Africa and Nigeria to be precise is home to several arts and talented artists. From the bronze sculptures of the Benin culture made between the 15th and 19th century to the terracotta sculptures of Northern Nigeria and pottery of the traditional Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo contemporary culture.
Several Nigerian artists have built sculpture figures (using clay, marble, wood or bronze), done very creative works with the art of pottery and demonstrated their mastery of colour in paintings.
Some of these traditional terracotta sculptures, bronze sculpture figures of the Benin culture and Yoruba clay artworks dating back in time as far as the 14th Century can be found in the National Museum of Nigeria in Lagos and Benin City as well as international art galleries and museums such as the Yale University Art Gallery, the Berlin Ethnologisches Museum, British Museum, Weltmuseum Wien, Field Museum of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Painting is one of the most important creative arts of contemporary times. It is a medium for expressing one's imaginations and thoughts, using pigments (colour) on a surface such as paper or canvas.
Ancient traditional artists or painters made paintings or visual arts on walls and hidden caves using charcoal or dirt mixed with animal fat or spit.
Artists, especially painters must have the best possible material available to them. This is to ensure that people can express themselves and do beautiful artwork.
Every creative artist has his or her style, whether that is painting on silk, on glass, on canvas, with watercolour or oil paint. The required tools will therefore be different for each artist. This makes it possible to create your painting style.
In this article, we shall explore the essential materials new painting students in Nigeria and other African countries need to buy as they kickstart their voyage to the mastery of this creative art.
Read on how to become a painter in Nigeria.
Choosing Your Favorite Paint
Have you discovered that you have a great passion for painting? Would you also like to hold a paintbrush?
That means you have to practice. As a new painter, you need to remember that you can't just suddenly become a Van Gogh! If you want to make a beautiful portrait of your sister, you will first need to know which type of paint, which brushes to use, and what to paint on.
Superprof offers online painting lessons!
Watercolour is a favourite of contemporary mobile artists and new painting students. You can easily take this type of paint with you, and you don't need a lot of stuff, just paint, a brush and some water. This painting method uses finely ground pigment, and it is done on special paper that absorbs the water without bubbling. You can buy it in A4 blocks of 25 sheets, and it's convenient for people or art students to take it anywhere.
The paint is sold using small tubes or blocks. These tubes are in a special medium that can also be used as a palette. A set will cost you between 10,000 NGN and 50,000 NGN. The more expensive ones usually have better pigment.
Gouache is composed of pigment using gum arabic as the binder with a solid white pigment next to it. It is widely used in schools and is the easiest to use of all paints.
You can just dilute it with water and use it on any kind of paper. It is much more opaque than watercolour. The price is low because of its simple composition and because it is intended for children and people new to painting.
This is a mixture of pigment and oil in a binder made from acrylic resin and water. Thanks to the water, acrylic paint is known to be easily washable if it has not yet dried.
It dries very quickly, making it a great paint for painters who don't want to spend days working on their artworks. However, it means that when mixing colours on your palette, you need to be quick.
Tubes of acrylic paint cost between 500 NGN and 3000 NGN each and are usually sold in sets.
This paint is made using pigment and drying oil. It is known to be very popular with painters who want to take a long time. Usually, three coats are needed to get good coverage. The first layer is done with white spirit to fix the shapes. The next layers are mixed with more and more oil.
Each coat needs to dry for several hours before continuing. Painting in several layers allows you to correct any mistakes. Make sure you paint in a ventilated environment as the drying oil is harmful to health.
You can buy oil paints for amounts between 700 NGN and 3000 NGN per tube. It is wise not to take the cheapest paint. High-quality paint is the first step to a successful work of creative art as painting.
These painting techniques will help improve your painting skills.
Getting the Right Paintbrushes
Brushes are indispensable for all contemporary African or Nigerian artists. Even though some prefer to paint using their fingers, having a few brushes to finish a masterpiece is common. You can get brushes in different shapes and sizes. You have to pick the right stem available.
Short-handled brushes work well with watercolours, while long-handled brushes are usually used for canvas painting. The longer the handle, the easier it is to take a step back from your work. However, with a short handle, it is easier to work precisely.
