If you have an older child or teen who is passionate about art, then I encourage you to do all you can to cultivate and nurture that passion. One of the ways you can support your aspiring artist is to provide him or her with quality art supplies. It’s time to go beyond the “cheapest” grades and begin providing them with supplies of a higher caliber.
The quality of the supplies will absolutely affect the quality of the final piece.
But don’t despair! There are plenty of great “student grade” products that cost a lot less than the professional ones, but are almost as good. 😉
As an artist, I’ve learned through trial and error which supplies are better and which ones to never buy again. So, if you’re ready to invest in your budding artist, I can save you the time and wasted money by giving you a list of quality art supplies at lower- to mid-range prices. (Click here to see my Ultimate List of Art Supplies for Your Creative Teen, but I warn you, it’s massive!)
To be honest, I buy most of my supplies through Amazon because they’re usually much cheaper and I can get most of my products delivered to my door (for FREE) within 2 days via my Prime Membership.
So without further ado, here are what I believe to be the…
10 Essential Art Supplies Your Aspiring Artist Must Have
(1) Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints – If your young artist has only been using acrylic craft paints, it’s time for an upgrade. The rich and creamy texture of these student-grade acrylic paints make them a joy to paint with. Plus, the “Basics” come in traditional artist color pigments and are intermixable with Liquitex Profressional Grade Acrylics.
(2) Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours – Pan and “cake” style watercolors can be quite frustrating when trying to learn this tricky medium. These student-grade tube watercolors provide beautiful, rich hues and last and last! Be sure to grab them a nice portable palette so they can take their paints on a nature walk.
(3) MyArtscape Paintbrushes – I’ve bought LOTS and LOTS of paint brushes over the years (and just got in a new set today – it’s a sickness)! 😉 But these are without a doubt my favorite brand! The synthetic bristles are soft, but firm, oh, so luxurious! These can be used with both acrylic and watercolor paints.
(4) General’s Charcoal Pencil Kit – This is a fantastic basic set of charcoal pencils, including my favorite white charcoal pencil, as well as my favorite kneadable eraser! (I feel like I’m starting to gush over art supplies. Sorry.) Charcoal is an absolute necessity if your artist wants to go beyond sketching with regular graphite pencils. And don’t forget to grab this pack of blending stumps (with a chamois and stump sander) for proper shading.
(5) Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils – These are some of the best quality colored pencils you can get, with high grade pigments making for richer colors. Prismacolor also makes a student-grade called, Scholar, which are less than half the price of this set with the same amount of pencils. The Scholar colored pencils are a nice quality as well.
(6) Pentel Arts Oil Pastels – These pastels give you vivid hues and are easily blended with olive or baby oil. I’m not a huge fan of the dust and mess chalk pastels create, so these oil pastels are perfect. Plus you can use them with watercolors to create beautiful oil “resists.”
(8) Stretched Canvases or Canvas Panels – Your artist needs to be able to create on canvas on a regular basis The most common (and I think, the best) substrate for acrylic painting, oil painting, and mixed media art is canvas. You can get canvases in various sizes from 2″x 2″ all the way up to gigantic. Get an assorted selection and let your kid or teen create until their heart’s content!
(9) Hot Press Watercolor Pad or a Mixed Media Art Journal – Hot press watercolor pads have smooth and sleek feel, whereas cold press pads are rougher and bumpy. I prefer painting on the smoother surface. If you’re wanting something your kid or teen can take on a nature walk, a mixed media art journal is a great size, and it is designed for multiple mediums: watercolor, acrylics, colored pencils, charcoal, etc.
(10) Table Easel – It is essential that your aspiring artist has some sort of easel for medium and larger canvases. I have several floor easels, but most of the time I simply use this H-frame tabletop easel. It’s sturdy, stable and easily moved around so I can paint at the kitchen table while chatting with my teens or in the living room while watching a movie with my husband (but it mostly resides on my studio table).
Of course, there are plenty of other fabulous art supplies to add to your aspiring artist’s stash, (click here for my ultimate art supplies list) but these are, in my opinion, the “must-haves” if you want to give your kid or teen a well-rounded experience with various art mediums.
*Give your artist a chance to use his or her creativity (and art supplies) on a weekly basis by signing him or her up for our Weekly Art Challenge!
If you have any questions about any of these products, or if you’d like to let us know your favorite “essential” art supply, please comment below!
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Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.