Basic Materials all Artists should have for Drawing and Oil Painting

Uncategorized Jul 11, 2019

The art supplies you use really affect the quality of your artwork. It’s really important to use as high quality art supplies as possible. Over time, you can build a high quality collection of materials. Here are all of the basic materials you should have for drawing and oil painting.

For oil painting, Gamblin is a really good brand and is very affordable for the quality. Rembrandt and Holbein are also great brands, as well. To have well rounded paintings with good color, you should use all the colors in the color wheel and variations of them. An incredible basic set would be Cad. Yellow light, cad yellow medium, cad. Red medium, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, Prussian Blue, black plus white. This would give you a warm and cool variety of the primary colors. You should add a warm and cool orange, green and violet to this collection. Click HERE for our warm and cool kit.


To get clean beautiful marks and details, you will need high quality brushes. Brushes get frayed over time, so you should get new brushes when this happens, like replacing a toothbrush!. You should have a variety of sizes for a wide range of brush marks. The more options you have, the easier it will be to get details just right. Whether you use filberts, flats, and/or rounds is a choice for you to make. Filberts can get you a variety of marks and is the most versatile. A flat will get you square marks and straight edges. A round will give you lines and dots and oval marks. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are getting the marks you want.

Oil paint naturally takes a longer time to dry, and this can affect your productivity because you have to wait a long time until you can continue to the next layer. Galkyd, made by Gamblin, is a medium that makes your paint juicy and transparent, and speeds the drying time to 24 hours or less. Cold wax, made by Gamblin, also speeds the drying time and is great for thick paint and palette knife. Linseed oil and walnut oil are mediums to use when you want to slow the drying time, but is used to make the paint thin and wet. It is useful for under paintings and subtractive painting. Solvent is very important for cleaning your brushes and keeping your brush strokes clean. The Eco House brand is non toxic and made from orange peels. It is a great alternative to turpentine or mineral spirits, which are very toxic.

Drawing materials
For drawing, there are different materials for graphite drawing and charcoal drawing. Graphite comes in pencils and you should have a variety of pencils in all of the ranges of tone. HB is the lightest and 9B is the darkest. For charcoal drawing, there is softer charcoal called willow charcoal, and compressed charcoal which comes in sticks or pencils. This is used for quick light sketches and blocking in your subject. For either graphite or charcoal, you will need a wide variety of erasers. It’s good to have many different sizes. Kneaded erasers are good for lifting lightly, and precision erasers are good for tiny details. The more options you have, the easier it is to get the results you want. Blending stumps or tissues are also great tools  for making smooth and soft areas.

These are some of the basic materials all artists should have. We have to admit, all the artists here at MAI are quite addicted to art supplies. When we see brand new supplies all we can think is, “the possibilities are endless”. We just want to create and get straight to work. There is nothing better than new art supplies, whether they arrive in the mail or you pick them up at the art supply store. Treat yourself to a worthwhile and well deserved reward and get some new supplies to fuel your inspiration and your next break through!


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