10 Beginner Supplies (Under $35) to Get if You Want to Start Painting as a Hobby

published Nov 23, 2020
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If you find yourself sitting at home with plenty of spare time, can I interest you in embracing your inner Picasso? Painting is the perfect hobby for anyone who wants to tap in to their hidden skills and channel their creative energy. It’s also a fun activity to do with friends, family or kids, and a perfect way to relax and wind down. And getting started is probably easier than you think!

As an artist, I’ve been drawing since I was about 4 years old, and painting since I was 14. Though I have formal art training, I’ve also embraced being a forever-student: trying new mediums, and exploring different tools and techniques. And throughout my experience of transitioning from art as a hobby to a full-time gig, I’ve tested tons of products, turned the pages of many art books, and tried out lots of different supplies. 

Here are the beginner tools I think are worth buying, if you want to try your hand at painting as a hobby.

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1. Watercolor Paint Travel Kit

Panned watercolor paint sets are easy to use, compact, and come with half the mess of tubes. This watercolor travel kit not only comes with  a set of 48 colors to mix and blend, but also includes 20 sheets of watercolor paper, two watercolor brushes, and a palette to easily mix your colors on the go. 

Buy: SCHPIRERR FARBEN Art Supplies Watercolor Paint Set, $31.98 at Amazon

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2. Paint Brush Set

Finding the perfect paint brushes can be quite the challenge when you are new to art. Finding a nice set that comes a variety of shapes and brush sizes is the perfect way to experiment. This paint brush set comes with 16 brushes, a palette knife for mixing, and sponge for cleaning. The ergonomic, non-slip handles are great for comfort, especially as you get used to holding a brush!

Buy: BENICCI Paint Brush Set of 16, $20.97 at Amazon

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3. Mixed Media Drawing Pad

Mixed media paper is a great type of paper to start with daily sketching and exploring different mediums. The texture of the paper works well for both wet or dry media. Whether using markers, watercolor, or acrylic paint, this paper is multifunctional, and easy to tear out if you’re ready to frame. 

Buy: Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad, $5.97 at Amazon

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4. Micron Pen Set

Micron pens are perfect for line drawing, outlining, or practicing handwritten calligraphy. I’ve been using these pens for such a long time, and couldn’t imagine my supply bucket without them. The micron pens come in different weights, allowing for unique lines and expression with each stroke. 

Buy: Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set, $15.26 at Amazon

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5. Table Easel

Table easels are perfect for anyone looking to set up an art space in any room. This table easel is compact, easy to use, and helpful for posture while drawing or painting. Painting on the go? This easel is easy to transport and can fit in any medium tote bag. You can use a table surface, table easel to start, then invest in a better one if this becomes something you stick with.

Buy: US Art Supply 14-Inch-Tall Tabletop Easel, $9.96 at Amazon

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6. Watercolor Paper Pad

Watercolor paper is by far one of my favorite papers to work with. I use it for both watercolor painting, and drawing, but the texture works really well with acrylic or markers if you want to add some definition. Strathmore is great for beginners and advanced artists alike, and ranges in sizes. 

Buy: Strathmore Watercolor Paper, $11.21 at Amazon

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7. Paint Palette

Paint palettes are a fun way to explore color mixing and getting comfortable with the texture and consistency of the paint before putting it to paper. A simple acrylic or wood palette is great to start, and if you decide to stick with it, you can transition to glass palettes which are easy to clean and reuse. 

Buy: 3-Piece Acrylic Paint Palette, $9.69 at Amazon

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8. Drawing Pencils

Say goodbye to those Number 2 pencils! A nice set of drawing pencils is awesome when exploring technique and texture, and perfect for beginner artists. Whether drawing as a base for paintings or testing your hand at quick sketches, a pack of pencils with different weights is a perfect way to start. 

Buy: MARKART Professional Sketching Pencil Set, $7.99 at Amazon

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9. Everyday Watercolor

I started with watercolors in 2014, and bought a bunch of books to learn different techniques. “Everyday Watercolor” gives you daily prompts to learn and practice over 30 days, and is perfect for beginner artists, or artists who want to revisit the basics!

Buy: “Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days” book, $17.99 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

10. Kneaded Erasers

Kneaded erasers are truly the hidden gem of artists. When practicing and learning art, you may want to erase and try again. Kneaded erasers can practically pick up anything and don’t leave a ton of residue or mess on the paper. 

Buy: June Gold Kneaded Rubber Erasers, $5.85 at Amazon