Monday, September 1, 2014

practicing art on the cheap - cardboard is king!

i'm always telling beginning artists to practice creating pieces in their favorite medium as often as possible and to branch out and try other unfamiliar methods as they might discover something new that they enjoy. practice not only makes perfect but after a trip to the art store to buy pencils, canvases, bristol board, paper, brushes, pastels and paint one may also find that practice makes you broke. in this series of posts i'll be mentioning tips i've found for practicing on a shoe string budget.

cardboard is king!

cardboard is everywhere and thanks to recycling its usually separated from the nasty garbage behind any restaurant or supermarket. most businesses are more than happy to give you all you can carry in your hot little hands for free. simply take it home and cut it into workable panels

and you're ready to start painting
there's no priming or preparation needed. white cardboard is also great for ink, marker, watercolor, pastels and any other medium you might use on paper.

cardboard can also be made into a practice canvas board of sorts. theres a little preparation and a tiny investment involved but you'll save loads of dough in the long run. heres what you'll need

piece of cardboard - free
old sheet or pillow case - free unless you don't have one then about 3$ at a goodwill
school glue - 3 bottles for a 1$ at the dollar store
interior latex primer - 10$/gallon

simply cut a piece of linen slightly larger than the piece of cardboard, brush a layer of school glue on the cardboard and press the linen on it, smoothing out  any wrinkles with your hand. after the glue dries brush on a coat of primer and let that dry and you have a very affordable canvas board-like practice surface. i used this process on these pieces that i made back in 2007 for a free art exhibit in germany

what about buckling? cardboard does bend and warp when you paint on it but if you allow it to dry flat on its back, it generally flattens back out when its dry. the bit of warp left can simply be corrected by bending the piece flat, a layer of acrylic paint usually keeps the front from showing bends and if they're there who cares? a little distress gives the piece more character.

not just corrugated the cardboard that's left from an empty cereal or mac and cheese box can also be painted on and makes a flexible and durable piece that's easy to frame. this was painted on an empty cereal box:
so go paint on some cardboard and keep it out of the landfill

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