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7 Top Tips for a New Artist

Are you a new artist, confused where to start? We’ve got you.

The art world can be a confusing place, particularly as a new artist. There are a vast array of brushes, paints and canvases as well as a world of inspiration to dive into.

If you’re a new artist, there are many things you may be wondering about. But don’t worry – our top tips will get you started! 


1. Really look at the world

One of the most important tips I could give to someone who has never set brush to paper, is simply to observe. This may sound somewhat self explanatory but whilst looking out into nature, an overcrowded city or just your living room… observe. Look at it’s shapes, its shadows, its colouring and where the light hits objects. If you view the world as an artist, you will be able to create better art. 

This detailed level of artistic observation allows you to enhance your work in a more realistic way. Even if the pieces you are creating are on the abstract side. By viewing colour comparisons you will be able to put this into practice next time you find yourself with a paintbrush in hand.


2. Paint as much as you can

It’s typical to view your very first painting as nothing close to a masterpiece, and that’s expected! No one could become the best at anything without practice. That’s why I would suggest painting as often as you possibly can. 

The more practice you put into painting the more experience you will gain and the more techniques you will master. The frequency of your paints will allow you to explore a range of techniques which over time allow you to create pieces you are genuinely proud of. If you don’t know where to start there are a range of beginner tutorials on YouTube which can be very useful! 


3. Start with a sketchbook

It can be tempting to grab a canvas and create a large piece on your first go. While this may work for some new artists, I would recommend starting with an A5 sketchbook. This is for several reasons, you can:

  • Feel less overwhelmed to just ‘start’.
  • Create more pieces.
  • Try out more techniques.

Sketchbooks are a great place to start for new artists. You will feel a sense of achievement when you look at all the pieces you’re creating and how you are improving piece by piece. Additionally, you can use each page to try out as many techniques and mediums as possible.


4. Try different mediums

The main mediums in painting you will come across as a new artist are oil, acrylic, watercolor. 

Oil paints, like the name suggests, are oil based. One of the drawbacks of this medium is that it takes the longest to dry, often not ideal when you are a beginner attempting many techniques. However, due to it’s oil-based blend, you are able to paint another layer right over the top of it once dry without any paint seeping through – great for cover ups!

If you want a short answer this is where I would start. Unlike oil paint, acrylic paint is water based and in many people’s opinions is one of the easiest mediums to start with. This is largely due to its ability to dilute with water to achieve the right consistency in addition to it’s rapid drying rate.

Watercolour paints are slightly more difficult to master. Once the paint is on the paper, the pigment is so potent, it isn’t coming off. However, with experimentation and persistence, watercolour paints can create the most beautiful pieces of art. You may find it easiest to blend watercolor paints with a wet on wet technique.


5. Not every painting will be a masterpiece.

It is important for all artists to remember that every single painting will not be a work of art (no pun intended), but particularly important for new artists. If it knocks your confidence less, call it an experimental period, where no painting is intended to be complete, then you will likely surprise yourself. 

Throughout your journey as a painter, remember to not be too hard on yourself. Art is a subjective practice and your work will be beautiful to some people and not others, no matter what stage of the journey you are at.


6. Social media for inspiration

I have written a complete post on the pros and cons of Instagram as an artist because it is a very debatable subject. However one of the fantastic pros of social media is its inspirational qualities. 

With literally thousands and thousands of artists posting their work daily and the same again posting their photography, it would be impossible to be short of inspiration. Take little snippets of each piece and pull them into your own work of art.

However, please note recreating paintings of other’s is frowned upon in the art world, unless correctly credited on the appropriate platform. 


7. Start with basic supplies.

Lastly, when you’re starting out as a painter, there is no need to buy the most extensive range of expensive art supplies. Stickl to a small range of supplies whilst you are building up your confidence. After this you will be able to build up your collection of paints, brushes and canvas is a way that is most suited to your developing style.

The painting equipment I would recommend starting with is: 

  • An A5 sketchbook.
  • A small set of watercolour paints.
  • 5 tubes of acrylics (black, white, red, blue and yellow).
  • A small palette of oil paints.
  • A started pack of both natural and synthetic brushes.
  • A disposable mixing palette.

You can find out more about the art supplies I use here: LINK


There you have it, 7 top tips to get you started as an artist. Did you enjoy reading this? Do you have any top tips to add? Leave a comment below.

Francesca Pavis

Hello, I'm Francesca, an acrylic painter based in Manchester, UK and the owner of Pavis Paints. Feel free to take a look around! I also run a shop and am open to commissions if you like my style of work. Happy painting ✯

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5 thoughts on “7 Top Tips for a New Artist

  1. Absolutely loved this! All of what you have said is soo true and I’m going to take these tips onboard. Thankyou 🙂

  2. I love how you suggest that new artists start with supplies that are basic. My sister wants to become an artist. I’ll help her purchase basic supplies from a reliable arts and crafts store.

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