As for the handle’s material, it is important to choose a handle that feels comfortable. The paintbrush is an extension of your arm, so you need to pick out the best one available.
The bristles of the paintbrush come in different kinds: natural extra-fine, natural fine, ox hair, goat hair or pony hair, in addition to synthetic hair types. The choice depends on the type of painting you want to make.
Painting kits for children not only have the right brushes but also other supplies such as:
- Cotton canvas
- Linen canvas
- Synthetic canvas
- Cover paper,
- Graphite pencils
- Acrylic paint
- and so forth
Paintbrushes have all kinds of shapes: a round point, flat point, chisel or fan brush. If you buy a set with different shapes, you can use each brush for a different effect: fine lines, surfaces and so on.
How to Choose the Right Paintbrush
Ask at an art store if you can see the paintbrushes you are looking for. The seller will be able to give you further information about shape and hair type. For example, sable hair brushes are used for oil paint and paintbrushes are usually provided with pig bristles because it is a bit stiffer.
Rather not spend money on cheap brushes and brushes intended for children. The synthetic hair will become loose quickly, and you will only have a short use of it.
How Much Should I Spend For a PaintBrush?
The price can vary considerably depending on the type. The type of wood, the quality of the bush in which the hair is secured, and the type of hair are factors in this. If you are financially tight, it is wise to find a compromise between price and quality.
See how to learn to paint online in Nigeria.
What are the Best Surfaces to Paint on?
Many Nigerian and other African painters with different techniques choose to paint their works on canvas. This gives you a large surface to paint on. This carrier is also strong enough for people to take to exhibitions. There are different types of cloth.
The traditional canvas is made from linen or cotton. This material is very good to use because it is sturdy and absorbent. Usually, however, it is made of polyester. This carrier is reasonably priced and of good quality. This type of canvas does not crease easily like cotton.
It is the cheapest but leaves something to be desired. The surface detaches over time and with temperature differences. Not ideal if a professional painter or art student wants to display his or her work in different places!
However, if you prefer watercolour, you will prefer to use paper. In this case, you should pay attention to the thickness and structure. Some papers are smoother than others allowing the brush to move more freely. If you want to be original, you can also use wood or even porcelain!
Sign up for a painting workshop via Superprof.
Other Useful Painting Accessories
If you want to paint a beautiful landscape or portrait, consider adding some accessories to your tools. If you buy something good, it can last for years.
Painters who like to work on canvas need to find something that they can easily put upright. Easels are available in wood or metal. Prices are approximately between 10,000 NGN and 50,000 NGN.
This object is often overlooked, but it is not easy to mix colours on a sheet of paper. Most palettes are made of wood. However, blocks of special paper in the form of a palette are also sold. A painter who does not like to place all kinds of layers of paint on top of each other sometimes prefers this.
But if you don't have a palette yet, you can also work with a piece of cardboard.
The Art Box
Once you have all the necessary materials, it is important to take good care of them. Brushes, in particular, can last for years if you handle them with care. A small art box is very suitable for this. You can store everything in your box: extra thin brushes, special paints, gold-plated material, decorative paint, fabric paint and so on.
Some like to clean their brushes in water, others like to use a cloth. This also depends on the painting technique since every artist has his or her way of painting.
Learn how to paint by taking private classes from an art tutor.
Where To Buy Painting Supplies
There are specialised shops all over Nigeria and other African countries where you can buy everything relating to contemporary painting: watercolour paper, white spirit, palettes, linseed oil, chalk pastel, Canson paper, drawing pencils, solvent, thickener, varnish, canvases, or spalters.
These Nigerian or African art stores are loved by art students and even professional painters. You can find a wide range of painting and drawing materials there. Some of these painting supplies include:
- Mechanical pencils
- Coloured pencils
- Drawing paper
- Paint tubes
- Paint rollers
- Brushes and tassels and so on.
If you are taking painting lessons in Nigeria or Africa at large, your teacher will recommend that you go to one of the numerous art stores to buy good quality materials. You can, of course, also buy online, but you will not get the same advice there, and there is also less choice. However, you can go there for the normal stuff for a reasonable price.
Anyway, by now, you know enough to get going!
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