Four accessible ways to make art at home

Try these tools for your next DIY project

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Flatlay photo of a white table full of art supplies — like acrylic paint, pencil crayons, and cardstock — in a variety of colours.
Great art can be made with low-budget supplies. Photo: Allyson Klassen / The Peak

By: Pamela Subia, SFU Student

Many memorable artists, from Beatrix Potter to Billie Eilish, started at home. However, there is still a misconception that artmaking is unaffordable or inaccessible. Though good quality painting supplies, cameras, and instruments are generally expensive, plenty of existing art demonstrates that very interesting projects can be completed on very low budgets. Some even find the glitchy, DIY, and experimental quality an added value. On this note, here are some inexpensive tools for making art from home!

  1. Music production software

If you own an Apple device, there is a chance that, among its programs, it has an app called GarageBand. Many well-known artists have used this software. For instance, Grimes’ 2012 Visions album — which fuses ethereal and echoey sound effects in songs like “Genesis” and “Oblivion” — was fully created on Garageband. It has an undeniably user-friendly interface, with intuitive graphics and settings which make it easy to turn the melodies inside your head into sound waves. If you don’t have an Apple device, there are other cool options for a free desktop download, such as Waveform Free and Cakewalk. Alternatively, there are hundreds of simple synth or piano simulator apps you can download and play while screen-recording. Anything is a start!

  1. Second-hand art supplies

For those venturing into the world of painting and drawing, the cost of materials might come as a shock. If you’re looking for more affordable options, it could be interesting to join your neighbourhood’s “buy nothing” group! Inspired by the worldwide Buy Nothing project, many neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland have started Facebook groups where people post unused stuff they want to give away. In my searches, I have come up with a decent number of watercolours, paint, canvases, and even instruments! Other good options for lower-budget art supplies are thrift stores such as Salvation Army and Value Village.

  1. Illustration and editing software

Some cheaper alternatives include Procreate, Clip Studio Paint, and Inkscape. These are commonly used by freelance illustrators online, who post their art for commissions on social media. For film production, there is Lightworks or iMovie, which are also user-friendly and intuitive. All of these programs offer a wide variety of tools that will definitely help you deliver a good-quality piece.

  1. Art prompts

If the inconvenience is not the means to make art, but what to create, a potentially useful method is to gather with fellow artists and create monthly art challenges. My friends and I started doing this using one-word prompts. One example was “transformation,” where the idea was to turn a piece of art we felt negatively towards into something we liked or appreciated. For inspiration, check out artprompts.org.