Do you recall a moment where you’re in your studio or room and you’re staring at the white canvas not knowing where to even begin? The moment where the canvas has nothing on it, not a single drop of paint but you can almost see and touch the idea that is about to burst and take over your hands. These are some of the special, intimate moments where a new piece of art is ready to materialize. And if you’re reading this, I imagine you’re someone who has decided to make use of your art and creative energy.
Beyond one’s inner drive, passion for art, and a life filled with experiences, an artist requires all of the tools necessary to give life to all of the abstract ideas one carries inside of them. We can agree that the tools are not what makes the artist great, but no tools at all is a huge setback and a reason for frustration and creative blockage. So for you to always be ready when the moment of inspiration strikes, first you must have creative space but you also need a wide range of art materials that will serve as an extension of your hand.
A Good Art Supply Store Is Your Best Friend
You might be living in a place where a good art supply store isn’t available, or there is one but it doesn’t have what you’re specifically looking for. Well, thanks to the internet and the many creative people out there, you can find everything you need at a well-stocked online art supply store.
The good thing about looking at online art supplies before purchasing anything is that you can compare availability, supply, and pricing way faster than when visiting in person. Also, online stores are pretty great about answering your email, so if you’re new to this and have any questions be sure to reach right away. Okay, so you love to draw but don’t know where to begin? Here are some basic materials you should consider when looking at any artist supply store.
The Must-Have Starter Kit for Beginner Painters
You might be going through a phase where you’re experimenting and exploring your artistic style. And that’s the perfect time to try out what kind of brush you like to use to express your “language”.
Take your time and remember that the moments of being in the unknown are some of the most fruitful periods that almost all notable artists look back to with joy. Yes, you can find a specific artist paint brush for your technique from soft, stiff, flat, filbert, round, rigger, to fan and mop brush.
At first, you might find the vast choice of materials a bit overwhelming. But with time, you will discover your own language, your unique style, your own timestamp in life, and the only way to figure that out is to try and keep on trying. For example, an artist paint brush made of animal hair tends to be more expensive but it can hold and apply colour in a way that is not always attainable with synthetic brushes.
However, synthetic brushes are constantly being improved and are making steady progress. If you’re a newbie to this, try to get a small variety of synthetic brushes with different tip types (flat, round, etc.). Start small, but never underestimate the power of practice and continuous dedication. You got this!
Painters work with a variety of types of paint and each type of paint requires a specific coating. For example, an oil canvas is intended solely for oil paint while absorbent canvases are intended for tempera, etc. Whether you are stretching your own canvas or buying ready-prepared stretched canvases or canvas boards, there are many types of canvas fabrics to choose from.
The final outcome and the nature of your work will require of your surface will determine what your choice will be. The weight of the fabric, the material it is made from and the surface preparation, will each give a different painting experience and will affect the final look, feel and mood of your painting.
Canvas made with cotton is cheaper but not as time-resistant as the linen used by the old masters. However, it’s good to know what cotton is easy to stretch and stays tight on the stretcher bars. So maybe you want to consider a cotton canvas for your practice.
Linen, on the other hand, is made from flax and is stronger because it has longer fibres which mean that it is less likely to tear at the staple line. It also means that you can use finer and thinner linen for the same strength as heavier kinds of cotton. The stiffness of linen means it is harder to pull when stretching so if you’re getting a canvas made with linen, it’s better if you buy one that has already been stretched.
You may be wondering what type of paint is best for beginners? Starting with a water-based medium such as acrylic, watercolour, or gouache is easiest. There are no toxic solvents to deal with, and they’re not as messy to work with.
The noticeable difference between acrylic and watercolour or gouache is that acrylic dries hard and is therefore easy to paint over and work with it in layers. That’s why acrylic paint is pretty easy to work with, making it a great option for beginners.
For at-home painting, watercolour paint is also a beginner-friendly paint that is convenient and easy to apply. A “high-maintenance” paint like oil requires additional solvents for clean-up, is more expensive, and requires more dedication and experience. That said, there’s no reason to spend the extra money on artist-quality paints when you’re just starting out unless you really want to or feel ready to do so. You can paint on practically anything that absorbs paint and won’t rot from it.
All things considered, the best tip when you look at artist supplies is to consult with the store, the internet, but mostly with yourself and the end-goal that you want to achieve. Happy creating!