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Essential Painting Supplies for Beginners

Painting is an extremely rewarding hobby, but it’s also incredibly involved. A lot goes into the breathtaking masterpieces we find on museum walls. Getting started isn’t impossible, however—you just have to know where to begin. Before you can try your hand at painting, you’ll first need the proper supplies. Regardless of the type of paint you choose to work with, many of the items you’ll need are the same—in fact, you can likely find most of them at your local art supply store. We’ve made a handy list of essential painting supplies for beginners.

1. Paint

You don’t necessarily have to splurge on your initial haul. Starting with a limited selection of paint colors is economical and a great learning tool for beginners. Start off with a few of the basics and take some time to familiarize yourself with the medium.

2. Brushes

Do some research on the brushes you’ll use. What you buy will depend on the type of paint you’re working with, as well as on the subjects you intend on rendering. Some people work almost exclusively with large brushes, and other people prefer smaller ones. You may want to get a variety as you decide on what works for you. Look at what the bristles are made of, and don’t skimp on the quality. Bad brushes can result in the bristles coming off into your paint.

3. Canvas

While you experiment, buy some flat canvas boards and play around. Get a selection of budget-friendly canvases—we don’t recommend starting with ones that are overly large. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with color and hand movements, you can move on to a higher-quality surface.

4. A Palette

A palette isn’t usually an expensive investment, so we recommend buying a few. Get one a touch on the larger side so that you have room to mix your paint. Palettes with lids are useful for oil paints or watercolors, as you can use solvents to reactivate your leftovers later.

5. Graphite Pencils

You may want to do a crude sketch on the canvas before you begin painting. Some painters also plot out their artwork on regular paper first. Graphite pencils are a favorite of many artists because, depending on the softness of the lead, they’re easily erasable.

6. Lots of Rags

Between cleaning brushes, wiping off your hands, and protecting furniture, you’ll want to have a decent amount of rags on hand. Some painters opt to use paper towels, but reusable materials are more economical in terms of future costs as well as consideration for the environment.

7. Varnish

When your painting has fully dried—keep in mind that this can take months for oil paintings—you’ll want to paint over it with a protective coat of varnish. This will protect your work from aging and unsightly cracking.

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