A Word or 500 about Art Supplies
Each of the art classes will include a list of supplies. You are not required to use the exact products that I use in my videos. I am a professional artist; It is my job to have these supplies. I have spent years collecting and curating them. You do not need to buy them all. I do have my favorites supplies and I will demonstrate and share them with you. If you have painted before then it is totally fine to work with what you already have. I call this “your stash.”
When my students are starting out they ask me what to buy. I say buy the best you can afford and upgrade when you can. In terms of paint there is a difference between artist grade and student grade. The artist grades are better quality, have more pigment (color) to binder ratio and typically last longer, Golden Acrylics and Liquitex Professional are two examples of artist quality acrylic paint. There are student paints that I often use as well, Liquitex Basics and the traditional craft paints in the small bottles.
Obviously, you are totally welcome to buy the supplies I use and as an art supply hoarder myself, I completely support you in your addiction.
As a start for Acrylic:
- Most classes I am using an 8×10 canvas board. Canvas board is affordable, easier to store since I have so many paintings and works well with the way I record my classes. Feel free to try something larger or stretched canvas.
- You will need a variety of brushes including a background brush large enough for the size of canvas you are painting, 1-2 sizes of flats or squares, 1-2 sizes of rounds, 1-2 sizes of filberts. I use bristle (hogs or camel hair) and synthetic soft (taklon).
If you are purchasing acrylic or watercolor paint for the first time and want to create a “set” then here is a list of colors based on the split primary color theory system:
- Lemon or Hansa Yellow & Cadmium Yellow
- Cadmium Red & Alizarin Crimson or Quinacridone Red
- Cerulean Blue & Ultramarine
- Black & White, (Burnt Umber & Burnt Sienna if you wanna go all the way)
I will be offering a color theory class soon, so I won’t get into a lot of detail, but these color choices are based on their “bias” or the way they lean. More on that another time.
If you are just getting started having less actually teaches us about color theory and broadens our creativity. It is fun mixing new colors, you don’t have to buy teal when you can make it! Teal is my favorite by the way – I tend to hoard green, turquoise, cobalts and teals like the world is ending. As far as brands of paint, yes I have my favorites but you are free to make your own choices. If you must know, I love Golden Acrylics, Daniel Smith Watercolor, Dr. Ph Martin Concentrated Watercolors and Prima Marketing Watercolor Pan Sets.
There is a quick video on my watercolor page that goes over supplies if you don’t like reading, this page is a bit more detailed so you do you.
Watercolor Brushes are one of my favorite things, along with peanut butter, kitten videos and Netflix. My favorite watercolor brushes are:
- A large Quill (similar to a Mop brush but I find Quills are more versatile). This brush is great for backgrounds but could be used for more refined work if the brush is good quality and you practice. In another article I will further breakdown and discuss brushes (and their hair) types.
- A couple sizes of Round brushes. How many and what size are really based on the way you will be painting. If you are more loose or painterly then a larger one is fine but if you prefer to get into “all the details” then a couple of smaller round brushes may be necessary.
- As a side note, brush sizes are printed on the handle of the brush and they are somewhat standardized, although there can be differences between manufacturers.
- Watercolor paper has three finishes, cold-pressed, hot-pressed and rough.Cold-pressed is a medium tooth (tooth refers to texture of your paper or canvas surface). Rough is as it sounds. There is a significant difference in the amount of texture. Hot-pressed paper has a smooth finish. Typically, I am using cold-pressed for watercolor paintings and hot-pressed for Zentangle Inspired Art and Mixed Media.
- The lightest weight of watercolor paper I will consider is 140 lb. I do not like stretching watercolor paper. If you are interested in understanding what it means to “stretch watercolor paper.” Google it. I choose not to because of the added prep work. I use thicker paper, so I don’t have to. If you use a lot of water on loose 140 lb paper without stretching it first it will bend and warp while you are working. Read on for more paper options.
- 140 lb watercolor paper is also used in watercolor blocks. The paper pad is sealed around the edges and this helps prevent warping. When the painting is done you can take a small palette knife around the edge to remove your artwork. My watercolor journals are 140 lb but they are small and bound on the side, so there is minimal warping.
- 300 lb watercolor paper is my preferred choice. It is thick enough to handle plenty of water and you can even paint on both sides! It is usually purchased in 22×30 in sheets and sized to your liking by folding back and forth then gently tearing. This creates a delicious deckled edge.
Fun Mixed Media Things
- Drawing pencils, sharpeners and erasers
- Collage paper… napkins, book pages, magazines, scrapbook papers, origami paper
- Colored pencils
- Acrylic and watercolor paint
- Watercolor crayons and/or watercolor pencils and/or watercolor markers
- Stamps and stencils
- Matte medium or gel medium for gluing down papers and changing the consistency of paint
- Uniball Signo White Pen
- Uniball Black Pen
When practicing The Zentangle Method a supply kit is included in your class. This includes white paper tiles, a black Micron 01 pen, a pencil and a tortillon. For the Zentangle Inspired Art classes I teach online supplies will be listed. For the Watercolor & Tangles classes usually, I am using my preferred 300 lb or 140 lb paper, a Micron and a Uniball pen. My preferred watercolor brushes are listed above.
It is a good idea to have pencils no mater what medium you are using. For watercolor, I like an HB for a simple sketch. Mechanical pencils are a favorite. Pencils have grades that determine light vs. dark and hard vs. soft. I will be offering a drawing class that covers this soon. Remember, that you are here to learn, relax and have fun! These are my suggestions and over time you will be able to tell me about YOUR favorite art supplies. Please use what you have, what you love and what other artists have shared with you!