If I take a step back and look around my studio, there are many pots of paint and recycled yogurt pots containing new colours I have mixed, scraps of fabric, tissue paper, silver paper and maybe some sheet music, an easel or two over there.. exactly everything I need to be able to create. But for a new artist or student getting into the world of art, I realise it can be daunting collecting everything you need for your creative journey.

I’ve put together this resources page of some of the tools of my trade, that might be able to help you in yours.

Preferred mediums and brands are going to vary from artist to artist. I don’t mean to claim that any of the following products are the best, or better than another. These are just some of the ones I’ve used with great success and feel confident recommending to others. Most of these are available online and can be delivered to your door.

This all said, I 100% believe that it is NOT necessary to acquire the most expensive supplies in order to produce high quality work. Some of my best work has come using recycled material, Resene paint test pots, and old house paint from a garage sail. Art is about the vision and the intent above anything else.

Paint and Soft Mediums

Chromacryl Paint

Chromacryl is a brand I’ve personally used for over 20 years in the classroom and in my studio. It lives up to my mantra of not having to pay big bucks to get great results. You can browse the range here on mighty ape.

I tend to only buy a few colours, and then mix what I need as I go. This is all part of the creative process.

My base colours are:

Top Tip: Buy big quantities of black and white paint and use these to mix your shades. This means you can save money on buying similar colours. 

Gesso primer

I start all my pieces, whether it’s a fresh canvas, or a up-cycled door, with a few layers of Gesso primer. Use gesso as un undercoat to help the paint stick to the board or canvas. You can also build in layers of texture such as tissue paper or cloth, and it will adhere with Gesso.


Shellac is a great natural varnish for wood. I use it on some of my plywood and door pieces. It’s an ancient varnish made from ground up insect skins. Note, this will render a slight golden hue to the finished piece.


Most of my paintings are left matte, but on the rare occasion I’ll apply a polyurethane varnish to render a gloss finish. This creates a unique look and feel when used sparingly. I prefer a spray can polyurethane as it goes on much more uniformly.

Texturing Agents

Gesso Primer

Gesso is like an all-in-one texturing agent that should be a staple product in any art studio. You can apply it raw with a palette knife to texture and prime a canvas, or miz it with your paint to add texture as you go. I’ve got a full write-up on gesso here for those who want to find out more!

Modelling Paste

I always keep a jar of modelling paste (gel) on hand when building up my paintings. This product in particular has a gel like texture which hold well when applied with a palette knife or scraper.

Modelling Putty

When I need a firmer texture, I like to use modelling putty. It has the advantage of being able to scrape and shape it as it dries to get the texture you desire.



The canvas is the most expensive ingredient in every painting I make. For that reason, it’s important to find a good canvas at an affordable price! Jasart make really sturdy canvases and you can get them delivered to your doorstep through Mightyape. Otherwise, I’ve found the canvases at Bunnings to actually be really good (although they often don’t have many sizes in stock).


I have bought very few individual expensive paintbrushes and am using them mostly for painting with oils. For the most part, I use round and angled paintbrushes from sets that I have ordered through Amazon. I ordered this Artify set a while ago and they are still going strong (even though the ones I use most have chipped handles due to my cat attacking them mid-painting session). Their bristles have also endured my not-so-delicate usage as well. Most recently, I ordered this set of smaller detail brushes and they are working pretty well so far.

Palette Knives

I often spend more time painting these days with a palette knife rather than a paintbrush! It’s such a three-dimensional and visceral way to paint, and I love the streaky lines and hard edges it gives the finished piece. You can grab a basic set of palette knives which includes a few different shapes and sizes, and then figure out which ones you like the feel of.

