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For quick reference, the art supplies I use in my color mixing videos are listed below. A more complete list of recommended art supplies follows.

Acrylic Paints

Acrylics are my favorite medium. They’re virtually odorless and clean up with water.

One thing that beginners often overlook is acrylics are available in a variety of thicknesses and have different properties. Below is a short summary of the most common types of acrylic paint.

The Colors I Use for Acrylic Painting

Below is a list of the colors I use in my color mixing demos and you can use them to mix most of the colors you need.

If you don’t want to buy all of them you can probably eliminate one of the yellows. I like having an opaque and a transparent yellow. Also, you can mix a substitute for Ultramarine Blue by mixing a little bit of Quinacridone Magenta with Phthalo Blue.

The links below lead to Golden OPEN acrylics on the Blick Art Materials website.

I prefer using professional acrylics but if you’re just starting out then you can probably get started with a student acrylic like Liquitex Basics.

When comparing pricing you have to consider that the Liquitex Basics are 4 oz tubes while the Golden OPEN acrylics are 2 oz tubes. For more information, you can read my review of Liquitex Basics.

Slow Drying Acrylics

One of the complaints I hear about acrylics is they dry too fast. Golden OPEN acrylics contain retarder which makes the paint dry slower. This will allow you to make acrylics look like oils, which I demonstrate in a the YouTube video later in this post.

Golden also makes OPEN thinner which you can add to the paint if it starts to dry and gets tacky. It doesn’t contain any binder so you want to be careful not to add too much. 

If you don’t want to switch to OPEN acrylics then you can simply add retarder to your favorite brand of acrylics. Almost all manufacturers make their own acrylic retarder mediums.

Many artists like Liquitex Slo-Dri Medium because you can add as much as you like to your paint because it does contain some acrylic binder. 

Interactive acrylics from Atelier are interesting because they dry quickly like regular acrylics but you can reactivate them by misting them with water.

This only works if the paint has recently begun to dry. They also make a special spray that will reactivate the paint even after it has dried for a few hours. 

These paints give you the best of both worlds, you can use them like regular fast drying acrylics and then mist them with water when you need more blending time.

Here’s my YouTube video that covers a variety of ways to blend acrylics which includes demonstrations of OPEN acrylics and the interactive acrylics.

Here are some ideas for how to blend acrylics. I recommend experimenting with different blending techniques to find the one the suites your style.

Heavy Body Acrylics

These are the most common types of acrylic paints. They have a thickness that’s similar to oils. You can use heavy body acrylics to create thick textures and palette knife paintings.

There are many brands of heavy body acrylics. The two most popular are Golden and Liquitex. They both make excellent quality paints.

Fluid Acrylics & Acrylic Ink

Some painting techniques require paint that has a thin and watery consistency. For example, if you want to use watercolor techniques with acrylics, then you’ll need thin paint.

Of course you can thin out the regular heavy body acrylics but that will also dilute the color. The best solution is to use an acrylic paint that already has a fluid like consistency.

The paint may not be as vibrant as you would like. Here are some of my tips for how to make acrylics more vibrant.

Golden Fluid Acrylics and Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics have a consistency that’s similar to heavy cream. I think the Golden fluid acrylics are slightly thinner than the Liquitex soft body acrylics.

For very fluid acrylic paint, I recommend Golden High Flow Acrylics. These acrylics have a very fluid, ink-like consistency.

You can use them with a crow quill pen for drawing. Some artists fill up empty paint markers with them so they can make their own markers with custom colors.

Here’s my post about how to make acrylics look like watercolors.

Acrylic Gouache

Traditional gouache is opaque watercolor and it dries to a very flat and matte surface.

Acrylic gouache is acrylic paint that’s made to look like traditional gouache. It’s essentially a matte acrylic paint that’s a little thinner than regular heavy body acrylics.

It’s water resistant when dry so you can use it on canvas and display it without a frame.

My post about the differences between acrylics and gouache has a more comprehensive explanation.

There are many brands of acrylic gouache. Here’s my review of Liquitex Acrylic Gouache which includes a video with a painting demonstration.

Holbein Acryla Gouache is another popular brand of acrylic gouache. It’s available in small tubes in comes in small individual tubes or sets.

The Best Palettes for Acrylics

Disposable palette paper is convenient and may work if you’re just starting out. Eventually you’ll want to buy a palette that’s made for acrylics.

You want to avoid wood palettes because they will absorb the moisture from the paint and make them dry out faster.

Certain types of plastic palettes are difficult to clean because acrylic paint sticks to it too well.

I recommend the Mijello Fredi Weber Peel-off Palette. It’s made from a type of plastic that acrylic paint won’t stick to. You can peel thick dry layers of paint right off from the palette.

I never let the paint dry on the palette so it’s a matter of scraping it off and then wiping it down with a rag or paper towel. 

