Acrylic Painting Supply List

These are the products I use in my own artwork

(These are the acrylic painting supplies that I personally use. For me, the airbrush is a must-have item for the type of acrylic painting that I use, so I will be including my airbrushing supplies on this list as well. I want to add that these are not the end all of painting supplies, they are just what I personally enjoy working with.

Paints

  • Liquitex Basics – While these have the added bonus of being fairly inexpensive, the price has nothing to do with why I love them. These paints have a nearly matte finish, which allows for the airbrush paint to stick quite well to it, and it allows me to draw my next layers out with a white charcoal pencil, or use transfer paper if I’ve drawn my project out on another piece of paper. Glossier paints like the heavy bodied Liquitex don’t work great for this. These paints blend well for how I work. If you prefer a glossier finish (like I do), you can use a gloss varnish when you’re done to give you a more oil painting look. The set I linked are tiny little tubes that don’t last that long, but it’s a great start. You can purchase the larger tubes as you run out.
  • Liquitex Heavy Bodied – While I rarely use these because of what I mentioned above, they are a nice paint. They dry faster than the Liquitex basics but they have some beautiful colors that just aren’t available in the Liquitex basics. The main two reasons I might choose to use this paint are 1) the pigment/consistency of certain colors. Some of the yellows, magentas, and oranges in the basics are almost gooey and don’t work well for some types of blending I need. In those cases, I switch to the heavy bodied paints. 2) If I am painting with texture. This paint is much thicker so if you want heavier brush strokes like you would see in impressionism or in a looser style of painting then this paint works better. You will want more colors than the 6 pack I’ve linked, but it’s a start!
  • Liquitex Soft Body Paint  – I mainly use the soft bodied liquitex when I do acrylic pours. It’s more pigmented than the Liquitex basics and there are more color choices. If I want more opaque colors for any reason, these are the ones I go for. They have a higher gloss finish than the Liquitex basics which isn’t ideal for my methods, but they are a great paint. 
  • Golden High Flow Airbrush Paint  This is my  go to airbrush paint. It flows beautifully through the airbrush and the colors and lightfast ratings on most colors are wonderful! 
  • Holbein Airbrush Paint – This is another great airbrush paint. Like the Golden, it rarely clogs my airbrush and there is a great variety of colors. 

Varnish

  • Liquitex Gloss Varnish If you’re unfamiliar with varnishing your work, I show you how in this video!
  • Krylon Matte Spray Depending on the situation, sometimes I find it best to spray this onto my canvas first to prevent smudging of the paint when applying the Liquitex Gloss Varnish.

Brushes

The brands aren’t as big of a deal for me with the brushes I use.  Many of my current favorites are the generic Masters Touch from Hobby Lobby. They go on sale for half price every few weeks so you can stock up then if you have a Hobby Lobby near you. The Hobby Lobby links are not affiliate links. 

These are not the only brushes I use, but they are a great start! 

You will want several sizes of each of these brushes. 

  •  Synthetic Hog Haired Liner Brush – I use my #1, #2, and #3 sizes the most. If you’re only going to get one size, go with the #2
  •  Golden Taklon Filbert – The filberts are the brush I use more than any other. They have the rounded end so that the brush stroke start/end is softer than what you will get on a flat brush. 
  • Golden Taklon Flat – I don’t use these as often, but they are great for getting straight edges. 
  • Golden Taklon Round– multiple sizes
  • Mop Brush – My favorite mop brush isn’t a paint brush, it’s a powder brush (for makeup). These don’t shed like paint brushes do. When shopping for a powder brush, you want a long, light weight handle for it to work well as a mop brush. A short or heavy handled brush won’t give you the freedom of motion you need for this brush. 

 Canvas

After a lot of bad experiences with generic canvases (most big chain art stores now only carry their own generic canvases and they are absolute crap, warping stretcher bars, badly primed etc), I only use Fredrix canvases now. If you are in North Texas, check out Asel art supplies. They have Fredrix canvases in their stores for half price all the time. This is where I purchase my canvases.  You can purchase them through their website too. This is definitely worth it if you’re placing a large order

Miscellaneous 

  • Water well – To clean your brushes. I also use the Paint Puck water well. Either will work. 
  • PaletteI wrap this in tin foil. If you let the paint dry between sessions you can use the back of the tin foil the next time.
  • White Charcoal Pencil
  • Water Soluble Graphite Pencil – If you like to draw things onto your canvas before you paint (which I don’t recommend in most cases with acrylics given how fast it dries. I like to paint from my background and work forward drawing/painting in the subjects as I go with the white charcoal pencil or transfer paper), use a water-soluble graphite pencil. This way you don’t end up with graphite lines you can’t cover up later on.
  • Tracing Paper – If you want to keep your work really clean, draw your subject onto tracing paper first, then use transfer paper to transfer it onto the canvas after you paint your background.
  • White Transfer Paper – Loew Cornell – Use white on dark backgrounds. Your tracing paper needs to be as big as your canvas, but the transfer paper does not, you can move smaller pieces around as you trace it out.
  • Grey Transfer Paper – Loew Cornell – Use grey for lighter backgrounds
  • Badger Single Action Airbrush – This one is a single action which means you have no control over how thin or thick your lines are. I only use it for misting water for wet into wet blending. You will need a can of air to go with this.
  • The Masters Brush Cleaner
  • Liquitex Glazing Medium   Usually I just use water to thin my paints, but depending on certain factors I will sometimes use a glazing medium. This is my go-to brand! You can see how I use it in this video!

Airbrush

If you’re going to go farther into using the airbrush, then these are some of the supplies I use:

The links on this page (besides Hobby Lobby) are my Amazon affiliate links.  

Several years ago I got fed up with poor quality canvases and stopped using anything but Fredrix Artist Canvas. When they later contacted me about a sponsorship I thought it was a perfect fit! I’ve since had the opportunity to try all sorts of their canvases, everything from gallery wrapped, linen, round, convexo and many more. All that I’ve used from Fredrix has always been perfect! I really can’t imagine using anything else at this point!

Don’t leave your brushes sitting in your paint water! While it may look fancy in the photo above, this is one of the fastest ways to ruin the bristles of your paint brushes. Even a couple of minutes of sitting in water can fray and damage your bristles. To make your brushes last longer, rinse them then lay them flat to dry.

Sooner or later your brushes will get damaged, either by leaving them in the paint water or simply forgetting to clean them properly. Don’t throw them away!! Damaged brushes can sometimes create effects you simply can not get with a new brush! Some of my favorite brushes are actually very old damaged brushes.

If you like to apply a high gloss varnish to your finished paintings like I do, make sure to take photos of your work BEFORE you varnish! The high gloss makes it very difficult to get good photos of your work because of the glare it can cause.

See how I varnish my Acrylic Paintings

Generally speaking, I avoid brushes with very short bristles. They don’t last long and they don’t allow you to get nice long brush strokes before having to reload the brush, which can create a rougher look than you may want. The brushes above are all brushes I use myself.