Watercolor supplies shopping sounds fun, until you’re at the store and faced with the decision to choose which one is right for you.
Great job on taking the first step in starting your watercolor journey! It’s good you’re here, I will share the things I’ve learned when it comes to buying watercolor supplies.
Acknowledge that having the right supplies will save you hundreds of precious time and it will make painting time more fun and less frustrating.
Good news ! You don’t need too many materials to start with. Sure you will later understand that it’s addicting to buy here and there and it’s another story to tell. But to actually start your creative journey with watercolor, you don’t need so much!
Over the years of trying almost everything I can get my hands on, I finally settled with materials that helped my progress and the process more enjoyable. We will discuss these tried and tested materials in this blog post.
Brushes are our magic wands in the world of painting, as they help us execute our ideas. That is why having the right brushes is very important! It took me a very long time to understand that it wasn’t my lack of skills to paint that made my progress slow. It was my knowledge about materials that made me so. You see, I focused on painting everyday without second guessing my materials because I believed when they said materials are not important. But it wasn’t the case for me because the moment I got myself those nice brushes, everything started to be less frustrating.
Here are my guidelines;
- Shape. A good shape brush will allow you to create thin lines and gestural marks at the same time.
- Ability to load generous amount of water and pigment
- Ability to release fluid in steady flow.
- Can withstand abuse. Good quality brush should be able to withstand frequent use.
The brushes that I use most often are the Black Velvet line and Silver Silk 88 from Silver Brush Limited.
My go-to brushes are
- Round Brush size 6, 8, 12
- Flat Brush size 1”
- Wash Brushes
You’ll need watercolors, of course! Watercolor comes in different forms
Pigments in tubes are easier to mix than pigments in pans or in cakes.
How To Read The Information On Paint Tubes
The way these pigments are named is pretty straight forward: It consists of the color index, or pigment name. The Color Index Name starts with one of 10 pigment codes from the Color Index.
PY – Pigment Yellow
PO – Pigment Orange
PR – Pigment Red
PV – Pigment Violet
PB – Pigment Blue
PG – Pigment Green
PBr -Pigment Brown
PBk -Pigment Black
PW – Pigment White
PM – Pigment Metal
This is followed by a number for a specific pigment in the form of a number.
Note that even one particular pigment can turn into different hues depending on how the pigment is processed, so some manufacturers might make a Cadmium Yellow Light from PY35, and others a Cadmium Yellow Deep.
Right now I only use White Nights of Nevskaya Palitra
One of the first choices you will encounter when selecting a watercolour paper is choosing a surface type. Basically, watercolor papers are differentiate with three surface types;
Hot Pressed (HP), Cold Pressed (NOT) and Rough.
- Hot pressed is the smoothest watercolour paper and isgreat for artists looking to render their subjects in fine detail. This paper is popular with illustrators and designers as it gives a flat finish good for reproduction.
- Cold Pressed paper has a medium textured surface favoured by beginners as it is compatible with a variety of techniques and applications.
- Rough, as suggested by the name, is the most textured watercolour paper. This heavily textured paper is well suited to those with a loose watercolour painting style.
My paper choice is cold pressed Arches, Hahnemuhle and Bao Hong
A palette is where you can mix different colors. You can use a plastic palette which is available most of the time whenever you purchase watercolor pans. You can also use a metal palette or ceramic palette.
I personally use a ceramic palette often.
Ceramic palette improves the performance of your paints. Because of its coating, you won’t see water beading on it. On plastic however, watercolors tend to bead, separating mixes into water pools. It helps a lot that on porcelain, pigments stick together resulting in a beautiful mix of vibrant color.
Cleaning a porcelain palette is also much easier too. And best of all, it doesn’t stain and. Ceramic palettes are very sturdy and designed for years of consistent use.
Once you try painting with a porcelain palette, you’ll probably leave plastic behind for good.
Now that’s all covered, I hope you find the perfect watercolor supplies that would fit your need and your budget.
If I have piqued your interest in trying out watercolors, I will guide you on your journey from novice to pro through my book The Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor. I will be launching it in October, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon.
Good luck on your creative journey!
What are your thoughts about this article? Sound off below or reach out to us!