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When first starting out with painting, acrylics seem like the natural first choice. They dry quickly, mix with water, and are very durable. However, some people find they have trouble blending them. But, once you get the knack, they are a wonderful, easy and convenient painting medium.

You can start out with: Liquitex Basics Acrylic Sets, Set of 6. I used Liquitex for years, and still have a set. They are available at many places, very affordable, and they perform pretty well. You can get a set (the 8-tube set would be a minimum). Or you can select your colors individually.

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Sets

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Sets

For watercolor, airbrush, and printmaking. Apply on canvas, wood, clay, paper, fabric. Mix with water or Liquitex acrylic mediums. Dries water-resistant, flexible, and with permanent adhesive properties. - Set of 5 Colors

If you want to select your own colors for portrait painting, here are my suggestions. You might like something else better, but give these a try!

Titanium White (8.5 oz tube) You always need a larger tube of white, since you'll use a lot of this in color mixing.

Plus 4 oz. tubes of:

  • Alizarin Crimson Hue
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Cadmium Red Light Hue
  • Cerulean Blue Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Yellow Oxide

Other materials you'll need as well:

Blick Artists' Acrylic Retarder to slow down the drying of the paint so you can blend it better. I couldn't live without drying retardant!

Blick Edu-Painting Panel Class Packs buy the 8x10" size or maybe a little larger. These are affordable yet durable. Good for acrylics, too. Or, you can get Canson Montval Acrylic Paper which is a little less expensive and very convenient!

For brushes, I recommend Winsor & Newton Brush Artisan Brush Pack or else get three brushes from the Artisan line: Winsor & Newton Artisan Brushes (Start with a Round size 2, Filber Size 6, Flat Size 8 or 10. Wait for a sale from DickBlick!)

Get a disposable palette, to mix all your colors: Blick Studio Disposable Palette Pads.

All these products are available at: I am an addict of DickBlick!



Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints- Set of 36 Colors.

A disposable palette to mix your colors: Royal & Langnickel Disposable Palette Paper 8-1/4x11-1/5" 40 Sheets/Pad-For Acrylic & Oil

Canvas panels 8 x 10 inch (pack of 12) These are nice quality canvas panels. I've switched over to mainly canvas panels due to their affordability and durability. Some canvas panels are just cheap cardboard, but many panels are just as high quality (and long-lasting) as stretched canvas. I have these precise panels in this size (8x10") that I bought from Amazon. I also was able to find the same brand of panels in different sizes. But start with 8x10, it's neither too big or too small.

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Acrylic paints are really wonderful, especially if you are the impatient type who doesn't like to wait for oil paints to dry. And, they don't use smelly paint thinner which can cause concern or a reaction in some people.

I've used the Liquitex brand for years, which is why I recommend it here, especially if you're starting out. There are other good brands of acrylics out there (and I'll be talking about them eventually) but since Liquitex is easy find almost anywhere, even Amazon, why not go with it. Liquitex Basics (which I link to and discuss) is a "student" grade paint, meaning it's cheaper, meant for newbies. The colors aren't as rich and as pure as the more expensive "artist" grade paint. But that's okay when you're starting out.

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When you've used student paint for a while, it might be time to upgrade yourself to Artist Grade acrylic paints. There are many brands to choose from. Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylics are probably a good place to start. I have some of these paints too, and I think they're great!

Another thing to consider is to make the leap over to . . . oil paints! I'm a big fan of oils and find that many of the fears artists have about oils are based on myths or misinformation. Read more about oils on the Oils Page and maybe I can persuade you to make the switch! But don't feel like acrylics are bad—it's nice to use both, and both have their strengths and drawbacks.

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