18 Office Supplies Every Artist Needs

By Nicole Tinkham

Fun fact that you may not know about Keeton’s: We provide both office supplies and quality art supplies. Most people think we do one or the other but we’re actually very passionate about both areas. First of all, who says an office worker doesn’t have a creative side? And who says office supplies can’t be used by the artist?? To prove our point, we’ve created this list of 18 office supplies that every artist needs and how to use them in your next project.

1.    Tape

Masking tape works wonders for holding down your watercolor paper.

2.    Scissors

Every scrap booker knows that quality scissors are a must!

3.    Trimmers

These make life so much easier when working on paper art.

4.    Adhesives

Super glue, glue dots, glue sticks, rubber cement, spray adhesive, and hot glue can all be helpful in your art projects.

5.    Sharpies

With SO MANY colors, why are these even considered an office supply?? In the art world, they are solely for the purpose of creating 🙂

6.    Cardstock

A heavier paper is ideal for handmade cards.

7.    Colorful paper

Brightly colored paper makes any stamper or paper crafter happy.

8.    Pencils (& sharpeners and erasers)

You may not have as many options (HB is the standard) in office pencils but erasers and sharpeners are also a must!

9.    Bulletin board

Instead of office memos, use a bulletin board to post all of your creative ideas.

10.    Rolling storage crate

Business professionals use these to lug around catalogs and samples. You can use them to easily transport your supplies to workshops and art shows.

11.    Planner

Some artists love using a planner and others don’t. We think it’s a great way for anyone to keep track of their daily tasks and be more productive.

12.    Thumb drives

Whether you’re a computer artist or hands on, you’ll need at least one thumb drive. Use it to store creative inspiration and photos of your artwork.

13.    X-ACTO knife (& cutting mat)

If you’re cutting any type of heavier paper, an X-ACTO knife is essential.

14.    Notebook

Notebook, sketchbook, or journal.. No matter what it is you use, it’s important to get your ideas on paper.

15.    Packing supplies (boxes, tape and bubble wrap)

You may not think of these supplies but what happens when you sell a piece and have to ship it?? It never hurts to have packing supplies on hand.

16.    Sticky notes

We cannot stress how important it is for EVERYONE to use Post-it Notes! As ideas pop in your head, write down little reminders. Get assorted colors to make it fun.

17.    Photo paper

You can get quality prints with your home printer and quality photo paper makes all the difference.

18.    Ruler

A basic ruler is a must for every artist whether it’s used for measuring or for creating straight lines.

Here’s a little tip for you. Sometimes you’re better off getting certain supplies through an office supply store (like us) rather than a specialty art store. You’ll get a much better deal on masking tape through office supplies than if you were to get art specific tape that does the same thing. This is why we love having the best of both worlds. Are there any non traditional “art supplies” you use in your work? Let us know in the comments!

Selecting The Right Color: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know And More

By Nicole Tinkham

Ever find yourself staring at a blank canvas even though you have a complete composition already laid out in in your mind? The hard part is over; you have all the ideas but can’t seem to actually get started. Here’s why: you’re having a difficult time selecting your color palette. If you ever find yourself so unsure of which color to select that it prevents you from starting a painting altogether, you need to read this blog. We’ll dive into everything you ever wanted to know about selecting the right color and more. This will help you get started right away on your projects because you’ll already have it in your mind what colors you want to work with.

Color palette

The first thing you’ll want to do before starting a painting is determine your color palette. This is usually a main color with a few supporting colors that go along with it. When it comes to realistic paintings, you’ll want to choose colors that match your subject as closely as possible. Otherwise you’re totally open to selecting whichever colors you want. Having so many options is typically where the trouble lies though. Every color portrays a certain feel so let’s begin there. Think about how you want the viewer to feel and what message you want to get across then determine which color below aligns with that best.

Reds = Passion, Explosive
Blues = Bold, Clean, Intelligent
Greens = Simple, New
Purples = Elegant, Smooth
Yellows = Joy, Bliss
Pinks = Power, Glamorous
Orange = Energy, Creativity

Hue vs Tint vs Shade

When selecting colors, it’s also important to understand the difference between hue, tint, and shade. This will give you different variations of a color. Hue is the pure color without anything mixed in with it. Tint on the other hand, is a lighter version of the original color as it’s mixed with white. Shade is then the opposite. It’s darker than the original color and mixed with black.