​​​Wooden Desk Easel

Last but not least, I just HAD to include this easel in my list! I ordered it through Amazon a couple of months ago and I have found it incredibly useful so far. It is very inexpensive and its design is pretty practical. The reason I was looking for a desk easel is because I noticed the perspective was slightly distorted in some of my drawings because of the angle I was working on them. Sitting and drawing on a flat, horizontal surface can lead to distorted drawings. Having my reference photo and my drawing/painting at similar angles allows my eyes to better create an initial sketch to move forward from. You can find the easel here if you are interested.

Business Tools

Stripe – Payments

You’ll need to sign up with a payment processor in order to receive payments online via credit card. Stripe is easy to get set up with, and charge way less fees than PayPal to do the same thing.

PayPal – Payments

PayPal will let you receive payments online much like stripe (although they’ll charge more for it). They do however allow you to send payments effortlessly which is great if you have to pay a supplier. Note some customers feel safer using PayPal to buy online so it pays to register with both PayPal and Stripe so as not to miss out on potential customers.

TransferWise – Foreign Exchange

I’ve run into endless problems sending and receiving foreign currency – and the horrendous fees that banks and PayPal charge Sending and receiving payments online has thankfully become much easier and cheaper thanks in part to TransferWise. It gives you virtual bank accounts in a growing number of countries to receive transfers and can send payments to almost any bank account in the world for a very reasonable fee.

LightRoom & Photoshop

The adobe suit is the industry standard for photo editing but there’s no need to fear an industrial price tag. Both Photoshop and LightRoom can now be purchased on a monthly license for as little at $15/m. All my photos of art are show in RAW, pre-processed in LightRoom, and then edited in Photoshop. Read my tutorial here for getting perfect art pictures from your wall to your computer!

Canva – Graphic Design

Canva is a quick and easy online graphic design tool that gives you the result in minutes that Photoshop would take hours to achieve. Trawl through thousands of templates and you’ll probably find something 95% perfect for what you want already made. I use Canva to help design all my blog images, Instagram posts, Facebook ad campaigns and the list goes on!

Website Tools

NameCheap – Domain Registry

Before you create a website for your art, you’ll need a domain address. Think of this as your street address – and by choosing a good one, you can position your store from the wop wops, to the main street of town. NameCheap is my favourite website that will tell you if your desired domain name is available and then help you buy it. It’s my go to for .com domain names and is incredible value.

GoDaddy  – Domain Registry

GoDaddy is one of the biggest domain registrars around. They charge a little more than some others, but support a wider range of domain extensions such as This site ( is registered with GoDaddy!

SiteGround  – Web Hosting

Next you’ll need hosting. Your website is only as good as your web host, and you want one that is fast, secure, and ultra-reliable. I’ve run the gauntlet with web hosts and keep coming back to SiteGround. They also have some great extra features such as a WordPress migrator tool, a website optimizer plugin, free SSL certification, and impressive 24/7 support.

DreamHost – Web Hosting

While SiteGround is my top choice, sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles (and the cost that comes with it). DreamHost is dirt cheap but offers a top notch service. They will let you host a single site for as little as 4$ a month, and let you pay monthly if you’re not sure if the whole website thing is really right for you.

WordPress – Website

WordPress is the engine behind over 35% of the internet. Best thing of all? It’s free! Who doesn’t like free? Pair this with the powerful WooCommerce plugin, and you’re all set to sell art online. Now there is a slightly steeper learning curve with WordPress than with say Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify but you’ll be rewarded with the extra power, speed and flexibility that it offers.  

WooCommerce – Online Store Plugin

This free plugin allows you to sell anything from your WordPress website. The main advantage of going down the WordPress + WooCommerce route is you’re not paying a monthly service fee such as with Shopify.

Klaviyo – Email Marketing

I run all my email marketing with an awesome service called Klaviyo. They make it super easy to build up a high quality email list from customers, competition entrant, and easy to embed lead-gen forms.  The beauty of Klaviyo is its automated email flows, which means you can pre-set a bunch of emails to sent to your customers based or certain events. I switched from MailChimp to Klaviyo and have never looked back!