Art Supplies Essentials: Quality Materials for All Mediums
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


When it comes to pursuing your creative journey, having the right art supplies is a game changer. Whether you're stepping into the world of watercolors or finding your rhythm with acrylics, a toolkit stocked with quality materials can make all the difference. This guide is here to help you build that toolkit, focusing on essential art supplies for every creative. We'll explore a range of mediums, from acrylic and oil paints to drawing pencils and pastels, ensuring you're equipped with everything you need to bring your ideas to life.

Select the Right Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a favorite medium for many artists and is a must-have in your creative toolkit. But remember, not all acrylic paints are created equal. Let's talk about how to pick quality acrylics that will allow you to create vibrant, long-lasting artworks.

1. Pigmentation: The pigment is what gives the paint its color. High-quality acrylic paint will have a high pigment concentration, producing vibrant colors that won't fade over time.

2. Consistency: Acrylic paints come in different consistencies, from fluid to heavy body. Fluid acrylics are smooth and great for detailed work, while heavy body acrylics are thick and ideal for textured, impasto work.

3. Drying Time: Acrylic paint is known for its quick drying time, but this can vary between brands. Some artists prefer a fast-drying paint for layering, while others opt for a slower drying time to allow for blending.

4. Brand: Brands like Golden, Liquitex, and Winsor & Newton are renowned for their quality acrylic paints. While these might be pricier than other brands, investing in good-quality paint can really boost the quality of your work.

Choosing the right acrylic paint is just the first step in building your toolkit with quality materials for various mediums. Remember that the best paint for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the style of your artwork. So, experiment and find what suits your creative needs. After all, creating art is a personal journey, and your supplies should reflect that.

Pick the Perfect Watercolor Set

Watercolors have their own charm. There's something about the way they blend and bleed on paper that creates unique, captivating effects. If you're looking to include watercolors in your essential art supplies, here are some pointers to pick the perfect set:

1. Quality: You'll find student-grade and artist-grade watercolors. While student-grade is more affordable, artist-grade offers superior pigment quality and longevity. Brands like Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, and M. Graham are well-regarded.

2. Colors: A set with a broad range of colors may seem tempting, but it's not always necessary. A basic set with primary colors—red, blue, yellow—can mix a wide range of hues. It's all about understanding color theory!

3. Pans or Tubes: Watercolors come in pans (hard, dry cakes) or tubes (soft, wet paint). Pans are great for on-the-go sketching, while tubes are preferred for larger works.

4. Paper: Yes, the paper matters! Watercolor paper is thicker to absorb water without warping. Look for 100% cotton, cold-pressed paper for best results.

Every artist has their own preferred medium, and if watercolors are your calling, investing in a high-quality set can be a game changer. Remember, building your toolkit with quality materials for various mediums is an important step to becoming the creative you aspire to be. Happy painting!

Choose Quality Oil Paints

Oil paints, with their rich, lustrous colors and incredible blending abilities, are a favorite among many artists. So, if you're an artist looking to enrich your toolkit with this versatile medium, here's how to choose quality oil paints:

1. Quality Grades: Like watercolors, oil paints come in student and artist grades. For a richer pigment and smoother texture, artist-grade paints like those from Winsor & Newton or Gamblin are the way to go. These brands are known for their quality materials, making them an essential part of your art supplies.

2. Color Variety: When it comes to oil paints, a wider color palette can be beneficial. However, starting off with the primary colors and a few earth tones can also work well. You'd be amazed at the different shades you can create with just a handful of colors!

3. Mediums: Oil paints require a medium to adjust the paint's consistency and drying time. Linseed oil is a popular choice, while other options include stand oil and poppy seed oil.

4. Brushes: Brushes make a big difference in oil painting. Hog bristle brushes are a good choice for their stiffness, which stands up to the thickness of oil paint.

So whether you're just starting out or a seasoned artist, remember to focus on quality when choosing oil paints. This way, you can build your toolkit with confidence, and create art that not only expresses your creativity, but also lasts a lifetime.

Find the Best Drawing Pencils

Drawing pencils are the backbone of any artist's toolkit. Whether you're sketching a preliminary piece or creating a detailed masterpiece, the right pencils can make a world of difference. So, let's talk about how to find the best drawing pencils for every creative:

1. Consider the grades: Pencil lead comes in various hardness levels, from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest). A range of H and B pencils will give you the flexibility you need for different shading and line work. For example, Faber-Castell's 12-piece set offers a good variety of grades.

2. Look for quality: A high-quality pencil will have a centered lead that won't break easily, and a wood casing that's comfortable to hold. Brands such as Derwent and Staedtler are known for their durable, high-quality pencils.

3. Try before you buy: If possible, test out a few different brands and grades to see what works best for you. Everyone's hand and style are different, so what works for one artist may not work for another.

