Everything you’ll need to get started with watercolor paint
The first time I painted with watercolor, I was painting a local landscape in plein air. I loved it and took to it so quickly, as it felt a lot like drawing. And it ignited my life-long passion for watercolor. So much so that when I was getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, I squeezed in a watercolor class as an elective, and then proceeded to follow my watercolor professor to paint in Italy two summers in a row.
All that to say, watercolor is by far my favorite medium, and it has been for 20 years now. I love the versatility of the paint, and the friendliness of it. You can cozy up on your couch, allow your kids to dive right in, and meanwhile be working on a masterpiece (think Andrew Wyeth!). I’ve protected this skill set of mine, sort of hid it, nurtured it, and watched it flourish over the years. Now I’m finally ready to start sharing what I’ve learned, so I created this resource to share some of my favorite supplies that I’ve discovered throughout my watercolor journey.
I’m a firm believer that the quality of the ingredients matters—whether you’re baking a cake or putting pigment to paper. So I’m going to share with you a few of my favorite, quality watercolor supplies … I know you’ll love them as much as I do!
1. Beginner Brush Set — Cotman Set
This set is great because it comes with a range of 7 different brushes, making it the perfect, well-rounded set to get started with. You can figure out which brushes you prefer to work with by working with a range.
2. Standard Must-Have — Mop Brush
Mop brushes are a must-have for painting large washes. The larger the brush the more water and pigment the brush will hold so you want to choose a size based on the size of paper you plan to work with.
3. My Favorite — Series 7 Round Brushes
I really love these brushes because they give you a range of abilities—from fine detail to creating washes—you can do it all with a quality round brush. They are my favorite from the list. If detail is something you are interested in achieving, grab yourself a mid-sized round brush. It’s well worth the investment.
Winsor Newton Professional Series
I use Winsor Newton Professional Series Watercolor when I paint. The colors are great and there’s a huge variety of tones. Below are a couple different links to different sets that you can get started with. Keep in mind that you can create a large range of colors using a basic palette. I recommend starting smaller and adding to your collection as you start to get comfortable with the medium.
1. Set of 12
2. Set of 18
3. Set of 24
1. Hot Press Block Paper
This is the paper I use all the time and I absolutely love it! It’s a block of paper. The purpose of a block is to keep the paper taut. This is 140 lb. hot press paper—which means it’s a smooth sheet and thick enough that it won’t ripple. Hot press is great for scanning your artwork. Arches makes some wonderful cold press sheets if you are looking for some texture to the paper.
2. Amalfi Paper
This is an incredible paper from the Amalfi coast — I actually first discovered it when I was in an art gallery there. It’s an incredible quality paper, fun to use, and gives you a way to explore if you want something a little different!
1. Palette with Center Mix and Lots of Color Spaces
I think it’s really important to have spots to mix colors in the center of your palette, and then spots for a lot of different colors on the outer edge. There are a lot of suitable options out there, I chose this one as it is similar to what I use daily.
2. Beautiful Ceramic Palette
If you are looking for something that photographs well this is the palette for you. It doesn’t have enough color spots for me personally, but it’s another great one to start with! (Perfect if you want to show photos of your supplies or your painting process!)
Here are a few extra supplies that I recommend having on hand when you are getting started:
These supplies will set you up to dive into the medium. And if you want tips on painting with watercolor, check out my latest Skillshare class—Watercolor by Design!
NOTE: I am not an affiliate for these brands nor do I get any commission on the purchase of these products. They’re just a few of my favorites that I wanted to share with you.