Basic materials for mixed media beginner artists

With all the materials out there it can be overwhelming to choose a basic starting kit. When you enter in an art shop on one side you feel like Alice in Wonderland but on the other you feel like walking out because of the amount of choices.

In my classes, here in London, I suggest these basic materials to start with your mixed media art practice.

Acrylic Paints – brands and colours

The best paints are the brand Golden or Liquitex, but those are quite expensive to start with. I find that Pebeo and Daler Rowney System 3 are a good choice to start.

Acrylics come in heavy body or more fluid viscosity. To start I would suggest to get the heavy body type, if you want to make it more fluid, you can always do that by yourself adding water for example.

Ideally you want to mix your own paint and avoid buying tons of tubes. You can start buying the warm and cold range of primary colours adding of course a black and a white. Here is the list

  1. Cadmium Red Deep

  2. Alizarin Crimson

  3. Cadmium Yellow Medium

  4. Lemon Yellow or Cadmium yellow light

  5. Ultramarine Blue

  6. Indigo

  7. Ivory Black

  8. Titanium White

If you want to add some extra colours to this fundamental list then add:

  1. Payne’s Grey

  2. Pthalo Green

  3. Cobalt Blue

Bear in mind that while painting you’ll need a lot of white colour. So I would suggest to double the size of white compared to the quantity of other colours you’ll get.

Gesso & Mediums

To prime paper or raw canvas or wooden panels you’ll need gesso which can also be used as a white paint over a large area of a work in progress. I would suggest a good quality of gesso even if you are a beginner. Priming your surface properly is an important aspect of your work. So choose Golden or Liquitex at least 500ml.

There is an endless list of mediums out there and they all seem essential. To start you just need a gloss medium. I would suggest also in this case to get a good quality medium. Either Golden or Liquitex will work greatly.

You will use gloss medium to:

  1. build up your layers of paint

  2. stick collage in your painting

  3. do photo-transfer

  4. thin your heavy body paints and create a more transparent version of the opaque colours you have

  5. seal your work

A gloss medium is very versatile and will add depth to the colours of your work. If you don’t like a glossy finish on your painting, you can always change it later when you varnish it. In this case you can decide to varnish your work with a matt or satin finish.


  1. Flat: #12 and #16

  2. Round: #2 – #6 and #12