acrylic on paper
So you like to do portraits and you are really ready to start painting. Here is a list of supplies you'll need. Now keep in mind this is just to get your feet wet, you'll definitely be adding more later but this will move you in the right direction.
Try painting on watercolor paper. Here are some of the advantages:
a. It will make the transition easier because you can draw on watercolor paper like any other paper. It is not as easy to draw on canvas.
b. Easy storage in the beginning when your figuring things out. You won't have to make so much space for a 24 page watercolor tablet like you would 24 canvases.
Make your drawing with a 2H pencil. your using a 2H pencil because it makes light lines that won't bleed too much into the paint & it easy to erase to keep your drawing as clean as possible. By making a drawing you will greatly improve the possibility of success. You're doing something you know how to do, which will be a road map for the thing you are learning. You could even use color pencils or watercolor pencils.
Use a limited pallet of burnt sienna, mars black, titanium white. I find that skin tones are red based. Sienna is a reddish brown color. If you add white it makes it look like lighter skin tones. If you add black it looks like darker skin tones. There isn't any fancy formula to figure out. Lighter skin tones are mostly titanium white with a touch of sienna. Darker skin tones are mostly sienna and touches of mars black (video to see how I handle dark skin tones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t9cjOlgMk0 ) .
Use a #2 & 5# round and a 3/4 flat brushes. I used Princeton red sable synthetic best series brushes. But I would recommend that you get white taklon brushes.
a. You'll need to use synthetic brushes because acrylic paint destroy natural hair bristles.
b. You should choose white taklon over the Princeton red synthetic sable best series brushes because taklon brushes have stiffer bristle. They can handle more paint and retain its shape. the softer bristle Princeton brushes are better for watercolor like techniques. Because you'll be experimenting with different technique those taklon brushes will be a better value.
c. The #2 brush is use for fine details. The 3/4 flat brush is use for larger areas like the background. You will probably use the #5 the most. In this painting I diluted the paint very very thin. I applied the paint in thin washes (video where I use a similar technique https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwWRpI0tGd0 ). I let each layer dry fully before starting a next one.
Other essential not in the video are containers, towels and a pallet. You'll need a container to wash your brushes and a towel to wipe it (video on paint brush maintenance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA702oKiXPg ). You need a water bottle to keep paints wet. My pallet is a jewelry box I found at a discount store. It works great because it closes and that eliminates the problem of having your paint dry too quickly. Anything that closes and has a none porous surface will work fine like portion cup or an ice tray. Just put plastic rap on top to keep it wet. So that is everything I think you'll need to get started. And if you really want to paint on canvas anything you'll find at a craft or art supply store should be fine. Stay away from heavy weight and medium weight canvases if you can for now.