A few weeks ago I asked on social media if anyone had any questions about watercolors, and got some amazing feedback! Thank you so so much to everyone who left questions and comments! I love watercolors, so it makes me really happy that so many of you are interested in getting to know it better. Since the questions covered a lot of ground (materials, techniques, etc), I’m going to be creating separate posts for different topics. Kicking things off with a list of materials I use.
A quick disclaimer that I’m forever practicing and experimenting, so will probably continue to explore and change things up as I go. I always find it really helpful to get a peek into an artist's toolbox since there's SO MUCH out there to choose from, but at the end of the day I know it's perfectly fine to use whatever I like (cheap or expensive), however I like. THERE ARE NO RULES.
Okay, here goes!
I purchase most of my supplies online through Blick, which is local to where I live. I'm also incapable of walking out of any arts & crafts/stationery store without finding some amazing thing that I never knew I needed.
Out of all my painting supplies, paper is the only thing I’m somewhat particular about. I say “somewhat" because I’m not loyal to any brand, but it’s the one area where I actually notice a difference depending on what I use.
For doodling and practicing I use whatever is cheapest at the local art shop, but for everything else I use 100% cotton, cold-pressed (textured) paper. Both types of papers can produce lovely effects, but I noticed that most of my favorite techniques work better on the cotton sheets. They can take a lot more water, and the colors do beautiful things on them.
Here’s what I’m currently using (they’re all great!):
Strathmore Ready-Cut Watercolor Sheets
This cotton paper is pretty affordable, and I love that it comes cut into convenient 5 x 7 inch sheets.
Arches Watercolor Pad
Fabriano Artistico Extra White Watercolor Block
These are both great brands! I use the 9 x 12 inch sheets for most of my paintings these days, although I'm starting to dream about painting bigger.
Various Sketchbooks + Practice Papers
Paper is pretty much my partner in crime when it comes to watercolors, and I think it really is as much a part of the medium as the paint. I wish I could paint on all kinds of surfaces and get the same beautiful effects, but have yet to figure out how. Must continue experimenting!
I use a combination of a bunch of different paints:
LEFT: Angora Watercolor Pan Set
I was gifted an Angora pan set when I first started painting, and just bought this new set. I usually mix and match the colors or use them in combination with the paints below. I love the portability, and having a bunch of different colors to play around with.
RIGHT: Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolor Set
I love love love this set! The colors are all amazing (especially the indigo, which is almost gone because I use it for everything T-T), and the intensity of the pigments is just wonderful.
Tube paints are great for mixing specific/custom colors, or if I need a large amount of a certain color. I have colors from different brands, including Daniel Smith, Grumbacher, Holbein, Schmincke, Utrecht, and Winsor & Newton — some were gifted to me, others I bought because they were recommended, or just on a whim because they happened to be on sale. Here again I’m not partial to any brand, but I've noticed that I use ridiculous amounts of the Shell Pink by Holbein Artists' Watercolors, and lots and lots of blue from all the tubes.
The semi-clean one on the left is for when I want more control over the colors, and the messy one (that I never clean) is for spontaneous mixing/experimenting.
LEFT: Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Liquid Watercolors, Titanium White
I use this little guy to add a drop or two of white to my colors when I’m in the mood for pastels (which is pretty much always and forever).
RIGHT: Holbein Artists' Gouache, Pearl Gold
I've tried a lot of gold paints, but this one is by far my favorite! I use ridiculous amounts of this one too.
I’m all about the round brushes, and own a few in different sizes. They’re really versatile and can create a lot of different effects, so I haven’t really ventured out to use much else.
From top to bottom:
Pentel Aquash Brush Pen
This one is for when I'm on the go (it carries water in the brush, so you don't need to worry about water cups). It takes a little getting used to, but it's very convenient once you get the hang of it!
Blick Scholastic Golden Taklon Round, size 14
Escoda Perla Toray White Synthetic Round, size 12
Raphaël Kolinsky Red Sable Fine Pointed Round, size 3
The trio of brushes I use the most. The size 14 and 12 to fill in larger areas, and the size 3 for details. I buy new brushes once in a while to test them out, but always end up coming back to these guys.
Princeton Neptune Oval Wash, 3/4”
My one non-round brush. It's a mop! I use it mostly to lay down water (like in the video below).
LEFT: MUJI color pencils, toothbrush and sponge
Color pencils for adding some finishing touches, toothbrush + sponge for creating different textures/effects.
TOP RIGHT: Pens
I don't use pens too much, but the Pigma Micron Pens work great with watercolors since they're waterproof, and the White Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen is handy for adding little details.
BOTTOM RIGHT: The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver
Keeps my brushes clean and in good condition.
…And that’s it! Woohoo we made it! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, or if YOU have any favorites when it comes to art supplies. I'd love to hear your recommendations♥