When you’re starting to get into painting, or just thinking of starting, you need art supplies for painting to work with! But there are so many types and different brands, that it can be confusing.
In this article, I’m going to give you the essential art supplies for painting and the extra options that you can add. This is a great art supplies list for beginners and intermediate painters! It really doesn’t matter if you’re an adult, kid or teen, this list will suit your art supply needs.
So let’s get on with the list of art supplies, and why you should use each one of these art supplies for painting. I’ll also include my recommendations for which specific art supplies to buy.
|Art Supply||Average Price||My Recommendation|
|Graphite Pencils||12$ for a 12-Pack||Faber Castell 9000 Sketch Pencils|
|Kneaded Eraser||7$ for a 4-Pack||Faber-Castell Kneaded Erasers|
|Brushes||9$ for a 12-Pack||Crafts 4 All Set of 12 Brushes|
|Watercolor Paint||16$ for 24 Paints||Crafts 4 All Watercolor Pack|
|Acrylic Paint||18$ for 24 Paints||Crafts 4 All Acrylic Pack|
|Oil Paint||25$ for 24 Paints||Colore Oil Paint Set|
|Palette||9$ for 12-Pack||Plastic Tray Palette Pack|
|Watercolor Paper||21$ for 30 Sheets||Canson Watercolor Textured Paper|
|Acrylic And Oil Paper||17$ for 10 Sheets||Canson Canva-Paper Sheets|
|Cup Of Water||Free||Simple cup with water!|
|Easel||20$||Artist Easel Stand from T-Sign|
|Apron||22$||Artist Apron by Tour|
|Palette Knife||5$ for a 5-Pack||Set Of Palette Knives by Blick|
Side note: if you don’t want to be choosing each specific art supply, or you’re just starting out and want a ready-to-buy pack, you can buy this amazing Artist Painting Set on Amazon and you’re good to go!
It comes with everything you need right out of the box.
It’s especially good if you want to gift some art supplies for beginners or young artists without worrying too much about choosing the best for each supply.
Table Of Contents
Best Art Supplies For Painting
So let’s talk about the essential supplies that you’ll need for painting, no matter what.
You can consider this a beginner’s set of the best tools available to make you a professional artist.
Graphite Pencils and an Eraser
Wait, what. You’re thinking that I’m insane to recommend using graphite pencils in a post about painting!
In fact, I believe that using graphite pencils to mark and sketch out your painting is an essential process that you should be doing in your artwork!
Pencils are great for sketching the rough layout, characters, and environment without having to feel the pressure of not being able to erase is great for you!
By having graphite pencils, you can try and test several things without fully committing to one specific idea that you had.
Once you have your pencil drawing ready to go, then you can start painting without looking back!
The graphite pencils that I recommend are the Faber Castell 9000 Sketch Pencils.
Their touch is really amazing, and feel very good on paper.
But most importantly, I love their durability.
These pencils can last you a pretty long time, and this particular pack includes a bunch of different hardness on the leads. So you can test them out and see which ones you prefer the most!
For an eraser, be sure to get a Kneaded Eraser. Kneaded erasers are amazingly easy to use.
If you’d like to learn more about this type of eraser, check out my article on what is a kneaded eraser and why they’re so useful to have at home.
You can also try using some charcoal pencils, which have a different finish, but I recommend using graphite instead.
Another option is going straight to color with some Prismacolor colored pencils.
P.S.: You should also have some sort of pencil sharpener! Got to keep those pencils pointy and ready.
When it comes to creating your artistic masterpiece, you need to choose the appropriate brushes for painting.
Brushes come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and knowing which one to use greatly affects the overall appearance of your artwork.
An assortment of paint brushes is essential for any artist, as each type serves a different purpose and caters to different painting styles. Good brushes can make or break your artistic vision, so it’s important to invest in high-quality options that will stand the test of time and repeated use.
The brushes I recommend are the Crafts 4 All Set of 12 Brushes (click to check the price on Amazon).
This brush set that I’ve linked you has a really amazing assortment of brushes of different types and shapes, there won’t be any other brush that you will need but those ones! It’s especially good to try different types of brushes.
For wide strokes, flat brushes are perfect as they create a smooth, even application of paint.
They are also great for blending colors, making them an ideal choice for landscape paintings or other scenes that require seamless transitions between hues.
On the other hand, round paintbrushes, with their pointed tip, are best suited for detailed work and precision strokes.
Filbert brushes (flat and oval-shaped) are versatile and can be used for both wide strokes and fine lines, making them a popular choice among artists.
Fan brushes are primarily used for blending and softening existing paint layers, adding a delicate touch to your art piece.
You can also try different bristle materials!
