Thursday, May 30, 2024

Watercolor Class Supply List

Watercolor Supply List

Watercolor Supply List

The most basic list of watercolor supplies for any skill level.  Whether you plan to paint daily or just for bringing to a painting class, this is a description of the main items necessary for building your starter kit.  Links for some items help give you an idea of what to shop for.

 I have considered the price points for anyone who might be budget conscious. When starting out, it's wise to choose where the costs are cut and where to invest for better quality.  Start out with the staple items and maybe you'll find later that you'd like to purchase a few more after some time.  Experimenting and learning skills will help guide where you would most enjoy new supplies.

Watercolor set of pans or tubes: brands such as Pentel, Sargent, Arteza and Royal & Langnickel are good for beginners.  I use Daniel Smith and other professional grade brands.  I would choose tubes over pans.  Watercolor pigment can be sprayed to reactivate the paint for each session.  Purchase an affordable set of tubes and later if you know you want to continue with watercolors, add higher end brand watercolors a tube at a time.  I have used Reeves watercolor pigments for class purposes but it seems difficult to find now.  I have also used VanGogh watercolor pigments for class purposes and it is an excellent quality for the money. An affordable set of Pentel watercolor in tubes is linked here.  

I really do recommend purchasing a set of tubes and the palette linked in the next section.  The watercolor easily dispenses into each plastic pan.  Label each pan on the side with a fine-point permanent marker before filling with watercolor pigment.  The convenience of this set up is really great whether painting at home, on the go, outdoors, or in a class setting.

Watercolor palette examples.

Palette: a plastic palette with sections for mixing paint.  Separate wells for dispensing tube paints.  A stay-wet palette is not necessary but a cover is handy for transport.  Plastic cling film is just as useful for a cover.  If you are using pans of watercolor pigment, a white plastic lid from sour cream container will be a great money saver. A metal empty set by Loeneng in either half-pan or full-pan is affordable and great for use at home and travel.  A half-pan holds 2 ml and a full-pan holds around 5 ml pigment.

A plastic lid can be reused for mixing watercolors.

Brushes: synthetic round brushes are great for occasional painting and beginners.  Sizes 4 and 6 round brushes most necessary.  A size 2 and 8 round would be the next addition to the art stash. This Royal & Langnickel set is affordable and durable.

A variety of round brushes from my own stash.

Watercolor paper:  100% cotton, cold press, 140 lb. watercolor paper.  100% cotton means the paper will hold up to basic techniques without pilling and breaking down.  Cold press means the paper has some texture as watercolor paper is known to have; this is helpful for dry brush technique.  140 lb. weight means the thickness of the paper is enough to not buckle and warp excessively.  Affordable options are Strathmore, Kilimanjaro, and Saunders.  Strathmore watercolor paper precut to 25 sheets of 5" x 7".   I use Arches most often but it is a bit more investment.  Watercolor paper will make a big impact on what you are able to do with watercolor painting experiments. (Please avoid Canson paper as it will not hold up well and you'll be frustrated easily.)  Shown below are 5" x 7" Arches cold pressed watercolor paper in 140 lb. weight; I buy my own paper in large sheets and cut to different sizes.

Arches 140 lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper cut to 5" x 7" pieces.

A container for rinsing brushes: a plastic container saved from sour cream, a canning jar, any container for water which holds about 8 ounces of water or more.

Water containers are inexpensive and work well.

Pencil and eraser. A mechanical pencil is useful for not needing to be sharpened.  A 2B standard graphite pencil works well as well.  A kneaded artist eraser and a Pentel mechanical eraser are my most used erasers with watercolor paper. Shown here are my main go-to pencil and erasers.

My favorite pencil and eraser options used daily.

A support board and 1/2" art masking tape are necessary for working with watercolor.  I have boards cut from white flat paneling which I use for my artwork.  I do not have any for purchase and you will need to be able to have your own support board for painting at home.  Finding reasonably priced quality options for you, here are my suggestions; the Ampersand Painting Panel 1/8" thick and 9" x 12" is large enough to paint up to 8" x 10" once tape is applied.  TSSART White Art Tape with medium tack and no residue is acid-free and perfect for keeping watercolor paper rippling at a minimum.  I use the 1/4" tape for small pieces of artwork.  If painting larger, the 1/2" is perfect for a firm hold.  Here below is a photo of the board and tapes I use often.

My support board and masking tape as examples.

Optional & Additional:

I will show and demonstrate other miscellaneous materials in class which you may decide to add to your own supply stash.  These may include:  masking fluid, fine point permanent pen, Dr. Ph. Martins Bleed Proof White, calligraphy pen with nib and black India ink.

You may have other art supplies to use along with watercolors and feel free to bring them with you.  I am listing the most basic necessary supplies.  If you have other art materials you would love to experiment with, definitely bring them and play with possibilities.  Watercolor pencils, chalk pastels, oil pastels, charcoal...and more!

I have linked several options above to give examples of what to shop for in watercolor supplies.  You can find many other sources for purchasing these.  For ease, you can shop with Amazon or look for other locations.  I order from Dick Blick, Cheap Joes Art Stuff, and Jerry's Artarama for best selection and reasonable prices.  I find Hobby Lobby and Michaels to be hit and miss on pricing and selection.


Before taking a class with me, consider reading the post 24 Must-Try Watercolor Techniques and download & print the pdf PDF of Watercolor Techniques Pg. 1 and 2 .  For the pdf, it will send me a request to share and once I approve, it will be all yours!  These descriptions of techniques are really helpful in learning more about watercolor.  I have the full color visuals (shown in that post) hanging on my wall in my art room.

The visuals used for teaching watercolor techniques.

I am currently preparing the first class outline and looking forward to hosting many of you here for a watercolor class in my art space.

More information to come soon!