Things You Need To Start Painting – I really like watercolor paint. Something about the way it feels when I’m done or the beautiful effect when I’m finished just steals my heart. I’m not alone in this passion. Many people have heard the siren call of watercolors and are ready to jump in and get their feet wet. But where does one begin? There are so many brands, colors and extras to buy that getting started can be a daunting task. Fret not, though, because I’ve got you covered with the best watercolor supplies for beginners that won’t break the bank!
Let’s start with the foundation of your watercolor – the paper! I tried using the cheapest watercolor paper for the longest time only to be frustrated that all my paintings were terrible. Learn from my mistake and don’t reach for the cheapest option! Thankfully, there are several brands of watercolor paper that work for a beginner (and are fairly cheap too!).
Things You Need To Start Painting
Canson Watercolor Paper – This is a great option that you can find at most big box stores, and their watercolor pads come in larger and smaller sizes.
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Strathmore Mixed Media Sketchbook- This student quality paper isn’t as good for proper art, but the sketchbook is great for playing around, testing techniques, and just for sheer portability.
Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal – This journal mixes portability with great watercolor paper, so it’s perfect for anyone who wants to do real world studies.
Leuchtturm 1917 – If your interest in watercolors is more for the bullet journal world, then you’ll be happy to know that the Leuchtturm handles watercolors surprisingly well for splashes and basic washes. You can see how it passed a rigorous watercolor test here, and a full review here!
Rhodiarama Paperback Journals – This is another excellent journal for light watercolor use. Check out some of my weekly watercolor spreads to see what I mean.
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Hot press paper has a smooth texture, so it’s ideal if you want to add more intricate details with a pencil to your pieces. This paper tends to produce brighter colors and cleaner transitions as well.
Cold press paper is recommended for those just starting out with watercolors. The rough texture of the paper holds water and pigment in place, allowing more control in your painting. It is more absorbent than hot press paper, which can help with mixing and layering washes. Cold press is also great for beginners because it is one of the most versatile types of watercolor paper you can find.
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PrangWatercolors- If you want to create some basic splashes with only bright colors, then this cheap option will suit you well. These student grade paints are affordable and the pans are refillable. But be aware – none of the lovely blending, bleeding, or other typical watercolor effects will be possible with such a cheap product.
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Winsor & Newton Travel Palette – This palette is a great middle ground, giving decent quality paint without being too expensive. Also this watercolor set is great for travel, surprise surprise!
Hydrus Dr. Ph. Martin – This more expensive option is of much higher quality and will produce the cool effects you are looking for, making the extra cost well worth it. The only downside is that you need a palette to put the concentrated liquid pigment into.
Sennelier Watercolors – This artist quality tube paint is my fanciest set of watercolors, and they are my absolute favorite! The colors are rich and creamy, and they produce a lovely texture when they dry.
Finetec GoldWatercolor Palette – Finetec offers many different types of palettes. I use this palette constantly and it is worth every penny!
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Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White – This highly concentrated white pigment is great for adding highlights and accents to your work.
Pentel Aquash Water Brush Heads – This set of three water brushes is really all I need. The water is in the barrel, so it’s easy to bring and there are no complicated settings. They’re also great for brush lettering or sketching, if that’s what floats your boat.
Round Brush Set – If you want more traditional watercolor brushes, all you need as a beginner is some small round brushes.
Micron Pigma Pens – If you want to do any line art before or after you lay down watercolors, these pens are great because they won’t bleed with exposure to water.
Untitled By Jon Petro, 2021
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen – I use this pen with my artwork all the time to add lines in the last few steps and would thoroughly recommend it.
Masking Tape – This is needed to keep your watercolor paper from smearing as you paint on it.
Artist Tote Board – This surface is where you tape your watercolor paper and work, and is very portable.
Are you feeling a little scared to start now? Don’t worry, that’s only natural. Remember that you are not aiming for perfect. Watercolors don’t work like that. They are wild, spontaneous, and random and you will need to be patient in learning your tools and materials. Give yourself some time to paint simple things. In fact, some beautiful artwork is made from just basic geometric shapes, so it’s a great exercise!
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If you’re looking for even more watercolor supplies, or ways to expand your watercolor abilities, this watercolor guide has everything you need to know!
Hope this has been helpful as you dive into the wonderful world of watercolor! Comment below about your favorite watercolor art supplies. I’m always looking to try new watercolor products. And tag my Instagram account when you post your awesome art, I’d love to see! Happy painting!
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Shelby is the main content creator of Little Coffee Fox and has been a full-time blogger for the past four years. In addition to blogging here on Little Coffee Fox, she is a professional letterer, watercolor artist and organizational guru. As well as art, she has a passion for helping people find ways to combine creativity and productivity in their everyday lives. Shelby has been featured extensively online in publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post.
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