Getting started with art: a beginners guide to creating your first art toolkit
Need a reason to spend time making art? Research shows that artistic hobbies have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Art therapy, in particular, has been shown to lower stress - for beginners as well as professional types.
Aside from all that, art is just FUN. An excuse to channel our artistry and splash some colours around. A chance to crack open a wooden easel and painting supplies, get mindful and make something great.
Here's what you might need to get you going.
Get inspired to create
Take some time to find your creative motivation. First step: look at art (lots of it!) in galleries, museums and online. Find your inspiration in fashion or architecture, or tap into everyday things that move and interest you, like nature, memories and feelings.
When you see something that excites you, take a photo or screenshot, and create a special image gallery for your favourite visuals. You can even search online for "creative prompts for artists" if you need an extra push.
Get some artistic know-how
Now your inner artist is awake, they might need a bit of guidance before putting pencil to paper (or paint to canvas). YouTube is great for how-to videos, or head to your local library for a deeper dive with instructional books. You might even look out for local art clubs and courses, if you fancy a bit of socialising with your creativity!
Make your artist space
If you have the space, it's great to dedicate a room, table, or corner to your new hobby. Ideally somewhere light and airy, where you can leave all your art bits and bobs on display. This saves time setting up and packing down for every session, and it's also a prompt for you to create whenever you can. If this isn't available, try and dedicate a cupboard, drawer or storage tub to hold all your art stuff. The idea is to make it as easy and quick as possible to get going.
Make art your 'me time'
One great thing about taking up art as a hobby is it helps create some 'me time' in your schedule. Try being consistent (for instance, every Sunday 3pm), and make it known to others in your household - even if you have to hang a 'Do Not Disturb' sign! If that seems impossible, aim to create smaller pockets of time. Wake up earlier a couple of times a week, or use your commute time for sketching or watching instructional vids.
However you find the time, let yourself be in the moment, and focus on your making.
Assemble your art kit
Once your inspiration is all fired up, you'll need some artist's essentials to get going on your creative journey. What techniques excite you most? Think about the materials and tools you'll need, and build out a starter kit from there. No need to blow the budget, either. Go for bargain options and remember - you can always add to your kit over time!
Art supplies are fun to buy, and we have a huge range to choose from. To make things easier, we've broken down some of our most popular art products into different price categories, so you'll always know the best options for your personal art kit.
1. Art pencils
Great for quick sketches as well as more elaborate works, pencils belong in any art kit. Plus, they're portable: use them on the bus to work, while travelling, or throw them in a backpack for your next bushwalk.
Hobby-grade paint - for example, acrylics rather than oils - is a great choice when you're just starting out and developing your skills. There's less pressure to get everything 'perfect', so feel free to have a go and express yourself!
Better: Pebeo Studio Acrylics
3. Paint brushes
If you want to channel your inner painter, brushes are a must-have. For water colour, go for round brushes in different sizes. For acrylic paint, aim for a range of flat brushes to create your masterpiece.
Good: Semco paintbrush range
Better: Reeves paintbrush range
Foam brushes are a less conventional way of applying paint, but if you're into unusual textures, repetitive patterns or interesting abstracts, then get experimenting!
Good: Semco Brushes & Sponges
Better: Francheville Foam Brush
5. Painting and sketch pads
Paper comes in different weights and textures, so figure out what matches up with the materials you're using. Watercolour painting, for instance, will require a heavier stock than pencil drawing.
Better: Reeves painting and drawing pads
Best: Fabriano art pads
6. Painting palettes
Palettes are used for mixing colours, so aim for one that holds enough different hues for your artwork. Over time, your palette will collect different colours from old projects as well as new - just think of it as a timeline of creativity!
Better: Semco 6 Well Palette Tray
7. Palette knives and tools
Need some more heavy-duty tools? Palette knives are used for mixing paint on the palette (plus they can do double duty as paint knives when applying). Need direction? Use a colour wheel to create complementary schemes in your work.
Better: Francheville Tote Bag
Ready to get going on that masterpiece? Look for canvases that have been specially produced for your choice of paint (watercolour, oil, acrylic), and are primed, framed and ready to use. Now it's time to get creating!
Good: Semco Canvas Packs
Better: Crafters Choice Canvas
Best: Francheville Canvases
We've expanded our range of art materials to make sure all your creative needs are covered. From beginners to budding professionals, we've got what you need online and in-store.