Art · Painting · tips

Starting Out With Painting: 4 Basic Mediums to Try

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One huge step in finding your own art style is trying different art mediums and finding the one (or multiple) that suit you best. Painting is a completely different experience compared to drawing or sketching. It is almost an alien world you are stepping into as a beginning artist. I am still trying to discover my own art style and am definitely not an expert at using any of these painting mediums.

In any scenario, a few blogs and a couple good youtube videos can teach you how to paint anything. Personally, I am a visual learner and tend to perform better when I have watched a tutorial about the topic. So in each section of this blog, I linked the most helpful youtube videos that I used when learning about each of these art mediums. I admit, even though I have used some of these mediums for a large portion of my life, most of my knowledge about them has come from research rather from loads of experience. Amongst the mediums I am more familiar with, I will try my best to share all that I know.


Personally, in the huge world of art mediums, watercolor is one of my absolute favorites. Watercolor paints are pretty affordable depending on the brand you are using. This is mostly true because watercolor artists are pros at making the most out of a tiny 5ml tube of pigment. Because watercolor paints are so concentrated, you only need a small amount of pigment. On top of that, watercolors are great at achieving cool abstract effects, making large washes, and/or filling up blank backgrounds in paintings.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Watch the amount of water you are mixing with your pigments. The viscosity and transparency of your paints will decrease as you add more water.
  • Use watercolor paper! Painting on regular print paper or sketch paper will cause it to disintegrate right before your eyes…


Makoccino: Watercolor For Beginners / Supplies & Watercolor Techniques for Beginners & Painting the Ocean

This is a great example of artwork you can create with simple techniques in watercolor. TILLITH: [TINY NEBULA] Watercolor Painting


Even though they are especially great for beginners, acrylic paints are a very popular medium amongst all artists, regardless of how much experience they have. Because acrylic paints are much thicker than watercolor, they can be used to create a variety of textures and/or effects. Acrylics are also water-based paints, meaning you can thin your acrylic paints in a way slightly similar to how you thin watercolors. This painting medium is great for pretty much every style of art, being the perfect balance for most artists.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Acrylics are generally the most affordable paints out there today. However, it is important to use a brand that is affordable but still good quality. One 4oz tube of paint from Artist loft (costing $4.99) is the same price as a tiny 60ml tube of paint from Winsor & Newton.



Oil painting is one of the more difficult mediums to master. I, personally, have never tried using this medium before but hope to in the future. Through my research, I learned that oil paints have a butter-like texture that can be used to make very fine details. This makes oil paints especially great for realistic artwork, but it can also achieve other styles of art as well. Because oil paints are not water-based, they cannot be mixed with or cleaned out of brushes with water. So if you would like to try your hand at oil paints, you will need to purchase a solvent that can dilute your paints and can clean your brushes.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Oil paints take a LONG time to dry. Depending on the properties of your paints, one piece of artwork can take 2 to 12 days just to become “touch-dry”!


Lena Danya: The Basics of Oil Painting

Lena Danya is probable the best oil painting youtube channel out there so if you want to learn how to oil paint check her out… Lena Danya’s Chanel


Many people have not heard of the amazing medium called gouache. Gouache has the characteristics of both watercolor and acrylic but is neither. I usually describe this painting medium as if watercolor and acrylics had a baby, and boom! You have gouache. Gouache’s viscosity can range from being as thick as acrylic or as runny watercolor. This makes it incredibly easy to work in layers as well as cover up your mistakes, which is something that is difficult to do with watercolors.

A few things to remember:

  •  For those who are reading this, gouache is pronounced like squash but will a g instead of an s (gwah-sh). I feel like every time I tell someone about gouache, all I get is a confused look and them saying, “You paint with squash??”.

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Each of these mediums are unique in their own way. I love gouache and watercolor because they suit my art style better compared to acrylics or oils. While some painting mediums may work better for me, acrylics or oil paints may be better suited to your personal art preferences. The only real way to find out is to just dive right into it. Go to your local art store and by a beginner’s pack of paints and brushes that work with the medium you are most interested in. By working and learning as much as you can about your medium, I guarantee that you will succeed.

If you have ANY questions, comments, corrections about anything I said in this blog please send me a message on the contact page! I am no expert so hopefully I can learn something from you too.

– Raven


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