Watercolor Basics – Supplies

Watercolor supplies examples

If you’re like me, I have a 6.72mil Crayola watercolor kit from elementary school. Hey, that works! But if you’re serious about watercolor, you may want to invest in something of a bit more quality. This blog post will take you through the paint, paper, and tools needed to start the watercolor process.


First things first… the paint!If you stop by Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or your local craft store, they’ll be sure to have a basic watercolor set like the one I’ll be using. I recommend the brand “Masters touch”. It’s great quality and inexpensive to help when you’re first starting out. But seriously, crayola watercolors will work for this course. I will be using this set (shown on the left of the photo below), because I believe it is what 90% of you will end up with, so it will make my instructions a little more followable. There’s a couple other forms you‘ll see as well!

Watercolor paint examples

On the left of the photo above are the watercolors I will be using. On the right is a must-have for all serious artists. This is my watercolor travel kit. As you can see, it is heavily used and needs a good wash. This set will be your best friend. She’s transportable, concise, and has built-in mixing palettes (this is important)! My travel kit is Windsor and Newton (purchased on amazon). I take her everywhere with me. Perfect for painting in the park, on your porch, or wherever you like!

Watercolor paints

Last, but not least, we have our tubed watercolors (on the far right). I recommend either a basic watercolor palette or the travel palette when you’re starting out, but we’ll still go over the tubes just in case! To use these wet colors you’ll need a palette. See mine right behind them in the photo? You’ll squeeze out VERY LITTLE of the color (these are highly pigmented) and add water. (I will teach you techniques in our next lesson if you go with this method.) The paints will dry up, THAT’S OK! Just add water the next time you want to use them and voila, they’re back. We‘ve talked over three paint options: our regular watercolor palette, the travel palette, and the tubed paints. Which of these options you choose is up to you. Now, we have our paint. What other tools will we need??


Watercolor brush examples

Next up… the brushes! Now, we are going to be working on some detailed watercolors in the course, so I recommend the smallest brushes you can find. Some big, but mostly small to start. Brand does not matter for these, but keep in mind some cheaper brands may have the bristles fall off, and it gets a little annoying. Again, “Master’s touch” is a great brand! There’s one more option to discuss… the water brush. This brush actually holds the water for you. You just squeeze out the amount of water you want and add it to your colors. This brush goes great if you are getting a travel set. For this course, I will be using regular brushes to go with my basic water color kit, and I won’t go too far with instruction on the travel kit and water brush, but leave me a message on this site if you want to see a future blog post about it! So, your brush options are small brushes (the more you get, the more you have to play with!) or a water brush. Brushes, check. Paper, next!


Watercolor paper types and examples

Paper time!I highly suggest getting a watercolor sketchbook like mine. Make sure it‘s watercolor paper, it‘s thicker and will help not bleed through to the other pages. Having a sketchbook like mine helps track your progress so you can see how far you’ve come. I know I know that can be scary… but trust me… it’s so cool to see how repetition and practice carries such a long way in your skills. I will be using a sketchbook in this course. If you head to your local art shop (aka Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc…) you can find your fancy ones and your more budget-friendly options. I wouldn‘t invest too much since you‘re just starting your skills, save that fancy one for when you’re ready to fill it with those beautiful pieces ;-). Next up, we have card stock. I would recommend this if you’re planning on making cards with your skills. It may bleed a bit, so make sure you have another piece or some cardboard behind it while you’re working. Finally, we have watercolor paper. This is a totally fine option, however, prices can range, so I typically save this for when I have a masterpiece project I’m working on, but we will go over how to use it if some of you want to invest! So we have our three options: sketchbook, cardstock, and watercolor paper. Which you choose is up to you. Just think about what you’re learning watercolor for, and go from there.


Watercolor color wheel
Watercolor color wheel

Now, for our final tool, we have… the (optional) color wheel!! This is a very useful tool that will strengthen our paintings and make them look even better. Color comes naturally to a lot of people, and for some it doesn’t. Either way, it’s good to have a resource to be able to look back on. This wheel is used to show us warm/cool, complimentary, and analogous colors. Don’t worry, we’ll go over all those terms and definitions when the time comes. Now, the reason I put optional here is because we have a beautiful thing called the internet. If you look up color wheel in your search bar, so many options come up! It can be a little overwhelming about which is right for you at first, so I’ve attached one here you can save (if it lets you) or screenshot to save to your library. I love my physical one, that way it’s right there when I need it, but it’s not an essential purchase when you’re just starting out. This is the last piece of supply we are going to speak about….now…. time to go shopping!


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