My recommendations on what to buy

This list is based on my book called No-Fuss Guide to Oil Painting. I highly recommend you checking it if you haven't done it already.

I believe that if you're a beginner keen on trying oil paints, you should aim to make your practice enjoyable and unburdened by complexities or high costs. This approach enables you to create artworks, without the worry of overspending. Ultimately, this leads to more practice, better results, and a happier you.

Presented below is a list of my favorite art materials.

Please note, all included links are affiliate.

Oil Paints
My favourite oil paints in terms of price and quality are Van Gogh by Royal Talens.
Here are the colors that I recommend buying:

  1. Titanium White. LINK
  2. Yellow Ochre. LINK
  3. Cadmium Red Medium. LINK
  4. Ivory Black. LINK
  5. Ultramarine. LINK
  6. Cadmium Yellow. You can pick light or medium. Both are great, one is just lighter while the other is darker. LINK to medium or LINK to light

The first 4 represent the Zorn palette. It's perfect for portraits and artworks in traditional colors. You can find a lot of swatches and lesson with this palette. I've added 2 extra colors to this list (blue and yellow) in case if you want to paint landscapes. More information about it you can find in my book No-Fuss Guide to Oil Painting.

I would highly recommend not to buy a lot of different mediums straight away but instead just use a linseed oil and get used to it:

  1. Bleached or Refined Linseed Oil. LINK

And everyone's favourite varnish to cover you painting afterwards:

  1. Gamvar Varnish. It can be glossy, matte or satin. If you are not sure which one to pick – go for a satin one, it's somewhere in-between these versions. LINK

I think it's a great idea to buy yourself a set of brushes. There can be different brushes (synthetic, bristle, etc.) or just different sizes of the same brush.

I've picked a few sets for you:

  1. Inexpensive beginner synthetic set. LINK
  2. Inexpensive beginner hog bristle set. LINK
  3. Different shapes. LINK
  4. Different types. LINK
I can call the first 2 sets basic ones while the next ones (3 and 4) are definitely a nice addition if you want to have some fun and test different things (they are pricey but can be a great present!).

I'm in love with oil paper and everyone knows that (because I've mentioned that way too many times). Here are my favs:

  1. Rembrandt oil paper. Link to different sizes
  2. Van Gogh oil paper. Amazon UK or US
  3. Cobra oil paper. Link A4 or A3
  4. Fabriano Tela oil paper. Link to different sizes

All of them are very similar so pick the one that has a discount =)

Other materials that you will definitely need if you want to work with oil paints:

  1. Wooden Palette. I recommend not to pick big ones. As for the shape – it's totally up to you, pick the one that seems more artistic and fun. Link
  2. Plastic Palette. Oval or rectangular
  3. Palette Cup. Please, use the one that has a lid. I use this one – Link
  4. Palette Knife. I use a pretty small one so it's easier to mix paints with it. But you can also buy a set and work on canvas with them. They can create beautiful brush palette knife strokes. Link to my knife or check these sets: a traditional one and this super fun (I need this one!).

Mental Health
In my books I always mention that mental health greatly influences whether an artist becomes successful or not.

I prefer books that have exercises and require some work on your side rather then purely motivational ones. Here is the list of my favourites:

  1. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem. It's a great book to prove the need of a good self esteem in your everyday life and career. Also, there are tips and exercises. Amazon UK or US
  2. The Happiness Trap: Stop Struggling, Start Living. A great book with a lot of exercises that can help you when you feel anxious. Amazon UK or US
  3. When Panick Attacks. Amazon UK or US
  4. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Amazon UK or US
Books 3 and 4 are very similar inside (especially in terms of exercises) so pick the book based on the problem that worries you more – anxiety (When Panick Attacks) or depression (Feeling Good).

I always mention that you don't need to use professional paints and have a wide range of colors to create a masterpiece. You need knowledge, practice and love to be able to master the skills of oil painting.

More Knowledge
Before we wrap up this post, I'd love to share with you my passion project that might help you on your artistic journey. I've designed a series of books called 'No-Fuss Guide' that is explicitly crafted for artists – 'Guide to Oil Painting', 'Style', 'Color 1' and 'Color 2'. From mastering technique to unlocking color theory, these books cover it all.

As a token of my appreciation for your continued support, I'm offering the 'Guide to Oil Painting' absolutely free. My goal is to make this engaging and beautiful art form accessible to everyone. The other books are competitively priced and are monumental resources in assisting with your growth as an artist.

So grab these books today, and let's navigate the world of oil painting together, one brushstroke at a time!

We are happy to answer your questions.

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