I can never buy as many art supplies as I want to when I put in an on-line order for my stuff. I’m just not that rich. But I do love looking around a virtual store for bargains and odd little things that might interest me. It takes me me two or three days to order from an art supply web site but that’s because I look around so much. Sometimes I look around at three or four on-line art supply places to see what each one has. It also takes two or three days because I’m not really looking around that long. I’ll check out a site for twenty minutes or half an hour while watching TV. I guess it’s the modern equivalent of window shopping.

This week I managed to get my order up to $360 before I finally put an end to looking at stuff. That’s my habit, I keep poking around until I finally have to put an stop to my shopping because I can’t afford the bill. Then I start taking things out of my virtual basket. It’s always easy at first because I usually have a few nearly useless items in my basket. Stuff I looked at and went, “Eh, that might be interesting” but upon further review I say, “Boy, that’s dumb. I’ll never use that”. I can’t even think of an example that falls into this category because I forget them right away.

I do remember an example of the “Well, I don’t REALLY need that” category. That’s when something kinda cool catches my eye but upon further reflection isn’t really that cool. This shopping trip that thing was ellipse templates. In this computerized day and age not a lot of people still use ellipse templates but I do. I’ve got a lot of them and I can’t remember the last time I bought one. It was probably the 1990s. I don’t have a need for new ellipse templates but I a saw a couple of ones that were of a slightly different style than the ones I have so I put them in my cart. It was my collector’s impulse at work. I wanted the templates more to have them in my collection than because I needed them. On top of that I don’t really even have a collection of ellipse templates. I just have ellipse templates and plenty of them. It’s a collector’s impulse to turn everything into a collection though. In the end the templates didn’t make the cut.

With this process I shrunk my basket down from $360 to $85. I put a lot of stuff on the ol’ wishlist for later and ended up mostly buying paper and markers. A roll of artist tape was thrown in there too. All the stuff I wanted most immediately though markers are something that is subject to my collector’s impulse too. There are so many different types these days and I want to get them all. Markers are fun but they can also be expensive. I pulled two sets of markers from my basket, the new Prismacolor brush markers and the new Sharpie brush markers, so I’ll have to get them some other time. I ended up adding to my Copic sketch marker collection instead. They were the ones on the top of the list.

At $5.25 a marker the Copic markers are not cheap and the price on them can add up quickly. They have sets of Copic markers but they’re not cheap either. A set of 36 is $188 and a set of 72 is $352. That’s a lot of money to lay out for a marker set. Especially since, at most, I’d probably end up using about two thirds of the set. That’s the way things are with marker sets. There are a lot of colors I’m sure I wouldn’t find useful in any large color set. These big marker sets are somebody else’s idea of a bunch of useful colors. I prefer my own idea. That’s why over the last two years I been building my own Copic sketch marker set.

I started small. I started with just one color, blue, to see if I even liked the markers. I bought a dark, a medium, and a light blue. I figured that would give me a better feel for the markers than if I bought one each of the primary colors, red, blue, and yellow. With three shades of a single color I could see how good their color was and do some tone work. Three markers is a good number for testing out a brand. After I liked them I decided to buy some more colors. I got a light and dark of red, yellow, green, purple, and orange plus a black marker. That’s another fifty bucks worth of markers and didn’t give me a huge variety but it was a good start. Keep in mind I was collecting them over time so getting everything right away wasn’t the priority. Fifty bucks every three months was easier than three hundred right now.

Eventually I added more to the set of colors. I added a medium version of each of those colors and some light and dark browns for skin tones. Over time I built up a palette of around forty colors with only two or three of the colors being clunkers. I think that’s a much better ratio than I could get in any of the sets. Now I’m at the point when in this order I was adding a fourth version of whatever color and buying some outlier colors. It’s fun creatively and it scratches that collector’s itch. A boy has got to have a hobby.

The last thing in my basket was a little notebook. I used to always carry a notebook with me where ever I went but as I’ve been working from home for years now I haven’t had the need to. That and I was tired of those 69¢ notebooks I used to use. They are too fragile.The Molskine ones I use now are a bit too big to be carrying around so I leave them at home but recently I’ve been wanting to write things down when I’m out walking. Ideas have started to come to me then. I saw a new smaller Moleskine notebook at the online shop and ordered a couple. I don’t know exactly why but that silly little note book got me excited about little notebooks again. Yeah, I’ll take my excitement where I can get it.