Tuesday, January 24, 2017


January may be Prepuary, but for NaMoPaiMo participants who don't paint models regularly, it's probably going to be Shopuary, too.
With so many different types and colors of paint, pigments and pastels available, it's hard for aspiring artists to know where to begin.
Fortunately, some of the hobby's most respected painters have  generously shared their "must have" lists on the NaMoPaiMo Facebook page. Today's post is a summary of the information presented there in regards to acrylics, pigments and pastels. If oils are your medium of choice, be sure to check out my earlier post on creating an oil painting starter kit.
Oil paints and supplies
Acrylic paints are a staple item in most hobby artists' tool kits. They can be used by themselves or in conjunction with other media and are a popular choice for basecoats. These fast drying, odor free paints clean up with water and can be found at most hobby and craft shops. 

Jennifer Kroll shared this photo of her acrylic painting kit.
photo by Jennifer Kroll
She writes: I paint my horses in acrylics, and then use pastels, earth pigments, and metallic powders over that.

These are the colors and brands I use 99% of the time. I used to use the Basics brand for base coats, but got a good deal on some better ones and am slowly transitioning. I thin them with water. If you are living in a climate that is dry in the winter, you may find it helpful to have a humidifier in your painting area so they don't dry too fast. This is a constant aggravation for me during the winter months in Michigan. 

I use the small, glass jars to mix and store colors that I use often. I have tried the little plastic paint pots from Michael's, and they dry out within a few weeks.

My white mix is not just straight white paint. It's actually a blend of gesso, white, yellow, red oxide, and raw umber, thinned with water to where it just sticks instead of beading up on the surface. This lets me do many, many thin layers to keep markings soft and keep the brush strokes from showing. It "looks white" in the jar, but you could tell the difference if it was next to actual white. It has a more natural, white fur tone. I use red oxide and some burnt sienna to create my skin tone pink color for the skin under markings. I also mix up two shades of "natural hoof" color, one more pale and one more brown.
Because acrylics dry so quickly, smooth blending can be a challenge. Melissa Whitaker offers this advice in regards to glazing additivesI hand paint in acrylics, with some colored pencil detailing. I use a glazing additive (Daler-Rowney matte) in my acrylics, which really changed the end result for the better. It comes in a tube. The same company also has a "Pearlescent Tinting" medium that I use for a little shimmer when a coat color calls for it. As I recall it was kind of pricey, but lasts for a really long time. I use bottled acrylic paint; to be honest the brand usually depends on what my local hobby store has available in the color I need.

Caroline Spracklin also hand paints with acrylics. Here are her thoughts on paint and brushes:  I hand paint with acrylics, although I do some small detail work with colored pencils. Currently my paints are all Liquitex, because that's what I can find locally. My main tip is to work in thin layers. It can be frustrating, because it takes so long to build up the color. However, it helps prevent obscuring detail with overly thick paint and brush strokes. If you want to continue painting past this challenge, I recommend investing in some higher quality paints and brushes. I'm much more satisfied with my paintwork after switching from cheaper supplies.

That it (so far) for acryllics. Onto pastels and pigments!

Here's a look at the Earth Pigment starter kit artist, Kim Szudlarek put together for Mackenzie Purdy.
photo by Mackenzie Purdy
To that basic list, Jennifer Kroll adds: Burnt Umber, Environox Dark Brown, Natural Black, and Titanium White. 

Earth Pigments also received rave reviews from Hilary Schwafel and Nikki Button. Additonally, Nikki recommends Rembrandt Pastels. Other well reviewed pastel brands include Pan Pastels, Sennelier and Unison. These are applied to the model with a paint brush and then sprayed with a clear sealer or workable fixative. Testor's Dullcote is the most popular sealer among the NaMoPaiMo artists, with Krylon Matte running a close second.
Getting started is hard, but hopefully these shopping lists will make it a little bit easier. Thanks again to Jen, Melissa, Caroline, Hilary, Nikki and all the other artists who have so generously shared their knowledge with the NaMoPaiMo group!

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