Remember, the best pencil is the one that feels right for you. As you continue to build your toolkit, you'll discover which materials bring out the best in your work. So, go ahead and try a few out—your inner artist will thank you!

Identify Superior Pastels

Next up in our journey through essential art supplies is the vibrant world of pastels. If you've ever been amazed by the soft, blendable colors in a pastel artwork, you might be itching to try this medium yourself. But how do you find superior pastels? Let's discuss:

1. Type Matters: Pastels come in two main types: soft and oil. Soft pastels, like those by Mungyo or Rembrandt, are great for blending and covering large areas. Oil pastels, like those from Sennelier or Van Gogh, are perfect for bold, intense colors and detailed work.

2. Quality Counts: High-quality pastels have a higher concentration of pigment, which results in richer, more vibrant colors. They're also less likely to crumble or break. While they may be pricier, the difference in quality is noticeable.

3. Experience is Key: Like most art supplies, what works best for you might take some experimenting. Don't be afraid to test different brands and types until you find your perfect match.

Remember, the right materials can make a big difference in your creative journey. So take the time to find the pastels that will allow your artistic vision to shine. Who knows, you might just create your next masterpiece!

How to Select Good Quality Brushes

Let's paint a new picture in our quest for essential art supplies: selecting good quality brushes. Brushes are the magic wands of the art world, affecting how your paint applies and blends. So, how can you find the right ones for your toolkit? Let's brush up on some facts:

1. Consider the Bristles: Brushes come with either natural or synthetic bristles. Those like the Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes have natural bristles that hold paint well and spread it smoothly. Synthetic brushes, like the Liquitex Professional Freestyle series, are durable and work well with acrylics.

2. Size and Shape Matter: Flat, round, fan, filbert — brushes come in many shapes and sizes. Each one serves a unique purpose, so having a variety in your toolkit is a good idea. A round brush is excellent for detail work, while a flat brush is great for broad strokes and filling large areas.

3. Quality Over Quantity: While it may be tempting to buy a large set of brushes, quality is more important. A few good brushes can serve you better than a plethora of subpar ones. Look for brushes that don’t shed bristles and have a well-built handle and ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles).

Remember, the brush might not make the artist, but the right brush can definitely enhance your artwork. So, take the time to choose wisely. Happy painting!

Pick the Right Canvas or Paper

Now that we've got our brushes sorted out, let's move onto another essential art supply: the canvas or paper. This is the stage where your art comes alive, so choosing the right one is key. Whether you're sketching a still life or painting a landscape, your choice of canvas or paper can make a world of difference.

1. Choosing the Right Canvas: If you intend to work with oil or acrylic paints, a quality canvas is crucial. Pre-stretched canvases, like the Arteza Stretched Canvas, offer a ready-to-use option. They come already primed, saving you time and effort. Alternatively, canvas boards or panels, like the ones from Mont Marte, are perfect for smaller works and practice pieces.

2. Picking the Perfect Paper: For watercolors, pastels, or drawing, the right paper is essential. For watercolor, a heavyweight, textured paper like Arches Watercolor Paper can handle the medium without warping. For drawing, a smooth surface like Strathmore Series 400 Sketch Pads allows for precise lines and shading. Pastel artists may prefer a paper with a bit more "tooth" like the Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper, to grip the pigment.

Remember, your canvas or paper is the foundation of your artwork. Just like building a house, a strong foundation is key. So, don't skimp on this essential art supply. Your artwork will thank you!

Why Good Lighting Matters

Let's shed some light on another essential art supply: good lighting. Ever tried to color-match in dim light or sketch in a poorly lit room? It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack—frustrating and nearly impossible! Good lighting is a must-have for every creative artist, helping you to see true colors and fine details.

Natural Light: Nothing beats the sun when it comes to the best light source—it's free, abundant, and emits a full spectrum of colors. If you can, set up your workspace near a window or under a skylight. But remember, the sun moves throughout the day, changing the quality of light. So, you might need to adjust your setup or work schedule accordingly.

Artificial Light: When natural light isn't an option, artificial lights step up to the plate. Adjustable desk lamps like the BenQ e-Reading LED Desk Lamp offer a range of color temperatures and brightness levels. You can tweak them to mimic different times of the day—pretty nifty, right? For larger workspaces, a standing lamp like the Phive LED Floor Lamp can provide broad, consistent light.

Good lighting doesn't just make your art-making process easier—it also protects your eyes from strain. So, invest in quality lighting, and you'll be well on your way to building a toolkit that supports your creative journey in every way.

If you're interested in learning more about the essential art supplies for various mediums, be sure to check out the workshop titled 'Get to Know Your Art Supplies' by Arianne Jeri. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and recommendations on choosing quality materials, ensuring you make the most out of your artistic pursuits.