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Essential Art Supplies to Begin Acrylic Painting

Welcome to painting with acrylics! I understand that starting a new hobby can be overwhelming, which is why I've put together a simple list of essential art supplies that are affordable to help get you started.

Whether you're new to painting or just looking to refresh your supplies, these are the ones I use and love. All you need is 5 simple supplies to begin painting. You can also use what you have or get what fits your budget.

What you need to know about supplies to get started

If you're new to acrylic painting and would like to learn more about the art supplies listed below, I highly recommend watching this video on my YouTube channel: "Learn to Paint with Acrylics : All You Need to Know to Get Started".

In this video, I discuss the art supplies I recommend, and how to use them. You'll also learn some helpful tips and tricks to make your painting experience more successful and enjoyable.

Canvas on an easel for painting supplies you need for acrylic painting

#1 Painting Surface

The foundation of any painting, canvases are a must-have for beginner artists. I recommend starting with 8x8" or 8x10" canvases or canvas panels. The panels are thinner, so they make it easier for framing. 

If you need to save money on supplies, an option is using watercolor paper with a weight of 140lb or heavier so that less buckling occurs.

If you choose to use watercolor paper, make sure to gesso it first to ensure the paint adheres properly. Basically, canvases already have a layer of gesso on them, so you are just applying that layer of gesso to the paper you want to use. If you don't, the acrylics will soak into the paper like watercolor paints.

I prefer using canvases, but you are welcome to get creative with your surface choices.

#2 Acrylic Paints

My favorite brand of acrylic paints is Liquitex Heavy Body, this is what I use in almost all of my tutorials. I recommend starting with a basic set of 12 colors that include the primary colors, which you can mix to create any color you need.

Feel free to use the paints you already have or try other brands. Keep in mind that by getting a set with more colors, you will save time with mixing. If you haven't learned how to mix colors, you can enjoy it as one of the 5 FREE art lessons when you subscribe.

#3 Paintbrushes

A good set of paintbrushes is essential for achieving the desired effects in your paintings. But they don't have to be expensive! I take the guesswork out on finding the right size and shapes by recommending this set that includes most of the brushes you need to paint along with in my tutorials.

You will also want to have a wash brush around 1" to paint backgrounds and larger objects.

#4 Palette

A palette is necessary for mixing paint, keeping them wet, and storing them. My favorite palettes are the Sta-wet palette and Red Grass XL, both of which keep your acrylics wet for an entire month. This means you can mix your paints just once a month and paint with me each week, using the colors protected inside your palette.

#5 Sketching Supplies

Depending on your drawing skills, I recommend getting both graphite transfer paper if you need help drawing using my traceable in my workshops and for free-hand sketches using watercolor pencils. Both allow you to easily wipe away mistakes from your canvas with just a little water on a paper towel.

Yay! You're Ready to Begin!

I hope this list helps give you confidence as you begin your acrylic painting journey. Once you have your supplies, you are ready to begin painting with me. I can't wait!

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. Happy painting!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”