Supplies for Learning Watercolor

Posted by Theresa Haddow on

The products that we use in our creative practice is important.

Did you know that most art supplies contain animal parts?

That means that our animal friends are hurting with every creation we make, and friend, that just won't do.

After years of research and trial and error here are the watercolor supplies that I use in my business and everyday practice. The added bonus is that they are all cruelty free.

Watercolor-Starter-Supplies

Note: These are affiliate links of products that I use. An affiliate link simply means I receive a small percentage of the sale should you choose to act on my recommendation.

 Who Has the Best Watercolor Brushes?

The Pigeon Letter Brushes - I could write a whole post on why these brushes have been my favorite for over 3 years now - and they definitely hold up to the investment, I still haven't needed to replace mine!

These brushes are made with synthetic bristles and the fine tip make them a dream for any detail work you may want to add.

Start out with the Number 6 and Number 2 if you are just getting started, you can thank me later!

Also while you are at it, snag yourself a watercolor pencil. A lot of watercolor artist know that it is near impossible to get rid of a pencil line that has dried paint on top of it. Plus whenever you are working the paper to get that pencil lead up dulls the glorious color you worked so hard to put down.

My work around for this is to sketch my pieces using a light grey watercolor pencil. This way when I am ready to work on a section I can easily keep my spot and get rid of the lines with the water from my brush.

Starting-watercolor-supplies

What's the best paper for watercoloring?

Cold Pressed paper is usually used for watercolor paintings. I like to use 140 G Like most things in life, it really depends on what you want to do with it. Canson is some of my favorite paper to work on and an added bonus is that it's so affordable.

Arches is the fancier paper and you can experiment by getting a sheet at your local art store (hint, not Michaels, think Jerry's or Blick) and you can see how different their 140 LB Cold Press feels compared to the Canson.

Neither is better than the other, but it all depends on what you are working on. If I know I am going to be doing a lot of layering and really adding a lot of water to the paper I will go with the Arches because the cotton they use is much more absorbent than the Canson paper.

You may also come across Hot Pressed Paper. All that's means that it has a smoother surface then the cold press and it is fun to play with for things like hand lettering.

Lastly, is yupo paper. Yupo paper is this glossy paper that is non pourous. What that means is that it doesn't absorb the water. It is a lot of fun to create watercolor washes on this paper.

What Paint Should I Use? What Watercolor Paint is Cruelty Free?

We have brushes, we have paper, now all we need is some paint!

There is a lot of nasty stuff that can be snuck inside a paint pigment. I appreciate a company that is open and honest about their pigment ingredients.

If I am not purchasing from a small batch maker then my go-to paint is Daniel Smith Artist Material. The majority of their colors do not contain any animal byproduct with the exception of: Sepia, Ivory Black, Joseph Z’s Neutral Grey and Payne’s Gray

Check out the link above where I linked their dot sheet which allows you to try nearly every color that they offer.

Water coloring for beginners

What is a good line drawing pen?

A good pen is essential to any art practice. I truly do love The Pigeon Letters Monoline Pens, they are specially made with artists in mind. The usual micron pen that is everyone's usual go to is great, if you like writing straight up and down. You see the micron was made for architects, not artists, and their way of creating is a little different than ours. With the Pigeon Letters Monoline Pen the tip is slightly curved make it so ink is always freely flowing and they are waterproof and archival just like microns so you aren't loosing out on any of the other benefits.

Do you have any favorite or go-to supplies? I’d love to chat art with you! Send me a message on instagram and let’s connect!


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