Shopping for Art Supplies
Anyone who has shopped for quality art supplies knows that they can often be expensive. Since I am a frugal shopper, I tend to shop around. Dickblick.com usually has the cheapest prices on items, combined with the discounts they give on non-sale items and free shipping. I create a list so that I meet the discount requirements when I am ready to order. I have an, "I want it now" attitude, so I usually opt-in for 2-3 day Fed-Ex Home delivery and pay $2-4 for shipping (a discounted shipping fee when you meet the free shipping requirement).
My second place to look at pricing is Amazon. Being an Amazon Prime member, I get free 2-day shipping. I just never know if the package is going to my house, mailbox or the post office until after I receive a tracking number (which is another story).
Dickblick.com usually wins with pricing though, so I have been making the majority of my purchases from there. As of this post, a set of 150 Prismacolor Premier colored pencils on Amazon in $122.55, the same set is going for $108.14 on dickblick. Stonehenge paper white, 15 sheet pad is $17.72 on Amazon, $8.45 on the Blick site.
Another major difference between these two retailers is shipping/handling and packaging. I usually don't have an issue with packaging from Amazon, they are great at it. I do when I am ordering art supplies. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- Shipping/handling. I know my products from Blick are always being shipped from Ohio. With Amazon, they can be shipped from anywhere in the United States. The more hands that handle a box, the greater the chance of the items inside being damaged.
- Packaging. Dick Blick specializes in art supplies. They know the special care that the items need to be treated with. If a pencil I ordered is backordered, I know that I will receive it in a baggie, wrapped in small bubble paper, placed inside a box that is filled with air pillows. I can't comment on Amazon's packaging of a single pencil because I have never ordered a single pencil from there.
I have three choices nearby when it comes to hobby shops. AC Moore, Michael's and Hobby Lobby. I tend to stay away from AC Moore and Michael's. They are way overpriced and do not have the selection I need. I went into Michael's once and saw that they had a larger toy depart than art supply department. Yeah, they offer discount coupons, but knowing that I can't get everything I want in one stop does not make the coupon a 'value' for me.
Hobby Lobby, while overpriced does have a wider selection of artist supplies than AC Moore and Michael's. They also have a 40% off weekly coupon. Due to their selection, they are the hobby shop I prefer for supplies in a pinch.
So, my shopping preferences for art supplies in order are: