Get a Library
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist you will find that techniques,products and fashions change .Some books for your personal library may give you the information that you need for mastering both basic and more advanced skills.
I have hundreds of books , I have had some for years starting with a book on Renoir that was a school prize in 1956. I love all my art books .
I own all the books that I have reviewed describing and recommending those that I turn to most.
Some of the best all purpose technique and product books I know are by Hazel Harrison .
Her book on watercolours will get any beginner off to a good start and find some refreshing information for old hands.This book works methodically through all the materials that are available and then describes individual techniques and how to master them with illustrated examples.Watercolours are often the first choice of anyone wanting to take up painting for the first time.
Some paints and papers and brushes are expensive .Use this book to help you choose the most suitable products for you.
Acrylics are a relatively new medium and the choice of some notable modern artists like David Hockney.They are mixed with water or a gel medium and can be applied to paper or canvas .They are very forgiving and mistakes can easily be rectified by painting them over with more paint.They dry very quickly , you can paint a picture and have it on the wall within an hour.Hazel Harrison's Encyclopedia of Acrylic Techniques is one of my most dog eared books,full of advice on the use of these practical paints.
If you fancy trying pastels then the Pastel Artists Bible will give you all the basic information you need before selecting materials. There are several kinds of pastels,it is as well to review your options before choosing your materials to avoid making expensive mistakes.
Drawing and Sketching
Before you start to paint it is as well to develop some basic drawing skills.There are many books on the market but I have never found a better one than A Foundation Course by Peter Stanyard and Terry Rosenberg ,it is worth seeking out a second hand copy .
Keeping a sketchbook is a good habit to develop for and new and experienced artists. I have always liked Moira Huntley's Sketchbook Secrets. This book demonstrates the development of sketches to finished drawing.Sketching on holiday is well covered with advice on how to cut down on materials for air travel.