Natural bristles, such as hog hair, are stiffer and generally work well with oil and acrylic paints, while synthetic bristles are more suited for watercolors due to their softer texture.
Later on, if you wear out (or lose) one of those brushes, you can buy that specific brush. But for now, a big set is a better option for you. And they’re all excellent quality!
One of the most important painting supplies that you must buy is the actual paints.
There are many options to choose from. You have watercolor paints, acrylic paint sets, oil paints…
I recommend getting a set of paints with several colors you’ll use.
Although, if you’re on a budget, just get the ones you want to use one by one. For example, if you’re planning on painting only in black and white, it doesn’t make sense to get a whole wide array of colors that you’re never going to use.
On the other hand, if you want to paint bright summer forest scenes only, you’ll probably not need to buy very dark tones.
Another option is to just get the red, green and blue paints separately, and you can create any color you want! You just need to know some super basic Color Theory.
Depending on the medium you’re painting on, you have to decide on these major 3 paints:
- Watercolor Paint: If you prefer to work with washes and wet paint, here’s the watercolor paint set I recommend from Crafts 4 All on Amazon with 24 (!) different paints.
- Acrylic Paint: A great medium especially if you want to paint on wood, metal, fabrics or ceramics. Again, I recommend an Acrylic set from Crafts 4 All on Amazon with 24 different 12ml paint bottles.
- Oil Paint: Oil paints have their own texture and feel, some artists swear by this medium. A small downside is that it takes quite a long time to dry, but they keep their tones (without darkening) better than acrylic. So it’s very important to get a good set of oil paints. I recommend the Colore Oil Paint Set of 24 Colors on Amazon. They have beautifully rich pigments and are worth checking out.
You will need an artist palette to mix your paints. Even if you’re not mixing, you’ll still need somewhere to put your paints so you can use your brush.
There are countless different palettes that you can use, some are even DIY that you can make at home, but I’ll stick with the 2 main ones that you can and should get.
- Plastic Tray Palette: These are super simple and lets you use them over and over again. Since these painting palettes are washable, you can just use them and clean them right after. I recommend this Plastic 10-Well Tray. I do recommend you to get a few of them though so you don’t have to keep on washing them everytime you use one!
- Wooden Oval Palette: If you prefer to have a sturdy wood base, then you should consider getting a wooden palette. These oval palettes (or Pac-Man palettes as some people call them due to their shape) are pretty big and allow you to more easily mix colors throughout the entire board. My recommendation for this type of palette is the Richeson Wooden Palette, it has a nice selection of sizes and shapes and is easily washable. It also has good quality and durability.
Alright, this is a big one as well, you need a good painting surface to create your artwork!
Your painting Surface depends on what paint you’re using. Not all paper or panels can hold well every type of paint, so be careful to buy appropriate painting surfaces according to what you’re using!
Watercolor Paper: If you’re using watercolor paints, you’ll need some specific watercolor paper. My recommendation is to grab a pack of Canson XL Series Watercolor Textured Paper. This contains 30 sheets of really well-textured paper and is at a great size of 18 x 24 inches. There are also smaller size options, so check those out if you prefer to work in a smaller canvas.
Oil and Acrylic Paper: For painting with Oil or Acrylic, you’ll need a painting surface that holds those types of paint better. Otherwise, it’s going to become a mess. I recommend getting a pad of these Canson Canva-Paper Sheets that are almost like linen cloth. Perfect for working with both Oil and Acrylic.
As you can see, I’m a big fan of Canson. They really have some great paper with super sturdy quality.
Another option is to use a canvas Panel for your paintings.
I recommend the Blick Studio Cotton Canvas Panels. There are quite a few sizes to choose from to fit your needs and taste. If you’re just starting out, I would start with an 8×10 size and move up or down later on according to your liking!
If you choose to use a panel, it would be a good idea also to get an Easel, which I’ll talk about further below.
And there are some good sketchbooks for painting, here are my recommendations for each medium! Including mixed media, pastel, gouache and more.
Cup Of Water (or Jar)
So this is a pretty straightforward one.
You will need a cup or jar of water so that you can clean up your brushes after you use them.
If you don’t do this, the leftover paint on your brushes will start mixing with the new paint and create odd tones that you might not want.
So remember to keep a recipient with water nearby (be careful not to knock it over!) and clean your brushes often
Also be sure to have a paper or cloth towel to clean the excess paint from your brushes. Clogging up your artwork with paint that ends up sliding down your canvas, is generally not a good idea.
Extra Art Supplies For Painting
Now that we’ve gone over the essentials, let’s talk briefly about some cool extra art supplies that you can use for painting.
These aren’t quite necessary, but they will make a good addition to your overall painting process!
If you’re planning on getting a big canvas to paint on, or if you’re working on something that you want to hang around the room, an easel is a must.