The Color Wheel

A color wheel is an excellent tool for any artist whether you’re a total newbie or experienced. We always recommend having a color wheel on hand. This tool will lay out your color options and help you pair colors up to form your color palette. On your color wheel, you’ll find the following colors.

Primary Colors = Blue, Yellow and Red

Secondary Colors = Green, Orange, and Purple

Tertiary Colors = Amber, Chartreuse, Teal, Violet, Magenta, Vermilion

Color Schemes

Once you have that main color selected, it’s time to think about your supporting colors. This is where using your color wheel really becomes helpful. Use the following color schemes to help you determine your supporting colors. They are proven colors to work well together.

Monochromatic = These are colors within the same section of the color wheel. They will be the same color but in different tints and shades.

Analogous = These are colors that can be found on either side of your main chosen color on the color wheel, one on the right and one on the left.

Complimentary = These are two colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel.

This simple guide for choose the perfect colors can be used for more than just your painting project. It can be used to help you find a frame for your project, determining what color to paint the walls in your home, decorating, and just about anything else that involves color choices. Investing in a color wheel will be the key to success especially if you’re a beginner artist but it’s also a great way to think up fresh color combinations that you may not have thought of before. Save this guide and use it whenever you get stuck choosing the perfect color for your project. No longer will color choices hold you back!

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect! – How To Overcome The Fear Of Getting Started

By Nicole Tinkham

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect! – How To Overcome The Fear Of Getting Started

We asked (on our Facebook page) what your biggest struggle was when starting a new art project or learning a new art technique and we were blown away by how similar your answers were! So many of our artist friends responded to the question with “the fear of not being perfect”. We totally get where you’re coming from because we’ve been there too, and are still learning how to navigate fear in our lives. It’s difficult to jump into something new when you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing or how to achieve it. Not to mention how daunting that blank canvas looks when first starting. But we’re here to tell you that just getting started is more important than worrying about it being perfect. Learning as you go is part of the process! Read on for our top tips on overcoming the fear of getting started.

Determine where your fear comes from

We believe that understanding why you feel a certain way can greatly help in overcoming your fears and becoming a stronger person. So what are you really afraid of? Before you say “getting started” take some time to seriously think about this question. Are you afraid of failure? Are you afraid of what people may think of you? Are you afraid of rejection? Dig deep and figure out what is behind the fear you’re experiencing. Once you have a clear idea on what it is that’s holding you back from starting, you can work on overcoming that fear. For instance, if you’re afraid of rejection you may need to work on your confidence. If it’s failure, you need to remind yourself of the benefits of making a mistake. You will be learning along the way and mistakes mean you’re trying. That’s a good thing! In order to overcome the fear, you must start at the beginning and figure out what’s causing it.

Live in the moment

When it comes down to it, fear of getting started is really fear of the future. You must remember that the future is out of your control. You have no idea what will happen yet. You may make a mistake but then again you might nail it on the first try! You never know until you begin. It’s not only the future that you’re focusing on though. You’re probably looking at past mistakes as well. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have the doubt that you have today. The point is, we need to stop comparing the present to the past because we can’t go back and change the past. We also can’t control what will happen in the future. So the best thing we can do is live in the moment. What does this mean for your new art project? It means you must begin today. You just have to get started. Follow your heart and have an open mind. Know that anything can happen and roll with the punches, learning as you go.

Consider the worst that could happen

Whenever you’re worried about anything in life, think about the absolute worse thing that could possibly happen. Often times it’s not as bad as what you make it out to be in your head. Maybe you have the fear of being rejected. If you are rejected, what would you do? You’d learn from it and move on. You’d push yourself to improve and do better next time. Even if it is hard to deal with, you will live! Next time fear and worry creep in, do this little exercise. Jot down the worst case scenario and determine how bad it really is. You can do this with any area of your life too, not just when starting a new project.

Just do it

Take a deep breath and just go for it. Let go of your fears and worries. Pretend this is just for fun or just practice. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Have fun with it. We believe that it’s impossible to mess art up anyway. Let us explain: either you completely hate the piece in which case you paint over it and start new, or you fall in love with the imperfections or “happy little accidents” and keep it the way it is. Either way, you can’t lose so jump all in and give it what you got!