There’s a peel off palette with a lid that will keep your paints wet. It has wells around the perimeter that you can squeeze your paint into. The center is the mixing area.

I prefer having a larger mixing area with fewer wells so I use the one without the lid and store it in a Masterson Sta-wet palette.

The Masterson sta-wet palette is an air tight plastic container that comes with a sponge and special palette paper. The idea is that you wet the sponge and it will keep regular acrylics wet without having to mist them with water.

However, the sponges is unnecessary when you’re using OPEN acrylics. Once you put the lid on, these slow drying acrylics will stay wet for days or even weeks.

I’ve had luck keeping Golden OPEN acrylics wet for weeks which I explain in the video below. 

You can see an explanation of how I keep acrylics wet for week by using these acrylic palettes, skip ahead to 8:32

You can read my in-depth review of acrylic palettes for more information about both of these palettes, or watch the YouTube video above.

Paintbrushes for Acrylics

I’ve tried out many different types of brushes over the years and my favorite are the inexpensive nylon brushes. Sometimes I pick these up at the big box art supply stores but I order them online too. 

Nylon brushes work better with acrylics or other water based mediums than the hog bristle brushes that you may use with oils. The hog bristles tend to splay when you use them with water.

Here’s a set of 3 inexpensive brushes for acrylics and they’re very inexpensive. I normally use a 1” bright or flat for the majority of the painting.

Paint Tube Wringer

Artist quality paint is expensive so it doesn’t make sense to leave any of it in the tube. A paint tube wringer will make cents every time you use it!

I recommend metal tube wringers because they will last longer. I had a plastic one and it eventually broke.

Here’s my YouTube video about how to save money on art supplies.

Acrylic Paper

Paper is the most affordable way to practice painting with acrylics. Most paper will buckle when you paint on it with acrylics because it absorbs the moisture from the paint. 

Acrylic paper is thicker and it’s ready to paint on without any special preparation. You don’t need to stretch acrylic paper or coat it with gesso.

The manufacturer applies sizing to the paper which is a special coating that prevents it from absorbing too much moisture. 

Both of the acrylic papers work well and they have different textures.


Sketchbooks are a great for trying out new ideas and capturing drawing and paintings when you’re on the go. I’ve tried numerous sketchbooks but I currently prefer the ones made by Stillman & Birn.

There are so many to chose from it can be overwhelming. The different series contain different types of paper. For example, the alpha series will accept light washes of watercolor, although it may buckle a little. I like the 8.5×5.5 hardbound sketchbook for general sketching.

I love the small sketchbook for sketching on the go. It’s so small you can fit it into a coat pocket, purse, or bag. These are great for sketching when you’re stuck in a waiting room or when you’re traveling.

Stillman & Birn sketchbooks (link to all of the options on Blick) come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also make them with extra thick paper for heavy watercolor applications.

Check out my sketchbook page to see how I use these sketchbooks.


Blick studio canvases are affordable and they’re well made. I like the traditional thickness which is ¾” but they also make them in two thicker sizes if that’s what you prefer.

RayMar canvas panels are the canvas panels that I use most often. They use a wood core and the back has an extra backing that makes them more rigid and durable.

They use archival materials too. Inexpensive canvas boards may work for practice but they’re not quite as durable.

Gessobord is another option. They’re basically hardboard that’s prepared with gesso. It has a smooth and slightly pebbled textured surface that looks like it was sprayed on. These boards seem more rigid than the hardboard you find at the home improvement center. 

In case you’re wondering, you can frame canvas panels. I demonstrate 3 ways to frame canvas panels in the video below.

Brush Cleaner

For general cleaning you can use regular soap and water to clean your brushes. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s bar soap or a liquid dish soap.

For a more thorough cleaning I recommend EZ Air brush cleaner. I use the one made for acrylics, it’s non toxic and doesn’t have any harsh fumes. 

You can even use it to remove dry acrylic paint from your brushes. I made a YouTube video that demonstrates how to remove dry acrylic paint from your paintbrushes.


I think the easel that gets the most use in my studio is the Blick sketchbox table easel. It’s affordable, and it’s made from solid wood. You can use it on top of any table and it has a drawer for your supplies.

If you like to paint outdoors you may be interested in the Guerrilla Painter pochade box. It has a tripod mount on the bottom so you can attach it to a tripod for painting outdoors.

Here’s my in-depth review of the Guerrilla Painter pochade box.

The most affordable standing easel that I found is the Testrite #500 aluminum easel. It’s lightweight and folds flat for easy storage.

My easel recommendation page provides more information and photos of the table top easel and aluminum easels.


There are many art instruction books that are worth buying. Check out my recommendations on my recommended art books page.

Art instruction books can be hit or miss, but these books are the ones that I thought were the most helpful to me.