Tools & Colors

Bob Ross uses only a handful of tools and colors on his television show 'The Joy of Painting'. Below you can find a short description for each of the basic ones. For best results we recommend using the original Bob Ross colors and tools, but we list cheaper alternatives too.

If you want to get all the basic tools and colors at once we can strongly suggest getting the Bob Ross Master Paint Set, paint thinner and some canvases. The Master Paint Set contains oil colors, a landscape knife, a landscape brush, a background brush, a fan brush, a script liner, and a thirty minute "Bob Ross, Getting Started" DVD. These are great products specially designed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique.


Basic tools

These are the tools that are definitely needed to paint with Bob's wet-on-wet-technique. In addition to them you just need a bucket or trash can, paper towels and maybe some old clothes or a painting apron.
An easel is not necessary if you are just starting out. You can just mount your canvases to the wall or to a ladder using some standard office clamps. But be sure to put some cardboard or paper in between the painting and the wall.

Two Inch Brush

This one is the most used brush on the 'Joy of Painting' television show. Bob uses it to create all kind of things, from clear skies and stormy clouds to big ol' trees and cute little bushes.
It is recommended to use natural hog hair bristle brushes, as their unique characteristics are needed for Bob's technique. Be careful to only use an artist's brush, and not one for painting walls. While a One Inch Brush might come in handy it is not necessary when trying to keep a budget.

Name Grade Comment
Martin/ F. Weber Bob Ross 2-Inch Background Blender Brush Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this brush.
Loew Cornell 758 Chip Brush Set, 1/2-Inch, 1-Inch, 2 Inch For one time use If you have a few oil paints already or just want to try painting once you could get this cheap set of three brushes.

Fan Brush

Bob uses this brush to add highlights to some happy little trees or big fluffy clouds, or paint whole forests with just a few strokes of his hand.
It is most important that this brush is very springy and firm, or the desired effects will be very hard to recreate.

Name Grade Comment
Martin/ F. Weber Bob Ross #6 Fan Blender Brush Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this brush.
Winsor & Newton 5977705 Winton Hog Fan #5 Bristle Brush Good quality A good alternative to the licensed Bob Ross product.
White Bristle Stiff Fan Brush Set Size 2,4,6,8 Great value A whole set of brushes in four different sizes.

Palette Knife

Used to create mighty mountains and beautiful river banks Bob always tells us do just let this knife to the work.
While it is possible to use just plastic tools it is sometimes better to have a little bit of weight from a metal blade and a wooden handle.

Name Grade Comment
Martin/ F. Weber Bob Ross #5 Detail Painting Knife Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this knife. The #10 version of this product might be too big for smaller paintings.
Multicraft Imports 5-Piece Plastic Palette Knife Set Knifes made from plastic A cheap alternative to a metal knife, although the missing weight might make it difficult to get the desired results.

Script Liner Brush

This brush is used to add little sticks and twigs to mighty old trees, foam and highlights to waves in seascapes and of course to sign the finished paintings.
Because of the rather few times this brush is used we recommend to get a cheaper option.

Name Grade Comment
Bob Ross R6422 #2 Script Liner Artist Brush Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this brush.
Student Golden Synthetic Long Liners Brushes Sizes 20/0, 10/0, 5/0, 0 Good enough for the few times this brush is needed Since this one sees little to no use in most of the paintings this set of four brushes is more than enough.

Canvas

Of course every painting needs a canvas. While Bob uses a standard 18" by 24" stretched and double primed canvas any aspect ratio will work. Please notice that Bob's wet-on-wet technique will not work on canvas paper.
We just list a few options here, be sure to choose one that makes you happy.

Name Grade Comment
Bob Ross Canvas Pale Grey 12"x16" (30 x 10cm) Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this canvas.
12x12 Stretched Canvas, 100%-Cotton (Pack of 8) A great value pack of 8 canvases, perfect for practicing.
Darice 18-Inch-by-24-Inch Stretched Canvas, 2-Pack A pack of 2 canvases with the same aspect ratio Bob uses.

Odorless Paint Thinner

Remember: thin paint sticks to thick paint. Used not only to thin paint before applying highlights or signing finished paintings this paint thinner is also used to clean our brushes. But be sure to beat the devil out of them before continuing your masterpieces.
It is very important to use odorless thinner if you are working inside.

Name Grade Comment
Bob Ross R6523 1/2-Gallon, 1.89 Liter Thinner Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique.
Mona Lisa 32-Ounce Odorless Paint Thinner Standard paint thinner.
Martin/ F. Weber Bob Ross Cleaning System Licensed Bob Ross product This set includes thinner, a screen, a drying rack and instructions on how to get your brushes really clean.

Palette

Since Bob likes to mix his paints on his palette it was necessary to have a bigger one made for the show.
We would suggest either getting the big one or not using a palette at all, since the standard ones are just too small for this technique and you'll end up being a mud mixer.

Name Grade Comment
Martin Large Clear French Style Acrylic Painting Palette Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique.
Big Party Pack Paper Dinner Plates 9-Inch, 50/Pkg, White Developed for food, but works just as well as an alternative to a real palette.

Colors

In 'The Joy of Painting' Bob Ross uses rather thick oil paints. Please be careful not to get acrylic based paints, as these will not work for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique.
If you decide to get the Bob Ross Master Paint Set you're already set, if not you can find a few alternatives and of course the licensed Bob Ross products below.

Oil Paints

Bob likes to use a very firm paint which really helps creating his amazing effects when doing mountains or bushes or clouds because with them he is less likely to become an old mud mixer.
Since the licensed products are a little bit more expensive than most beginner oil paint sets there is absolutetly no harm in just getting the cheaper alternatives.

Name Grade Comment
Bob Ross 37-Ml Artist Oil Color Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this type of paint.
Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Colors Set - Basic 10 Color Set, 21ml. Great starter set While cheaper than the licensed product this 10 color set is a great deal for beginners and painters with a little experience.
US Art Supply Professional Oil Paints 12 Tubes Oil Colours Painting Set 12ml You get what you pay for A very cheap set that might be a good idea if you already have the other tools at home and really only want to try painting once.

Liquid White and Liquid Black

Liquid White and rarely Liquid Black are used as a base coat in Bob's wet-on-wet-technique to make for easier blending when creating skies or rivers.
While you can get Liquid White and Liquid Black as finished products you can also make them yourself by mixing white or black oil paint with odorless paint thinner.

Name Grade Comment
Martin/ F. Weber Bob Ross 236-Ml Oil Paint, Liquid White Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this type of paint.
Martin/ F. Weber Bob Ross 236-Ml Oil Paint, Black Licensed Bob Ross product Developed for Bob's wet-on-wet-technique you can expect great results from this type of paint.

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© Felix Auer, 2017