You’ve watched the art tutorials, signed up for the free webinars, created a Pinterest board and inspirational art ads are conveniently popping up on your FB and IG feeds. You cannot wait to get started. But then you go online for beginner art supplies and quickly feel deflated as you are not sure what you should invest in, and more importantly, what type of artist you want to be!
This blog is your artist’s muse – in as far as inspiring and educating you as to the basic art supplies and tools that should be in your creative stash of materials as well as a few practical tips to get you started on your artistic journey.
Use your laptop, tablet or smartphone as a resource
Unless you are an art savant, ideas beget ideas. As an inspiring artist, Pinterest, IG and online FB groups are your BFFs when it comes to exploring your inner artist and sustaining your creative passion and inspiration.
Read the reviews of online art courses and then sign up for the watercolour, acrylic or oils course for beginners. The investment will be well worth it as it will set you on a steady trajectory as to expectations and the art supplies you will need to start your first masterpiece.
Wander around local galleries
Beginning an art journey does not require an art history degree. All it requires is an appreciation for art and a broad exposure to various art styles and an exposure to classic and emerging artists. This is the wonder of wandering around art galleries and art exhibitions.
Just seeing artworks in the flesh motivates an innate curiosity and love for various media and styles.
Art has a personal connection and communicates with the viewer. Tap into this and let it spark your creative imagination. What styles of art makes you stop and pause? What colours speak to you?
This process is not about imitation, but rather about the story of art influencing and inspiring your unique creative story.
Never go anywhere without a sketchbook (& a pencil)
Inspiration and an artist’s muse can strike anywhere and anytime. You may not be able to take your paints and brushes with you wherever you go, but you can have a sketchbook and a couple of graphite pencils on hand. These basic art supplies belong in every artist’s stash to ‘capture the muse’ and get the seed of an idea down on paper. Whether your style is doodling or sketching, this art journaling prep work is invaluable to your next painting.
Brush up on colour theory
Primary and secondary colours may be self-explanatory from your school days, but a deeper understanding of colour theory is invaluable for any artist; making a colour wheel a must-have art supply and learning tool.
A basic knowledge of how colours behave when mixed together as well as discerning between tertiary colours (aka intermediate colours), complementary colours, warm colours, cool colours, analogous (or adjacent) colours, harmonious colours, monochromatic colour schemes etc are foundational to any artwork.
Stock your art kit with quality brushes & paints
Paintbrushes are an artist’s magic wand for manipulating paint across a canvas or art paper. But the brands, ranges, sizes, and types can be overwhelming when standing in the paintbrush aisle or shopping for art supplies online. Certain brushes are better suited for specific paint mediums. As a beginner, it is best to buy a brush set with the basic sizes and as your skills improve, you can slowly start adding different brushes.
When it comes to choosing paint, you need to be settled on the type of art medium that inspires you – oils, acrylics, watercolours or spray paint. Once that is settled, the paint world is your oyster when it comes to colours, shades and hues.
But here is the rule of thumb when it comes to art supplies: Always invest in better quality paints and brushes, even if that means starting small and slowly building up your art supply collection.
Invest in canvases, artist paper and an easel
As an artist, your inspiration needs to be expressed on either canvas or art paper. Once again, do your homework as to the different weights of paper and types of canvasses. An artwork is a visual story that needs to stand the test of time and be shared with others.
As a beginner artist, you can get away with cheaper canvases and art paper as you experiment with different techniques and gain confidence. (Always keep these starter artworks in a sketchbook or art sleeves/folders so you can monitor your progress).
An easel is a big investment art supply, but well worth it. If you are fortunate to have a designated art studio then a standing easel is ideal. But otherwise, the range of tabletop easels offers wonderful solutions for all painters.
The scope and range of art supplies should not overwhelm or deter. All it takes to turn your passion into action is to pick up a paintbrush and get started. There are no real rules – it is all about expressing your artistic personality in whichever way you like. The rest will follow naturally.
The first step is to bookmark a favourite and reliable online art supply store and slowly build up your art stash. Then schedule your next visit to a local gallery and make sure you have a pencil and sketchbook in tow.