each: it will garantee cuteness, much easier cleanup, can afford fancy ingredients, less risk to gain weight. Actually, you don't even have to make them sweet if you wish.
I am saying it as a professional artist. I think that tactile feeling of fine pastry making is very close to art materials, and very decompressing for me.
Also, you'll avoid big problem of many people: what to do with accumulating art?
People would always love your art!

Otherwise, I like these brush pens very much. They might go well with coloring books for grown up, I see them lately in art and book stores and online.
Embroidery is beautiful, too!
posted by Oli D. at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2016

I've always liked to do collage. Just the old magazines, scissors (or single edge razor blades and glue.
Altered books look fun too.
posted by BoscosMom at 4:13 PM on September 22, 2016

Buddha Board, you can make your own. Wonderfully decompressing.
posted by saucysault at 5:51 PM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Scratch boards and scratch paper are fun and easy. You scratch away the black surface to reveal white or colored underpainting.
posted by jenmakes at 6:27 PM on September 22, 2016

I love collage, crayons, embroidery, and combining these things.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:35 PM on September 22, 2016

This is a great question to ask at the art supply store--a real art supply store, not a Michael's. Most art store employees are artists of some sort and have deep knowledge of their own media, but also of what's in the store.

Calligraphy is a possibility and somewhat related to brush pens. Beginning supplies would be significantly less than $100.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 9:01 PM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Spirographs! I'm quite disheartened by their marketing to children only -- they produce some of the coolest patterns ever.

Also, origami. With the internet, origami instructions are now much better than "fold this thing that way over the dotted line like this". If you find spirograph pictures interesting then you'd probably find many-piece geometric origami shapes aesthetically nice/easy as well. I'm not super into swans and stuff -- but you can also make, for example, this thing.

Have fun!
posted by miniraptor at 9:52 AM on September 23, 2016

I hear you about no brushes, and I apologize these suggestions are inappropriate given your preferences, but since you mentioned brush pens, I just have to mention water brushes. I like to do a bit of art for relaxation, and I always resisted watercolors because it seemed like too much cleanup. Then I discovered water brushes - and I can paint with what feels like zero cleanup. You can try blending color right on the page, wet or dry. You can add a touch of color to your marker drawings. When I'm done, I just paint water onto old junk mail until the water in the waterbrush runs clear (usually 5-10 strokes) and put it away. No washing brushes, no worrying about knocking over my water jar.

And water brushes with watercolor pencils are also amazing. You can paint a little water onto the pencil tip and draw with vibrant bright color, or you can paint some clear water onto the paper and draw into that with the pencil for less controlled color that spreads, or you can sketch with dry watercolor pencil onto dry paper and paint lightly over it with water to blend.
posted by kristi at 10:28 AM on September 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lately I've been enjoying playing with hand lettering. There are lots of tutorials available online.
posted by Lexica at 3:04 PM on September 26, 2016

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