Art is a beautiful form of self-expression. But if you’re new to the art of painting, the list of supplies can feel overwhelming. There are so many products available—what do you truly need to make great art?
Art supplies are a personal choice, and they vary based on your skill level and techniques. Over time you’ll learn what works best for you. But in the meantime, here’s an essential list of 7 art paint supplies every budding artist should have.
Few painters are ready to put paint to canvas from the start. Many artists prefer to sketch their ideas before they start painting.
A standard graphite pencil can help you sketch on paper or a pad before you start painting. But a pack of pencils from the supermarket might not work. You want 3-4 different lead weights to give dimension to your sketch. Use 2B pencils for general sketching, 6B for shadowing, and 4H for light shading.
You might also want a watercolor pencil. This helps you draw shapes directly onto your painting canvas. These pencils are great because the lines will blend in and disappear with your paint.
2. Kneaded eraser
Standard pencil erasers don’t always do a great job. Kneaded erasers are soft and pliable, like putty, and help you create more professional art.
You can shape a kneaded eraser however you want. It’s perfect for creating subtle shading or removing minor imperfections.
We love kneaded erasers because they don’t leave residue on your canvas, giving you a cleaner surface for painting.
3. Visual art journal
Treat your visual art journal like an artistic sandbox: this is your opportunity to play with new techniques and ideas. Work on your composition, color palettes, and strokes in a journal to document your progress.
4. Painting paper pad
A visual art journal is a more affordable way to sketch and experiment. But when you’re serious about planning your next painting, you’ll want a paper pad.
This isn’t like a legal pad—painting paper pads are made from thick, textured cardstock designed just for painting.
If you’re painting with watercolors, go with a pre-stretched pad made of hot- or cold-pressed watercolor paper. If you’re an acrylics person, go with specialized canvas or acrylic-specific paper.
Every painter needs a brush! You could spend a lot of money on high-end brushes for your art. When in doubt, go with middle-tier quality to balance performance with price.
For acrylic paint, use:
Hog’s hair brush, size 6. This is perfect for blending and touching up areas of your painting.
Flat wash brush, 1 inch. This is perfect for backgrounds and large swaths of color.
Liner brush. Use this for fine details.
Watercolor artists will want to use:
A ¾-inch flat brush. Use this for color washes and backgrounds.
Round brushes, sizes 8, 10, and 14. Use these for general painting.
A liner brush, size 6, is great for details.
Foam brush. Use this if you need to wash a large area in color.
6. Paint palette
You need a way to transport and hold your paint. If you’re an acrylics painter, you’ll want a palette to arrange and mix your paints before you create your masterpiece. These can be found cheaply at craft stores and some supermarkets.
7. Paintbrush holder
You’ve already invested in tools for your art. Keep your expensive brushes clean with a paintbrush holder that works with you, not against you.
A regular cup can get the job done, but it’s messy and often destroys your nice brushes.
The Paint Puck Ultimate Rinse Cup is a paintbrush holder that also protects your brushes after every stroke. Our soft silicone brush cleaner gently pulls paint away from your brush sizes. It holds up to 30 brushes of different sizes, serving as your rinse cup and brush storage. This is a must-have for protecting your art supplies.
The bottom line
Art paint supplies don’t have to take up an entire corner of your home. Invest in these 7 essentials, like paintbrushes, a palette, and a paintbrush holder, to make great art with less.