Plan to succeed

If you’re not a jump all in, wing it kind of person that’s totally fine! There’s nothing wrong with planning for success as long as you’re moving forward and aren’t just stuck in one place or allowing yourself to move backwards. When we say “plan for success”, we mean do some research before you begin, watch tutorials, take some classes, and really get an understanding of what you plan to do. Get yourself mentally ready to take on the challenge and once you get there, then it’s time to go for it!

Embrace the imperfections

Ok so you went for it and you made a mistake, now what? Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone makes mistakes so this just means you’re totally normal (or at least somewhat normal…we can’t speak for other areas of your life :)). Don’t let this be the point where you give up though. Embrace those mistakes, learn from them, and allow yourself to grow as an artist. We’ve found that there’s no better way to learn than through making mistakes. It’s also important to laugh it off, forgive yourself, and continue moving forward.

The fear of getting started in any area of your life is a challenge for sure. But at the same time, you can’t let this fear of perfection hold you back from doing amazing things. We know how talented you are (we’ve seen your work on Facebook!) and we know you can achieve whatever it is you’re setting out to do. We realize that you’re often your own biggest critic but loosen up a bit. Of course there’s always room to work on your art but don’t be so hard on yourself that the fear prevents you from doing your thing! Really understand where this fear is coming from, focus on this moment right here and right now, realize that the worse that can happen isn’t as bad as you probably make it out to be, jump right in and do it or plan to succeed, and embrace those mistakes when they happen. We believe in you and know you can do this. Even if you aren’t your biggest cheerleader at the moment, you do have a support system RIGHT HERE!!

Tell us, what are some other ways you are struggling with starting a new project or learning a new art technique? Let us know in the comments and it could be answered in our next blog post!

9 Tricks for painting on glass

By Nicole Tinkham

9 Tricks for painting on glass

Glass painting is huge right now and with the holiday’s right around the corner, they make excellent personalized gifts. But painting on glass can be tricky when you haven’t done it before. There’s a certain type of paint to look for, special tools to fix mistakes, a shortcut for non-artists and many more to keep in mind when starting your next glass painting project. Read on for our best tips and tricks!

1.    Read the label
Not all paint is made to be used on glass. Many types of paint are toxic and not to be used on pieces that you eat or drink out of. Be sure to choose paint specifically for glass. We recommend Pebeo Glass Paint.

2.    Choose your brush wisely
You can use the brush of your choice when painting on glass but note that synthetic brushes will leave brushstrokes and natural hair brushes can pick up more paint resulting in a smoother surface.

3.    Create a guide
You won’t be drawing your design right on the glass. Instead, you’ll be drawing it on paper. To get the correct size of the design, roll a piece of paper so it fits inside your glass. Trace the top edge of the glass onto the paper. Your design shouldn’t be larger than this marked line.

Next, draw your design in pen or marker so it’s easy to see and put back into the glass, using a little tape to hold it in place. This way you’ll be able to see the design through the glass without having to mark up the outside of the glass.

4.    Keep it clean
Clean your glass and work area thoroughly before beginning. It may also be a good idea to wear latex gloves to prevent oily smudges from your fingers to become part of the design.

5.    Don’t apply too much pressure
When you apply a lot of pressure with your brush when painting glass, the paint can easily be wiped off the slippery surface. Apply lighter pressure to avoid this.

6.    Apply thickly
Glass paint tends to take awhile to dry and can crack if painted over too soon. To avoid applying layers, paint one thick coat on the glass.

7.    Fix mistakes with a cotton swab and toothpick
You can dip the cotton swab in alcohol to get rid of any mistakes and use the toothpick to scrape away mistakes that have dried.

8.    Use painter’s tape for clean straight lines
You don’t necessarily have to hand-draw your own design. Use painter’s tape for crisp lines or a stencil if that’s what you prefer.

9.    Set the paint
Setting the paint ensures that it will last a long time. You can do this with the oven method. Place your glass in the cool oven. Heat the oven up to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it completely cool down before removing the glass. Note: The glass will break if not heated and cooled gradually.

Painting on glass may be something entirely new to you and could feel a little odd at first. We suggest purchasing an inexpensive glass to experiment on so you get the feel for it. Just practice until you get it! We love the idea of giving a painted glass as a gift or maybe even putting together a glass painting party with a few friends. Just have fun with it!

We want to hear from you! Share your best glass painting tip in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.