Art Tutorials/Traditional Media/Painting

There are many types of painting mediums - oils, acrylics, watercolor, ink, etc. It should be noted that each type of paint requires different materials.

In General edit

For all forms of painting other than water-based media, ventilation is important in order to avoid breathing in potentially harmful fumes. This is especially true for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women, people with respiratory issues, and children/teenagers. If you fall into any of those groups, consult a doctor before painting. Take precautions while painting as well.

To start painting, you will need:

  • For solvent-based media, a well-ventilated area - fans and open windows are recommended.
  • Canvases and/or paper. Be aware that there are different canvases/papers made for different mediums, though with care most supports can be used for any paint. Especially for oil-based media, it is important to use a surface primed with a ground such as gesso, as this prevents unwanted chemical reactions with the paint, which can lead to the deterioration of the work.
  • Brushes - Basic brush sets can be found at hobby and art supply stores. Be mindful that many cheaper brush bristles come off easily. Different techniques and types of paint will suggest the use of different brushes: Typically, oil paints will require the stiffest bristles, and watercolors the softest. Brushes for acrylics tend to fall between these two.

Oils edit

Oils are one of the most popular mediums in painting. While they are widely used, it should be noted that oils (and solvents) are toxic, and one should only use oils in a well-ventilated room, or even outdoors. Because of the toxicity, pregnant and/or breastfeeding women are advised not to use oils and solvents while painting.

What you'll need:

  • Oil paint
  • Solvent/Paint Thinner - Turpentine is a popular one, but is also toxic. There are more environmentally-friendly and healthy solvents out there, and some can even be made at home.
  • Palette for mixing paints - most oil painters use flat palettes of non-absorbent materials, such as glass or metal, though some still use traditional wood palettes. In a pinch, a large ceramic dish can be used.
  • Palette knife - not required, but very useful for mixing paint and for certain application techniques.

Acrylics edit

Acrylics are a water-based type of paint. No solvents are required, all that is needed for cleanup is water. This makes acrylics a more budget- and health-friendly option, but precautions should still be taken.

What you'll need:

  • Acrylic paint
  • Water
  • Palette for mixing paints - similar to an oil paint palette.
  • Palette knife - useful for mixing paint and for special application techniques.

Watercolor edit

Watercolors are known for having a very airy and transparent appearance. This effect is achieved by dabbing pigment onto puddles of water on the paper.

What you'll need:

  • Watercolors
  • Palette for mixing paints - watercolor palettes tend to have wells for individual colors and large flat wells for mixing. Most available models are made of plastic or metal.
  • Watercolor paper

Ink edit

Ink painting is lesser-known, but is popular in parts of Asia like China and Japan. Usually, ink paintings are done in black-and-white.

What you'll need:

  • Ink - Sumi ink and India ink are the most popular. Sumi ink has a more matte appearance while India ink is shiny.
  • Paper