Drawing and Painting

Studio Journal

Best Art Supplies for Beginners

Embarking on a journey into the world of drawing and painting is an exciting endeavour, but finding the right tools and materials can be daunting, especially when you’re just starting out. Whether you’re diving into a new hobby or attending a course for the first time, having the right supplies can make all the difference in your artistic exploration. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the best art supplies for beginners, curated to enhance your learning experience and unleash your creativity.

Drawing Essentials

Drawing Pencils: Start with a set of graphite pencils ranging somewhere around 2H to 6B. This variety will allow you to experiment with different shades and textures in your sketches. Brands like Faber-Castell or Derwent offer quality pencils ideal for beginners and the perfect place to start as you learn what they can do.

Sketchbooks: are deeply personal things. I recommend investing in a sturdy A3 sketchbook with acid-free paper as the larger format provides ample space for experimentation and practice. However there’s no harm in visiting your local art store and finding the one that is comfortable for you. Just look for a sketchbook with a medium tooth surface that can handle various drawing techniques without smudging or bleeding through the pages. Fingers crossed it’ll be the first of many!

Adding Colour

Watercolour Pencils: Watercolour pencils are wonderfully versatile tools that combine the precision of coloured pencils with the fluidity of watercolours. Brands like Derwent or Prismacolor offer reliable options for beginners as they allow you to control their intensity and experiment with blending techniques before we splash out on some paints.

Watercolour Paints: For those eager to explore traditional watercolour painting, opt for a beginner-friendly palette with a range of primary and secondary colours. You’ll be astounded at how many colours you can mix with a select few! Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolours or Sakura Koi Watercolours are excellent choices for beginners due to their quality and affordability. Coupled with a starter set of brushes including a few different shapes and sizes they will serve you very well for a long time!

Watercolour Paper: To complement your watercolour supplies, choose a heavyweight watercolour paper that can withstand the wet-on-wet technique and multiple layers of paint. Aim to as close to 300gsm as possible, with a textured cold-pressed surface which provides excellent absorbency and enhances the luminosity of your paintings. Brands like Arches or Canson offer reliable watercolour paper pads suitable for beginners, however my favourite for learning are the Stationary Islands Pads. A generous 50 sheets for a very reasonable price will have you painting without worrying about making mistakes on pricy paper.

Acrylic Paint Set: An alternative option if watercolour isn’t quite your thing Acrylic Paints are known for their fast-drying properties and vibrant colours, making them a favourite among beginners and seasoned artists alike. Invest in a basic set of acrylic paints that includes primary colours along with black and white for mixing. Brands like Daler-Rowney or  Liquitex Basics offer affordable options for beginners without compromising on quality. Be sure to grab a set of Synthetic Brushes too!

Canvas Boards: Pair your acrylic paints with canvas boards or panels for painting surfaces. Canvas boards are lightweight and easy to work with, making them ideal for layering paint up without the fear of paper deteriorating. They come in various sizes, allowing you to explore different compositions and subjects without breaking the bank.


Armed with these essential art supplies, you can embark on your artistic journey with confidence and enthusiasm. Remember, the key is not just in acquiring the materials but in dedicating time to practice and experimentation. Enjoy the process, trust your instincts, and let your creativity flourish on the canvas. Happy creating!

For a full shopping list of Materials for Beginners click here along with a few ‘nice to have’ extras, or some of my personal favourites can be found in this frequently refreshed post here!

Art Journal