This is a list of my favorite watercolor supplies. This list changes, as I am always exp!oring new ways of working and love, love, love to play with paint and art materials!
I have provided links in this list to help you order more easily. Click on the letters highlighted in blue to shop online at Amazon and have the supplies delivered to your door. I attach these links for your convenience as part of the Amazon Associates Program. Your purchase via these links does not impact your price. It does help support my studio and my efforts to be a resource for inspiration and advice for you on your artistic journey. ❤️ 🎨The following list is pretty comprehensive. I have a simplified supply list for Beginners which you can access here: Beginner’s Supply List- Watercolor
You’ll want something to organize your paints when you squeeze them out of the tube. Palettes are convenient and make transporting your paints easier. My favorite palette in the studio is Cheap Joe’s Piggyback Palette.
Always use Artist quality watercolors! They will yield the most beautiful results. Student grade paints will be cheaper, and the price will seem SO ATTRACTIVE, but results will always be duller and “less than” luminous. I do not recommend using them, and cringe when I see students use them in class.
My favorite Artist quality brands of watercolor are Winsor Newton and Holbein, but I use different brands for different colors. So long as you use Artist Quality with any of the following brands, you will be fine.
YOU DON’T NEED EVERY COLOR
In fact when you are beginning to paint in watercolor, I’d suggest purchasing the 3-reds, 4-blues, and 4-yellows I have listed them below as “must haves”
DS= Daniel Smith
AJ= American Journey (Cheap Joe’s Brand)
WN= Winsor Newton
MG= M Graham
Here’s a great introductory kit from Daniel Smith that has 2 reds, 2 blues, and 2 yellows:
Daniel Smith Extra Fine Essentials Introductory Watercolor, 6 Tubes, 5ml Currently $34.74 on Amazon Prime
Fun to Have:
- Winsor Red (WN)
- Permanent Alizarin Crimson– W/N or other brands (Make sure it says Permanent!)
- Perylene Maroon (WN)
- Opera Rose (WN)
- Vermillion (HWC )
Fun to Have:
- Cerulean Blue any brand
- Indigo WN
- Sky Blue (AJ) or Verditer Blue (HWC)
- Cobalt Teal Blue (DS) or Andrew’s Turquoise
Not necessary but Fun to Have:
- Hooker’s Green (WN HWC)
- Leaf Green (HWC) or Skips Green (AJ)
- Phthalo Green (this color is often referred to by the brand name- eg. Winsor Green, Joe’s Green (Cheap Joe’s)
Fun to Have:
Oranges: Fun to Have
Violets: Fun to Have
- Passionate Purple (AJ) or Permanent Magenta (AJ)
- Lavendar (HWC)
- Cobalt Blue Violet DS or Ultramarine Violet by Schmincke
- Janet’s Violet Rose (AJ)
- Lunar Black (DS)- I love the granularity of this color, which allows it to mix with other colors and let them shine through. I use it only occasionally, but it’s fun to have.
- White gouache or Titanium white– These are fun opaque colors to have for glazing, recapturing white or tinting colors.
- Gesso (acrylic) white, black or gold– fun to have for surface preparation
Brushes- These are my must have brushes
If you’re just starting out, don’t bother purchasing any of the expensive brushes that are out there. Use these reliable and sturdy brushes till you’re sure you want to invest in the more expensive variety.
- ½ inch, ¾ and 1 inch flat synthetic brushes
- 2 inch Hake brush
- Small oriental calligraphy brush set
- Loew Cornell Golden Taklon Series 7020 Ultra Round Sz 12 *my favorite workhorse brush
- Loew Cornell Golden Taklon Series 7020 Ultra Round Sz 8
- Loew Cornell Golden Taklon Series 7020 Ultra Round Sz 10
- Cheap Joes Golden Fleece 1 ½ or 2 inch wash
- Rigger brush- size 5 or 6 (for lines and masking)
- size 1 round- for signatures
Always work on the best paper that can handle what you want to do. Arches 140 lb is the paper I recommend for most projects in class. When in the studio with me I provide Arches 140 lb. paper at my cost- $1.75 per quarter sheet ($7/full sheet)
Beginners often will do well painting on a watercolor block. These come in a variety of sizes and keep the paper flat as you work and as it dries. Size 9×12 Size 12 x 16 , Size 7.9 x 7.9 , Size 10 x 14, Size 18 x 24
If you order paper, then I suggest starting with Cold press 140 lb Arches smooth or rough. You may order full sheets and tear them to size. You have a choice of bright white or natural white (better for portraits and figures).
Miscellaneous “Must Have’s”
- Pencils for drawing 2B or HB- I like the Papermate automatic pencils
- Pebeo Drawing Gum (masking fluid)
- White archival pens- Uniball white gel pen and Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen are my favorites
- Generals Gummy eraser
- Oops! Eraser
- Magic erasers- cleaning sponges
- Clips- 4 bulldog type
- Masking Tape 2″ wide tan colored
- Flexible Straws
- a straight edge safety razor blade or box cutter
- Sketch pad for sketching or taking notes doing value studies-
- Moleskine watercolor journals are great- my favorite size is 5×8 and (fits in your purse easily) They have a hard bound cover which can make them awkward to paint on in the field, but the paper is lovely and the books are well bound. Click here to order Moleskine Watercolor pads in 5 x 8 size
- I’m gravitating to using the Bockingford 9×12 spiral bound journals. These fold back on themselves and are not too big, allowing for nice sized landscape or portrait work on location or anywhere. Click to order: Bockingford 9 x 12
- To create an incline: You’ll need a Hard smooth plywood board or Gatorboard to support your paper: you may use mine while in class at my studio 18×24 or 24×36.5
- (To create your own support boards here are some dimensions: 22 X 32 for full sheet, 16-17 X 22-23 for half-sheet, 12-13 x 16-17 for quarter sheet size paintings)
Fun to Have Extra’s:
- Sharpie Marker- black
- Elegant Writer Calligraphy Marker in Black (I have these in the studio if you wish to get them during class)
- Stabilo Black Woody Crayon– this useful little guy is great for creating a quick study in black and gray on location. Later on, you can watercolor over it to capture more colors and detail.
- Notebook and paper – You may want to bring one to classes with me for gathering handouts and taking notes. You could also use your sketch pad for this purpose
- Newsprint pad for your use at home. I provide free newsprint for your use in the studio during classes.
- Tracing Paper large sheets- for your use at home. I provide free tracing paper for your use in the studio during classes.
- Wax Free Transfer paper— for your use at home. I provide free transfer paper for your use in the studio during classes.
- Sparkly Iridescent Watercolor palette- I love to travel with this little palette and add a little “bling” to my sketches: Paul Rubens Iridescent Watercolor Palette 24 colors