Powered by Blogger.

The Watercolour Guide | Supplies & Essentials


Welcome back to another watercolour related post! This is the second instalment of my watercolour guide so if you haven't already make sure you've read the first part of the series Things To Know When You're Starting Out

Over the past year or so that I've been using watercolours I've purchased A LOT of different paints and supplies and I've finally narrowed it down to my favourites and bare essentials that really make the difference in my art. All you really need to get started with watercolours is a the right paint, a decent brush and watercolour paper that can withstand a decent amount of water but there's loads of little extras that can really make your paintings come to life.


Preparation, Paper & Tape
Before you start your watercolour painting you need to make sure everything is at the ready. Wake up your paints by misting them with cold water in a spray bottle and have 2 large jars of clean water for your paint brushes. One jar for washing the paint off the brush and the other for picking up water to add to your colours. Having two large jars makes life a little easier by keeping your paintings more vibrant, your brushes cleaner and you won't have to change your water as often. 

Paper: Decide what paper you're going to be painting on. Standard sketchbook or printer paper won't do your paintings any justice, they'll make your colours look dull and flat and the paper will warp quite badly. Invest in some 300gsm watercolour paper, hot or cold press - it's up to you. The thicker the paper the better it'll hold the water.

The difference between hot and cold pressed papers: Cold pressed paper is easier to get your hands on and often a little cheaper. It has a rough texture to it which gives your work a little more detail and depth. Hot pressed papers are smooth and have barely any texture to them. I always choose cold pressed paper because I prefer the way the paint dries on it. 

There's really no need for you to buy the most expensive paper you can get your hands on unless you're a professional artist, I go for the pads with more paper because it works out cheaper in the long run. Buy paper bigger than you need, most of my paintings fit within an A6 space but I mostly buy A4 paper pads and cut them to the size I need. Cutting the paper to the size you need prevents wasting the paper. I recommend these paper pads for their nice paper quality and value for money.


Tape: I'm pretty sure most of us have masking tape laying around somewhere in the house, am I right? Probably not but either way you're gonna need some. I've paid full price for painters tape and it's no better than regular masking tape, honestly. Tape your paper to a hard, flat surface to help prevent your paper from warping whilst you paint, you'll still get some buckle in your paper but it won't be as bad as if you didn't use it. 

Fine Liners & Gel Pens
Using pens with watercolour can be a little bit of a tricky business, especially if you want to do your linework before you paint your picture. Some pens will bleed the moment they come into contact with water so it is important to make sure your pens are waterproof. To test if your pens will bleed or not do a swatch on a scrap piece of paper, let the ink dry and then paint some water over them. 

  • My go to linework pen for illustrations is the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen - Soft in black. This pen is highly rated for modern brush calligraphy but it's also great for illustrations because of the variations in line width and it's waterproof!
  • Uni-Ball Pin Fineliners are my absolute favourite fineliners in the world because they come in so many sizes and they're waterproof! I have SO many of these laying around I could probably start my own shop. 
  • Sakura Gelly Roll - White. This is the most opaque white pen I've ever came across. Perfect for highlights and drawing stars on galaxy paintings. 

Paint Brushes & Masking Fluid
What paint brushes you use is totally up to you, it's all down to personal preference so the best way to find out what brushes you like working with best is by buying a few different types and experimenting with them. The most common brushes for watercolour are synthetic and sable hair. Synthetic brushes create smoother lines whereas sable haired brushes are a lot fluffier, give a more natural texture to the paintings and hold more water. 

Brushes can be very pricey depending on what ones you go for so it's best to invest in 2 or 3 decent brushes in various sizes rather than loads of them. I can't afford super expensive brushes but I'm happy with the once I'm currently using. I use both synthetic and sable brushes, my favourite brushes are the CASS ART Round Sable Brushes and the Winsor & Newton Cotman Synthetic Brushes.

Masking Fluid is a rubber latex fluid that you can apply to dry watercolour paper to reserve certain areas of the paper. This is perfect for areas that you want to keep white. Once your painting has fully dried you can remove the dried making fluid by gently rubbing it off.

Paints & Pallets
In my last watercolour post I talked to you guys about the difference between pan and tube paints so after you've settled on which you're going to go for then it's time to invest in a pallet. If you've never used watercolours before and you want to know if you like them or not then I suggest these tube paints. If you've already experimented and decided you like to work with the medium then the Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Paints are perfect, student grade paints. I have quite a few different Cotman paint pallets and a Winsor & Newton 24 Professional Watercolours that I love dearly.

Useful Bits & Bobs
  • Binder clips are great for holding pages of a sketchbook down if you aren't able to tape them.
  • Pencils can be used for laying down sketches and placement before painting.
  • Putty erasers are better than standard rubber erasers as they lift up the pencil marks rather than smudging them.
  • Toilet paper/kitchen towels are good for wiping paint off brushes and also catching wet paint.
  • Scrap pieces of watercolour paper /off cuts are perfect for colour swatches before putting the paint onto the paper. This can help you determine whether it is the right colour or not. 

So let's wrap this post up because let's be honest - it's pretty lengthy compared to my usual posts! I really hope you find this somewhat useful and remember to have fun and really experiment with your watercolours!

Disclaimer; These are the tips and supplies I've tried myself, this post is not sponsored in any way and I have bought all the products listed in this post with my own money. Please remember that I am not a professional artist and these product recommendations and tips are my own opinions. 



2 comments