I’m taking part in Patty Digh’s Project 137 and today one of my fellow tribe members asked me what she needed to start doing mixed media work after I commented on a really lovely piece she had posted. So I pondered it and the items below are what I came up with as a starter kit (and I’ve included some alternatives too!)
First off is paper.
I recommend paper that can take getting wet and won’t buckle (wrinkle) as it dries.
The book on the left and in the middle are part of the Visual Journal Series made by Strathmore. The book on the left is 140 lb cold press watercolor paper. The middle book is 90 lb mixed media paper. Both books are 9×12. The book on the right is 90 lb Canson Mixed Media paper. Another good one for drawing and painting. You can pick up both of the Mixed Media journals from artistcellar.com.
Next up is paint.
You can start with the following 5 tubes of acrylic paint White, Primary Blue, Primary Red, Primary Yellow and Black.
With these colors you can make secondary and tertiary colors, as well as tints (adding white will lighten colors) and a variety of greys.
And if you want to pick up some other colors that aren’t that expensive, you can get some of the small bottles of craft paint that you can find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
You need something to put the paint on the paper with, so I recommend a nice set of brushes.
DO NOT BUY THE CHEAPEST BRUSHES POSSIBLE!! It’s a total pain in the you-know-what to have to pick out hairs that have fallen out of the brush off your paintings and out of your work. Spend a little bit of money here. One thing you might want to do is pick up a few brushes that you are going to use specifically with things like mod podge. Once you put glue on a brush, it’s pretty much toast for painting.
And speaking of Mod Podge, it and gesso can be a great starting point for adding things to your paintings.
Mod podge is the glue for putting paper and images from magazines onto your painting. Gesso is applied over slick paper/surfaces to give them a little tooth so the paint can grab on. A great way to practice drawing faces is to take an image from a magazine, glue it onto your page and then apply a thin coat of gesso over the image and let it dry. There’s enough coverage that you can take a pencil and sketch in details, then color it in.
One thing I recommend, is using coupons to buy your art supplies. Michael’s, Aaron Brothers, and Hobby Lobby can have some pretty good deals and you can stretch your dollars big time when they have 40 or 50% off coupons. It may take multiple trips though to get everything you want that way. Since I’m a smart phone user, I generally load the app for the store and just let the person take the coupon code right off the screen instead of printing it out on my computer.
If you’re lucky enough to have a reuse/upcycle shop like Texas Art Asylum, you can also find lots of supplies there as well for not a lot of dough. And in some upcoming articles, I’ve got some great ideas for mixed media work from common household item.
The best thing I can tell you though, is to have fun while you paint. Connie Hozvicka, at Dirty Footprints Studio said it best when she recommends approaching painting like a five year old. Think about the energy and the curiousity five year olds bring to any piece of art they do. They have fun while they paint and put their whole body and heart into it.
Have a great day!