Yet again here I am giving tips on something that I am not a professional at. But yet again here you are, hopefully learning from me and getting a better start than I had. I was an art school drop out, but I did get a A-Level in Fine Art so I'm going to give myself the title of "somewhat qualified" to give tips. I've always been arty, in every sense of the word whether it be crafts or painting. But I have racked up a couple of tricks of the trade to get you off on the best foot.
I was gutted to find this out, but the type of paper actually does matter. It's not just a con to make you spend more money, watercolour paper makes it easier for your colours not to run and sketch paper makes it easier to blend pencils.
Gesso is Your Best Friend
Gesso is your base and it turns out a base is super important. If you're painting on a canvas or any other material than paper a base layer of gesso is going to make an insane difference to your work. On canvas it allows your colours to blend seamlessly with little effort and on other materials it gives you a solid and even levelled base.
Pick Your Paint First
Pick your paint by deciding on the feel of your work first. Bold, solid colours look best in a thicker paint. If you're looking for a washed out neutral tone then thinner paint with less pigment works best. Oil paints are extremely thick so use them on projects designed for them, I've found it rarely works if I draw up something and then think I'll use oil paints but if I draw something knowing my intention is to use oil paints then it works out better. Also thinner paint will hold its shape over thicker paint but that won't work the other way round.
Find Your Style
Being an artist does not mean you are good at everything. Portrait artists, landscape artists, graffiti artists they're all great at what they do but I would imagine they would find it difficult to get a piece to their standard of perfection out of their genre. Truth be told I'm still working on finding my ideal style but once you find it you'll enjoy your work more and find it just fits you. Also don't think there is an existing style you have to fit into, that's the very beauty of art.
Don't Cheap Out
This isn't to say that you have to spend a fortune to get good supplies. Just make sure you know what you're getting. Brushes shedding can drive you insane, getting colours for a project to discover they've no pigment can ruin a piece and pens with rubbish ink can cause black lines or white highlights to smudge and erase your good work. Once you find your brand or supplier then you can always find them cheaper online but you take the risk if you don't check. I've lost count of the amount of supplies I have bought and then hated.
Finally, Try Everything
There is so much to get stuck into, painting, pottery, charcoal, glass work, photography, collages, clay moulding and more! Not only will it help you find your style, but it's genuinely just fun to see what you can create.
I'd love to know if you have any artist tips for starting out and share what you create. Lets inspire each other.