Over time, I got a ton of queries about watercolour supplies & materials.
Here is a very basic list of what I like, and for most of them, use myself.
By the way, I am not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned here 😉, just sharing from my experience, and love for good quality at a reasonable price.
I added links to Amazon.com, as it's quite ubiquitous, but if you can, try and support your local art supplier.
I usually go to my favourite art supplies shop around the corner. It's my "Caverne d'Alibaba", owned by a very sweet and experienced old man who always shares good tips.
With watercolour you'll only really need one or two brushes to begin with:
Round shape, good quality synthetic hair (bonus point for being cruelty-free and vegan) will work fine.
If you are painting on A5 or A4 sheets of paper, start with smaller sizes, from 0 to 3 (although each brand has a different way of measuring, but that will give you a reference)
- My favourite brush to paint with is the Raphael SoftAqua Synthetic, Watercolor Brush, Series 805, Quill, from Size 0 to 04
- Any calligraphic Japanese brush will be a good addition (they are quite cheap, made of natural goat hair. Expect a few hairs to fall down as you paint, it's normal)
- If you are after better quality brushes, natural hair brushes are the must, they will hold longer in time, get back to their original shape easily, hold a lot more water inside, and do finer lines with the tip of the brush: Raphael Kazan Squirrel Brush, Watercolor, Series 803, Quill Mop.
Start with A5 or A4 paper size pads, no less than 300grms (your paper will warp), cold press texture, fin grain. Avoid spiral pads, it's just not practical.
The Canson XL Series Watercolor Pad is great to start with.
Start with a 12 half-pan palette colour, fine watercolour quality.
I have bought my first Winsor & Newton 12 half pan palette when I was 15, and it's still there (on the picture above).
They last forever!
I find 12 is enough in many cases, but this is where more is better in the long run.
If you're just starting, wait until you get the hang of it and until you have a better idea of the subjects and their colours.
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers' Pocket Box, Half Pans, 14-Pieces
- Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle Watercolor Paint Set - 12 Half Pan
- As a bonus, very personal touch, I like to add an extra colour on the side: this bright Opera Pink from Daniel Smith
Optional, to go further
- Masking fluid Drawing gum to do the fine-detail reserve (blank) parts.(Beware: drawing gum ruins brushes. Buy and use a fine and cheap synthetic brush only for this)
- Faber-Castell Watercolor Pencil Set of 24 Colors to add details.
- Clean paper towel (to soak the water from your brush, or clean up when you spill your water reserve all over your desk 😅)
- Any HB lead pencil
- Any rubber
- 3 glasses of water: one for cold colours, one for hot colour, one that stays mostly clear.
- A blank palette to mix your colours on and test the amount of water from your brush. Best is using a small piece of watercolour paper (I use the back of the paintings that went wrong) or cardboard plate or anything that can hold water (avoid plastic).
There! That should not only get you started but actually last you for quite some time.
I'll update and grow this list every now and then. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to stay in touch and for more goodies like this one.
Feel free to share your favourite art supplies in the comments.
And most of all, have fun!