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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Best art mediums for college students


Whether you’ve worked with various art mediums for years or are a budding artist, the visual arts are a great way to give yourself a creative outlet. However, art materials can be expensive – here are various mediums through which to enjoy art without breaking the bank.

Graphite Sketching 

While there are many ways to put pen to paper, graphite is one of the simplest and easiest-to-use mediums. Unlike most wooden pencils that contain graphite and clay, these pencils solely contain graphite at varying shades, allowing the artist to pick specific shades to use in their art.

The graphite shades are based on the “H” and “B” series, with the “H” series indicating lighter shades of graphite, and the “B” series indicating darker shades. Picking up a pack of graphite pencils and a sketchbook would be pretty inexpensive at a local Michael’s, making it a convenient medium to start with.

Painting: Acrylic vs. Watercolor

This category is a bit broader, as there are many materials you can use on a canvas and many different types of paint. If you’re new to painting, the best kinds of paints to use are either acrylic or watercolor, as they are less expensive than other paints.

Acrylics have bold colors, so they are a good choice for making your art stand out. Yet, acrylic paints aren’t the best if you like your clothes. While they can wash out with rubbing alcohol, it’s dependent on the brand of paint you buy and how messy the painting process can be in a college dorm.

Watercolor paints allow you to dilute the paint with water, and the more water you add, the softer the effect of the paint is on the canvas. It’s pleasing to the eye and more likely to wash out of clothes than acrylics. However, they can be messier than acrylics, and if you use too much water on paper, it can fall apart easily. 

Mixed Media: Collages

Collages are one of the most common versions of mixed media, made up of a combination of cut-up newspapers, books, photos or fabric plastered together on the same piece of paper or canvas. 

Price-wise, mixed media often doesn’t require much from your wallet. By collecting items around your home, such as dusty books, secondhand clothes or photos from your basement, you can cut together something old into something new to hang up in your dorm room for the spring semester.

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