Watercolor Artist Must Haves
I have wanted to do a post on my favorite watercolor tools for a long time. I am so excited to finally share all this info with you in one place.
I was recently in a painting class with Amy Howard, and during the class she talked about how painting is for everyone. You don’t have to be an artist, or have experience to paint. Leaders like Winston Churchill & President George W. Bush painted to calm their nerves & collect their thoughts. There is something so soothing about the process of creating. It’s a soul calming experience & it’s for everyone. So with all that said, here are my favorite supplies. Add them to your collection, use them to get started, or buy them as a gift for someone. Everything in this list I have personally used & love, and I hope this info helps in your artistic journey.
This post includes affiliate links to products that I personally own, use & love. Products with a link will direct you to where I purchased them. Many of these supplies can be found in your local art supplies stores. I only recommend things that I love & think you will too.
MUST HAVE BRUSHES:
- da Vinci Watercolor Wash/Mop Pure Russian Blue Squirrel, Size 2/0
- Round Russian Red Sable, Size 5/0
- Simply Simmons 8 round synthetic mix
My absolute favorite must have brush out of these three is the da Vinci Wash Mop. It is made from squirrel hair, and holds water & paint like a dream.
The Round Russian Red Sable brush is great for small delicate details.
Simply Simmons is a cheap alternative to the more expensive brushes for beginner painters.
MUST HAVE PAINTS:
This paint is my favorite that I’ve tried so far. It mixes with other paints very well, and leaves beautiful colorful ripple-like outlines when painting with lots of water. It also layers well. I prefer working with wet paints from a tube, rather than using paint from a dry palette. When using paint from a tube, you can almost get the thickness of working with paints like oil or acrylic.
Also, the colors in this set are perfect for earthy paintings, which is huge for me!
MUST HAVE PAPER:
- Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pack 5″x7″
- Cold Press Strathmore Watercolor 140 lb Paper 8″x10″
- Hot Press Strathmore 140 lb Paper 8″x10″
In my experience, the Strathmore brand does a good job holding water, as long as you don’t overload it & let it dry well between layers. I mainly paint with the cold press. It’s thick & slightly textured, which allows it to hold more water.
MUST HAVE FOR LETTERING:
Masking fluid is great for those areas that you don’t want paint to touch. I use it especially for stars & lettering, like in the sample above. It takes a learning curve to use, but always make sure your paper is 100% dry before using it.
You will need some old brushes that you don’t care about to use this technique with, as the texture of the masking fluid is like glue and will ruin your brush. Or you can do what I do and use rubber brushes. The glue still sticks to the tips, but it is easier to peel off & clean afterwards.
MUST HAVE DRYING TOOLS:
- Hair Dryer
For lots of layers, you will want to have a hair blow drier on hand. I just use one that my husband bought me all the way back in highschool.
MUST HAVE TOOLS:
- Kraft Tape
- Paint Palette
I like using tape on my paper edges to create a crisp edge while I paint. It also works great for securing your paper to a board to keep the paper from warping while you paint.
You’ll need an eraser to take away any pencil lines, and “erase” the masking fluid technique once dry.
Last but not least, you will need a paint palette to mix your paints on.
That’s pretty much it! I’ll update this list if I find more tools of the trade I think you all would like. You can see pretty much all of these items in use in my Art Video Tutorials.