Commonly asked Questions for beginner Artists

Do I really need to know how to draw?

If you were to attend a university, you would spend a year or two learning to draw before you touched paint. Learning to draw correctly is part of teaching your eye and your hand to work together. How often have you wanted to draw something and then it looks totally different.

Learning to simplify every image in basic shapes and drawing using ‘negative space’, teaches you to really look. Students make the mistake of thinking that painting is all about the colour and the paint. That is incorrect. To paint is to use tonal values, the dark and the light to create shape.

Every painting should be divided into values of 2/3, 1/3 and a little bit. Leonie.e.Brown Artist at

What Brand of Paint Should I Buy?

It depends on your budget is. Try various brands and see which you like using.

I recommend to my students to rather use a cheaper, but good blend like Zelcryl, which has a good reputation, and is a good quality local (South African) paint. Rather start with cheaper paint until you are more confident, and don’t waste as much paint.  Leonie.e.Brown Artist at

There are two basic types of paint: student-quality and artist-quality. Student-quality paints are cheaper and they may not be as rich in hue as more expensive paints. This is because there is less pigment in such paints and more extender or filler.

Can I Mix Different Brands of Paint?

Yes of course, and so you should. Some brands might have a specific colour based on their pigments buys, that another brand might not have.

What Colors Should I Get?

Get the primary colours in hot and cold:


  • Cadmium Yelow
  • Cadmium Red
  • Ultramarine Blue


  • Lemon Yellow
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Phthalo Blue


  • White
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnst Sienna
  • Paynes Grey

Why Do I Have to Learn Color Theory?

Color theory is the like learning how to spell for the first time. It is a guide to how colors interact, complement, or contrast with one another.

Knowing how to mix your own colours and how to make them lighter, brighter, duller and darker, will influence the quality of your final work. Good artists should understand how colours mix and influence each other, so that they can repeat the process. Leonie.e.Brown Artist at

How do I clean a Paint Brush?

  • Wipe excess paint off on newspaper
  • Wash off the left over most pigment in the water (acrylics) / turpentine (oils)
  • Wipe off brush with soft cloth
  • Wipe brush up to ferule on bar of soap
  • Rub brush vigorously on the palm of your hand
  • Wash of excess soap with water
  • Push hairs together with fingertips
  • If the brush is still caked with paint, leave it in overnight in Dettol (Chloroxylenol)

Examples of LifeArt Students work using the above principles.