Just like a pizzaiolo needs the right pizza equipment to make delicious pizza, an artist needs the right art supplies at their disposal to really bring out the artistic vision in them. If you are just getting started with setting up your artistic workspace, know that there is a selection of tools that can help you create new pieces of art easier. So, before you head to an arts and crafts store, take a look at the main art tool essentials that you should get to start with your art.
Graphite Pencils and Erasers
Even if you will be just painting, you’ll need to draw the subject before. For this, you won’t need a large collection of pencils – 3-4 pencils will be enough.Make sure you include a 2B pencil for drawing sketches, a 6B for dark shading and a 4H for light shading. You will also need a kneaded and white eraser. This type of eraser is particularly great because it doesn’t leave traces behind and can also be shaped into different shapes, for example, to erase a small area when there’s no need to create a light shading.
You’ll need drawing paper for preliminary sketches. For this purpose, you can get an inexpensive sketching pad with around 70 sheets. Drawing paper will come in very handy when you need to create a completely new idea by doing rough sketches before putting your idea on the actual painting surface.
After brainstorming your ideas and sketching them on drawing paper, you’ll need to draw your final piece of art on your painting surface. For this, you will find different options to choose from at an arts and crafts store, depending on the type of colour you choose to use. For example, if you decide to paint using watercolours, then the most suitable painting surface would be pre-stretched pads. If you decide to paint with acrylic, then you can choose from two types of painting surfaces – acrylic paper or canvas. Acrylic paper is a popular choice because it doesn’t take a lot of space and you don’t have to apply much pressure. This paper also gives you more room to experiment and make mistakes.
Whether using acrylic or watercolours, an inexpensive plastic palette will serve you just fine. You can buy a palette from most of the art stores locally or even online for a few dollars depending on the model and size you choose. The greatest thing about plastic palettes is that they are basically easier to use and wash.
Brushes with natural bristles are the best to start with. They should be long, should have a bit of spring, should hold a good lot of paint, should have a good strong handle and should retain their edge and shape after repeated use. Quality is key here because cheap brushes rarely retain their shape and can splay after use.
Synthetic brushes, as long as they are quality, will work fine when painting with acrylics. Because synthetic brushes tend to be softer, they are great for glazing and subtle blending. But keep in mind that you won’t be concentrating on this when you first start out.
When painting with acrylic, there are three types of brushes you’ll need: a liner brush for fine details; a filbert brush for smoothing out and general painting and a flat wash for painting the background. For watercolour painting, the brushes you will need include a size 6 liner brush for small detailing, a size 8 or 10 round brush for general purpose painting and a medium-sized flat brush for washes.
In the beginning, you don’t need a large palette brimming with excessive colour amounts. You can use a limited palette to start painting attractive paintings instead.
In fact, it’s better to start with a small palette and less colour amount, otherwise, you can get easily overwhelmed. Whether you choose watercolours, acrylics or oils, there are the main colours that you can use for painting practically any type of painting. Basically, you’ll need a single red, blue, yellow and brown paint. For each of these colours, there are other hues that’ll find essential like alizarin crimson, burnt umber, new gamboge, cadmium red, phthalo blue and phthalo green. With these colours, you can come up with an almost endless list of colours by combining different shades.
A wooden or metal stand used for holding a board, canvas or panel. Different types of easels are available, with varying levels of stability and mobility.
- The A-frame is a three-legged easel that is economical and portable, but it lacks stability.
- The H-frame is a standard studio easel that is sturdy but lacks portability.
- The convertible easel is a versatile piece that converts between a standard right easel and a horizontal, tabletop easel.
- The single mast easel is the most basic and affordable type of easel but it also the least stable.
- The French easel features built-in storage, which makes it a favourite choice for Plein air painters.
- The display easel is merely for displaying finished works. It’s not suitable for painting on.