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Top 7 Must Haves for Beginner Artists

September 30, 2017


I often get asked by parents what we recommend they should have at home for art supplies or where they should start. So, I am happy to share my top 7 MUST HAVE art supplies at home for beginners.


First, I like to start with always remembering not to go crazy expensive! There is no need to purchase the best markers, pens or watercolors. Purchase what you can afford and learn to work with the tools you do have. Sure it's always nice to have an amazing set of Prisma color pencils, but let's get real here, we are just beginning to practice our art! :-)


Everything in this list is great for ages 2 and up. I will continue to include links of activity ideas that you can do with these materials. So do check back often!




This is my favorite watercolor set right now. Artist's Loft makes a really good watercolor set that is not only good quality, but also great with the budget. The colors are beautiful and the mess is minimal which is always a plus for any parent trying to keep things as tidy as possible. My daughter, Charley, who is 2 years old, uses it all the time at home and when she visits the studio. 


What you can do with watercolor? Paint on your new watercolor paper (we will talk about that next) or , paint on your sketch book or on your MY Chunky Pad by ALEX Toys (we will talk more about this, as well). You can purchase it on Amazon, but if you are like me and like to see things and touch things before you buy, I buy our daughter's pad at Target on the $5 aisle. 



2. Watercolor paper/books and/or My Chunky Pad


A lot of the times, parents buy their kids watercolor paint sets, but forget to purchase the paper to go with it. Then they use regular printer paper and the watercolors look muted and not as nice. Using quality paper is the best place to start to having really nice watercolor art. You can use paper from your printer, but it tends to fray as you add water and it doesn't serve the colors justice. I usually use printer paper when I am trying to show the technique and just to practice water control. 


I love to buy the Canson watercolor paper for my students and the little ones at home. It's inexpensive and does its job really well.  I usually purchase Canson XL 140lb Watercolor coldpress paper from Blick Art Supply in Paramus NJ. I like to purchase from Blick because if you are a preferred customer they give you the website deals. So you can always get a little more for your money. 


Another great option for artists that like to travel and take their art with them, is the Molenskine watercolor journals. Although, a little more on the expensive side, I like them because I believe in journaling your progress, keeping your work tidy and together all the time, and always either jotting down or drawing your ideas as soon as possible. 



The nice thing about watercolor paper is that you can used it for drawing, collages, painting, and much more. You can do simple things like taping off sections and painting each one a different color. If your child is still too young for that, I would just start by giving them the paint brush or markers and have them have at it.