Each tutorial for coloring and painting mention a Material tab, that icon never shows on my screen. How do I get to this option?
Hover your mouse over the tab list and scroll up or down with the mouse wheel. This will slide hidden tabs into view.
Alternatively you can just make that whole panel wider by dragging the edge of it to the left which will expose the materials tab. The farthest right is a Physics tab that looks like a bouncing ball.