A Newbie’s Guide to Painting

A Newbie's Guide to Painting

A Newbie’s Guide to Painting

Painting has a host of benefits, from improving your memory to helping you cope with stress and anxiety, making it a fantastic pastime for people of all ages and skill levels. If you’re thinking about picking up a paintbrush and trying this hobby on for size for the first time in your adult life, you probably have some questions, like, which paintbrush? And which paint? And do you really need to stock up on canvas panel boards, or can you just grab some printer paper?

If you’re new to painting, A Newbie’s Guide to Painting is for you.

Picking the Right Medium

Choosing the right paint is the first step in getting started. At your craft store, you’re likely to find five different types of paint:

  • Acrylic paints, which are extremely versatile and can be applied to virtually any stable surface, including canvas and watercolor paper
  • Oil-based paints, which are durable and provide a smooth, rich and glossy finish; this paint is slow-drying, allowing the artist to develop the painting gradually
  • Watercolor, a translucent, fast-drying paint
  • Gouache, a slow-drying, opaque paint that has a slightly chalky appearance; this paint tends to dry darker
  • Encaustic, a wax-based paint that is highly durable and deeply pigmented
    If you’re a newbie, water-based paints like acrylics, watercolor and gouache are the way to go. They’re easy to work with, easy to clean up and you don’t have to mess with toxic solvents.

Picking Your Colors

If your local craft store has every paint hue and shade imaginable, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by too many options. However, while you may expand your personal color palette over time, you really just need a few colors when you’re starting out. Get a couple monochrome paint colors like Ivory Black and Titanium White, the three primary colors, green and an earth tone like Raw Sienna. From these colors, you can make virtually any hue you could possibly need.

Picking Your Painting Surface

If you’re using acrylic paint, then you have a lot of flexibility as far as a painting surface. Acrylics work well on primed canvas panels, which can rest just as easily on an easel as a table or even your lap, as well as budget-friendly options like cardboard, wood or acrylic paper. If you’re using watercolor or gouache, you can use watercolor paper, which is available in a variety of textures and weights.

Picking Your Brushes

The brushes you choose have a significant impact on your finished painting, so if it’s feasible to do so, consider investing in quality. Good brushes hold their shape better and shed less as you’re using them. Select a brush with synthetic bristles about an inch wide, then choose two smaller brushes. If you’re working within a budget, consider purchasing a less expensive starter pack. This will give you the opportunity to see which sizes and shapes of brushes you use the most, and as you’re able to, you can replace them with higher quality brushes.

Miscellaneous Materials

Once you’ve got the basics, there are just a handful of items that you may also want to have on hand. You’ll need a container for water (such as a large yogurt container), some old rags, paper towel, a spray bottle, a disposable paint palette or paper plates, a palette knife to mix colors tape or clips to secure your paper to a board and an easel or table.

Once you’ve got your supplies, you’re ready to get started!

Mike LaTour

By Mike LaTour  | Owner Soundwave Art

I spent 17 years in the music industry and have always had a love of art. Combining music, sound, and art was a perfect fit. With the success of Soundwave Art™ and our augmented reality app we felt that Star Map Art needed an upgrade so we launched Augmented Reality Star Map Art!