The Best Watercolor Supplies

Watercolor painting is a beautiful and expressive art form that has captivated artists for centuries. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, choosing the right watercolor supplies is crucial to achieving stunning results. With a vast array of options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Bast watercolor supplies video

Time to Reveal the Best Watercolor Supplies for All Levels

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of watercolor supplies, exploring the key factors to consider when making your selections. From paints and brushes to paper and accessories, we’ll help you navigate through the choices and find the best watercolor supplies for your artistic journey.

Best Watercolor Paints

Best watercolor paint
Holbein, the best watercolor paint

Watercolor paints are the foundation of your artwork, and selecting high-quality pigments will greatly enhance your painting experience. Consider the following factors when choosing watercolor paints:

a. Pigment Quality: Look for paints made from high-quality pigments, as they offer better color intensity and lightfastness. Professional-grade paints often provide a wider range of colors and superior mixing capabilities.

b. Transparency: Watercolors come in transparent, semi-transparent, and opaque varieties. Transparent paints allow for layering and glazing techniques, while opaque paints can be useful for adding highlights or creating textured effects.

c. Lightfastness: Check for the lightfastness rating of the paints. Watercolors with high lightfastness ratings will resist fading over time, ensuring the longevity of your artwork.

My personal preference is Holbein paints. They never disappoint and always soft and vibrant out of the tube. I recommend buying 6 primaries, plus a few neutrals and white.

Here are the exact colors I use; Lemon yellow, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, neutral tint and Holbein white gouache. This is also a 6 primary palette which is ideal for mixing quality secondary hues.


Top Watercolor Brushes

The best watercolor brushed for pros and beginners
Princeton Neptune Series

Princeton Neptune Series

Choosing the right brushes is essential for achieving the desired effects and controlling the flow of watercolor. Consider the following aspects when selecting brushes:

a. Brush Types: There are various brush types, including round, flat, mop, and fan brushes. Round brushes are versatile and suitable for most techniques, while flat brushes are ideal for washes and broad strokes. Mop brushes hold a lot of water and are great for wet-on-wet techniques, while fan brushes can create unique textures.

b. Bristle Quality: Natural hair brushes, such as sable or squirrel, offer excellent water retention and a smooth application. Synthetic brushes, like nylon or taklon, are more affordable and often perform well for watercolor painting.

c. Size Variety: Invest in a range of brush sizes to accommodate different areas and details in your artwork. Larger brushes are great for washes and backgrounds, while smaller brushes provide precision for fine details.


Princeton Neptune Dagger Brush
Princeton dagger brush

Princeton dagger brush

My personal preference is Princeton Neptune brushes. They come in all shapes and sizes, good longevity and VERY affordable.

I recommend getting the following brushes for a well-rounded selection;

  • Jumbo round; Medium
  • Pointed round #6
  • Pointed round number #12
  • Script #6
  • Mottler 1 1/2″
  • Dagger 1/2″

Best Watercolor Paper

Best watercolor paper
Fabriano Artistico paper

The choice of watercolor paper can significantly impact the outcome of your artwork. Consider the following factors when selecting watercolor paper:

a. Weight and Thickness: Watercolor paper comes in different weights, usually measured in pounds (lb) or grams per square meter (gsm). Heavier papers, such as 140 lb (300 gsm), are more durable and can handle multiple washes and layering without buckling.

b. Texture: Paper textures, such as hot-pressed (smooth), cold-pressed (medium), and rough, offer different surface qualities. Cold-pressed paper is the most popular choice, providing a balance between texture and absorbency.

c. Acid-free and Archival Quality: Look for papers labeled as acid-free or archival quality. These papers are made to resist yellowing and deterioration over time, ensuring the longevity of your artwork.

My personal preference is Fabriano Artistico Bright White, 140 lb cold press. More affordable than most brands and very durable. I stock up on full sheets which are 22″ x 30″ and reduce them to quarter sized pieces which measure 11″ x 15″. But in bulk if you can swing it, 10 or more.


Best watercolor palette for beginners and pros
Masterson Pro palette

In addition to paints, brushes, and paper, there are several accessories that can enhance your watercolor painting experience:

a. Palette: Choose a palette with wells or mixing areas to hold and blend your paints. Porcelain or ceramic palettes are ideal as they are easy to clean and mix colors effectively.

b. Masking Fluid: Masking fluid is a liquid that can be applied to the paper to preserve areas you want to keep white. It allows for crisp highlights and protects delicate details. I personally do not use masking fluid but some artists love it!

My preference is Aqua Pro Palette on Blick.


Conclusion

Choosing the best watercolor supplies is an important step in nurturing your artistic abilities and creating breathtaking watercolor paintings. By considering the quality of paints, the versatility and bristle quality of brushes, the weight and texture of paper, and the inclusion of helpful accessories, you can set yourself up for success.

Remember, the best watercolor supplies will vary based on your personal preferences, style, and budget. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different brands and materials to find what works best for you. As you gain experience, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your preferred techniques and the supplies that align with your artistic vision.

Investing in high-quality watercolor supplies may seem daunting, but they are a worthwhile investment in your artistic journey. They not only enhance the quality of your work but also provide a more enjoyable and satisfying painting experience.

Additionally, don’t forget to explore various techniques, take inspiration from other artists, and continue to practice and experiment. Watercolor painting is a journey of self-expression and continuous learning.

Looking for 60 fresh and easy watercolor painting ideas for beginners?

Lastly, remember that the most important aspect of creating art is to enjoy the process. Embrace the unpredictable nature of watercolors, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and let your creativity flow freely. With the right watercolor supplies by your side, you’re well-equipped to embark on a colorful and captivating artistic adventure.