How to Become a Better Artist with Better Painting Materials

Do Quality Painting Materials make a difference? Photo by Old Holland

Wondering how to become a better artist? There's one easy fix that many beginner artists overlook - your tools. 

Many different types of brushes, paint and painting materials are available to beginner painters. But many artists wonder, “If I had better tools, would I be a better artist?”

At Evolve, we answer this with a resounding “No!”

Being a better artist is about what you bring to the easel, your effort, what you’re willing to experiment with, and how creative you are with the tools you do have. But those tools will never make you any better than you were before.

However, the kind of painting materials you use can make your work worse.

Low-Quality Painting Materials Will Hold You Back

While high-quality painting materials won’t make you any better of an artist, they certainly won’t make you any worse. However, low-quality materials can stand in the way of your success.

Let’s say you have a perfect technique, and I give you low-grade paint and low-quality brushes to work with. The technique, though applied perfectly, might not actually work with the materials you are using.

And so the student, who doesn’t know any better, starts augmenting their perfect technique to make up for the shortfalls of their tools.

They change what they are doing to get a result with the poor tools. And so in doing that they begin watering down and degrading the quality of their technique, bending a pristine approach around bad tools.

Using low-grade paint, with less pigment and more oil, or low-quality brushes will affect your paintings, even if your approach to painting is flawless.

Your entire approach becomes wrapped around these terrible materials that are in the way and steering you off course every time you use them.

So, when considering how to become a better artist, instead of immediately looking to technique solutions, look at materials as foundation to build on top of - especially if you want to learn how to create realistic art

Interested in which paints we send to our students when they join he Evolve Program? Check out this article on the best oil paints.

Investing in high quality painting materials can help you to improve your work and won't hold you back.

Quality Comes with a Price Tag…and It’s Worth It!

High-quality paint and painting materials are often passed by due to their price. But while these painting materials are expensive, they pale in comparison to the value of your time wasted.

If you apply the same care and skill to two paintings, one done on quality canvas with excellent paint, and one done on inexpensive canvas with oiled down paint, the difference between the two will be clear. One will be much better for the materials used, and the other weaker.

Your time is valuable, so why not invest in painting materials that will help your work, instead of hinder it? And now you will have a painting that is sellable, made with quality, lasting material.

Student grade paints are less pigmented and supplemented with excess fillers, and so more paint is needed in order to cover a canvas with color.

But quality paint will go much further because of its dense pigmentation which enables it to be stretched farther with medium and still hold up its chroma. This simply means you need less of it and the paint will last longer.

There are many professional-grade paints that are made with care and quality, worth the investment rather than wasting money on student-grade paint.

Are you starting to see how learning about and investing in your tools will help you learn how to become a better artist?

Students at Evolve Artist are given the best materials possible to learn with, right from the start.

Skip the Student Grade Painting Materials

My students often wonder if they should purchase student-grade painting materials because of their inexperience. But I always urge my students to use the best materials they can afford.

When students think, “I’m a student, so I’ll use student grade paint”, the result is a student grade painting. This thought process prevents students from pushing their work to a higher standard and sets a downward cycle.

Students should, instead, be thinking that because they want to be a professional, they need to use painting materials that will help them get there.

If you wanted to be a professional baseball player, you wouldn’t practice every day with a plastic ball and bat. You would get yourself to a place where you could use the right equipment so you are not compensating and forming bad habits.

Student grade painting materials can hold students back from learning how to become a better artist and can create bad habits. Investing in the proper painting materials will ensure this does not happen.

Choosing the right painting materials is important! Photo by Natalie Runyon

Final Thought on How to Become a Better Artist

Better tools definitely don’t make you a better artist, but they won’t hold you back. Using lower quality paint and brushes forces your hand. You have to compensate for the inadequacies of the painting materials.

When a student begins to compensate for weaker tools, they are forced into bad habits. Also, the level of inconsistency in low-quality products can become a nightmare to negotiate. Not knowing how your material will function from painting to painting makes for very inconsistent results and stunted learning.

Your time is valuable, so why not invest in materials that will help your work, instead of hinder it?

Students need confidence in the tools they use. Not having to worry about how your paint and brushes will function allows you to focus on more important things. Instead, you can focus on technique, without being held back by low-grade painting materials.

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The 4 Part Framework to Develop Artistic Excellence in 12 Months


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