I wanted to write this post because I see so many beginners fall into the trap of buying too many materials at first. When the term starts I usually get several learners who ask what do they need to buy, this is understandable because you want to be ready for the course with all the right materials. I have some important advice for you that I think makes sense, so read this before you start spending!
Many learners do get very anxious about materials and worry about getting the exact shade of paint or a certain brand. Some of this happens because an art tutor has given out a list of very specific materials. I don’t agree with this idea because when you get a list that is so exacting it is usually the brands, tints and colours that your tutor uses. You maybe different!
I never follow lists like this to the letter and as a tutor I don’t give out materials lists like this. The truth is there are a few options, treat a materials list as a general guide.
Buy As You Go
Often you don’t have to get all the materials at once. On my courses I advise my learners to buy the materials after I have done the ‘acrylic talk’ or the ‘oils talk’ because I am able to advise and save them costly purchases.
I know how easy it is to get carried away in art shops and want to buy everything, but try to hold off, when you are more knowledgeable you will make better purchases.
Spend on The Basics
Starting art is a bit like building a wardrobe you want to get the basic pieces first before you get into the fancy things. So forget the varnishes, mediums, gloss finishes, gold leaf and the other ‘fancy’ items. Spend wisely on the basics and by the basics I mean pencils, a good sketchpad, a soft eraser and a plastic folder for storage. I have written a post on what I consider the essentials for the beginner see What are the Essential Materials for Beginners?
Only Buy the Primary Colours in Paints
When you start painting you should be learning how to mix colours so you only need to buy the primary colours. The primaries are red, blue and yellow and a white. I don’t like to use black in painting because you can make dark colours with the primaries. You will learn much more if you don’t buy all the colours but mix your own and it will save your pennies too.
Also see my posts on colour mixing if you would like to learn more about colours How Can I Learn about Colour?