An easel allows you to put the canvas/paper you’re working with at an angle, making it easier to paint, and more adjustable to your liking.
Normally easels are made from wood, but nowadays there are some very cool options that are sturdier and more adjustable.
There are two different easels that I recommend.
If you’d rather paint standing up, get an Artist Easel Stand from T-Sign (on Amazon). These have an adjustable height that can go from 21 to 66 inches! They are very adaptable for every taste, and if you treat them right, they will last you for a lifetime.
On the other hand, if you’d like a portable wooden solution that even includes a drawer to hold your brushes and other art supplies, get this Adjustable Desk Box Easel from Art Alternatives. It’s such an amazing all around tool that comes with 4 different positions that you can switch to. The only downside is that it only accommodates a canvas up to 11 x 14 inches.
Painting is messy, so you’ll need an apron!
No matter how careful you are using your paints and your brushes, you will get yourself dirty with paint. Now, most people already know this and use older clothes for painting, so that the damage isn’t as significant.
But the optimal solution is just to get an apron!
Any type of apron is fine, just make sure they are thick enough so that the paint doesn’t go through and ruins your clothes.
If you’d like a recommendation, I really love this Artist Apron by Tour (on Amazon).
The reasons are that it’s 1) very sturdy, 2) adjustable up to a XXL size, so you don’t have to worry too much about it not fitting you, and most importantly, 3) it has lots of pockets! Having places to keep your art supplies handy it’s amazing.
Most aprons just have either 1, 2 or NO pockets. This one has 10 different pockets!
P.S.: I love pockets.
If you want to get your artwork to the next level, get a palette knife.
In fact, get a pack with several palette knives!
Not only do palette knives help you a lot with mixing colors on your palette, but they can also be used to apply paint colors to your canvas itself.
Seriously, just look at this video from “KevinOilPainting” on Youtube, showing some super cool palette painting knife techniques to paint trees, rivers and more!
If you want to get your own, I recommend this Set Of Palette Knives by Blick. This is a very cool set since it includes different palette knives, allowing you to experiment with different techniques and see what you like the best!
Digital Art Supplies List
If you’re working on digital art instead, there are quite a few things that you should have!
Here’s a quick list:
- Drawing Software
- Drawing Tablet or Pen Display
- iPad or Android Tablet
- Drawing Stylus (or Apple Pencil, for the iPad)
- Reference Images (optional)
- Digital Brushes (optional)
- Cloud Storage service (optional)
One of the most fundamental items on a digital art supplies list is a reliable and somewhat powerful computer – typically a desktop or laptop – that has the capability to run high-quality drawing software.
These applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, or Clip Studio Paint (one of my favorites), provide artists with an intuitive platform on which they can create intricate and vibrant digital paintings, illustrations, and designs.
Another tool that most digital artists need is a Drawing Tablet or Pen Display. This allows a digital artist to draw directly on the screen with a pressure-sensitive stylus.
Alternatively, you can use an iPad or a standalone android tablet, and skip the need for a computer!
For the iPad, I really like using Procreate, although you can also use Clip Studio Paint. I’ve written a guide on the differences between Procreate and Clip Studio Paint here.
You’ll also want a Drawing Stylus, such as an Apple Pencil to go along your iPad, if you go the iPad route for digital art! Most of them have replacement nibs in case you wear yours out.
There are just a couple of other optional things that you might want for digital art supplies.
- High-quality reference images: Having good reference images is a must in any medium! But since it’s very easy to use digitally, I highly recommend using them.
- Digital Brushes: Most drawing software includes some great brushes! For example, here are the best pre-installed default brushes on procreate. With that said, there are thousands of brushes online for you to try. So be sure to experiment a bunch, such as watercolor pencils brushes, oil pastels, or tools that mimic graphite drawing pencils!
- Cloud Storage Service: A cloud storage service is super helpful and handy for digital artists. I recommend setting something up such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud. This allows you to have your work backed up safe and organized.
What are the best types of paint to use on canvas? Although canvas can be used with several different types of paint, the best types of paint to use on canvas are Acrylic paint and Oil paint.
Can I use watercolor paint on my canvas pad? I would totally NOT recommend using watercolor on canvas. The paint won’t dry well and will look drippy. Use some watercolor paper instead.
How should I start my painting sketch? It’s a personal preference, but I recommend starting with either a colored pencil sketch or a charcoal sketch. Colored pencils sketches are great since they are more transparent and it’s easier to work with. Charcoal is also a great choice if you’d like to use blending and smudging, as well as add more dark and light shades.
Patricia Caldeira is the main writer here at Don Corgi. She's an art teacher with over 20.000 happy students across many platforms and courses!
Enjoy your stay and as always:
Keep on drawing!