Price check: Brooklyn art supplies

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How much does it cost to make this? Sketch by Brad Pearson.

Pearl Paint is widely held as the artist’s go-to retailer for supplies at decent prices, but that store is in Manhattan, and we are not. I wanted to find the best art supply stores here in our very own borough, so I decided to do a cost comparison of the items I use most myself, from five local shops. The products were Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph technical pens (individual), Prismacolor markers (individual), Higgins India ink (1 oz.), and the cheapest, crappiest pencils and brushes each store carried. 


The five stores were:

• Utrecht Art Supplies, 536 Myrtle Ave. (between Emerson and Steuben)
• The Pratt Store, 550 Myrtle Ave. (between Emerson and Steuben)
• Apple Art, 321 Dekalb Ave. (between Hall and Washington)
• W C Art & Drafting Supply Co, 351 Jay St. (at Smith)
• Artist & Craftsman Supply, 761 Metropolitan Ave. (between Humboldt and Graham)

And the results went like this:

Brooklyn art supply chart

The results: Utrecht (total: $35.85) and Pratt (total: $34.88) win the price check by a polyester hair and are literally next door to each other. Both have a good selection, competent staff and typically good music playing. Next comes Artist & Craftsman Supply (total: $37.03). Apple Art (total: $39.16) is the smallest, cutest, most mom-and-pop kind of place and is also one of the more expensive, but also offers an excellent selection for fine arts supplies, (painting, wood carving, etc.)

If your projects lean more towards the crafty end of the arts and crafts spectrum, WC Art & Drafting Supply is your best bet, thought  art and illustration supplies are more expensive here (total: $43.06)

If you’re a college student (or if you have your old college ID or, probably if you just look like you go to college) each of these stores throw in an additional !0% off.  With Artists & Craftsman Supply, it has to be a current ID for a school in the tri-state area. God, I know right? IT’S SO UNFAIR.

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  1. As a Pratt (architecture) student I used to get a lot of stuff from PrattStore and Apple Art (Apple is closest to the architecture building, but PrattStore was cheaper for many things. They also sold some stuff IN the building making it convenient.) But when I could I liked going to Blick, prices (for what I needed) were on par with Pearl, they often had better quality stuff and have a nice store.
    From what I hear PrattStore will be closing down, and the building will be going to the film department…

  2. ugh, they are all so far away. i went to the pratt store once and it was so sunny and cheerful and devoid of exactly everything i needed. pearl paint is hit or miss, same for dick blick in the city. i’ve taken to ordering everything online :  it’s that or spend all afternoon on the subway looking for nyc’s last yellow sketchbook.

  3. good to know. i like blick for the selection, but love buying at artists & craftman b/c i love the idea of keeping $ in the neighborhood. and yeah from bushwick pearl is still the easiest to get to. 

  4. all of these art stores are more difficult to get to for me than to pearl art or blick, since brooklyn is so vast and is not just confined to within 5 miles of manhattan island. 
    there is an art store by brooklyn college, on flatbush avenue, i think, but its been so long since i went in, i cant comment on the selection and prices. But it may be worth a trip, if you are in the neighborhood and need something urgently. 

  5.  The Pratt Store’s closing this weekend because Utrecht, now occupying the lower level of Myrtle hall, has put them out of business (probably an intentional move on Pratt’s part). They’ll be keeping the rental center there, but otherwise, say goodbye to your cheapest BK art supplies.

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