Beginning & Intermediate Watercolor Supplies




watercolor paints

Purchase watercolors in 15 ml or 5 ml tubes not pan pigments or tin sets. I recommend professional grade watercolors by Winsor Newton or Holbein. Student grade paints are OK if you are on a budget but keep in mind they lack the quality of the former.

  1. Aureolin Yellow, Lemon Yellow or Winsor Yellow
  2. Cadmium Yellow
  3. Yellow Ochre
  4. Cadmium Orange
  5. Ultramarine Blue or French Ultramarine
  6. Cadmium Red
  7. Burnt Sienna or Quinacridone Gold
  8. Alizarin Crimson or Carmine
  9. Imperial Purple or Cobalt Violet Deep
  10. Cerulean Blue
  11. Phthalocyanine Blue BS or Winsor Blue
  12. Cobalt Blue
  13. Sap Green
  14. Phthalocyanine Green GS, Winsor Green or Viridian
  15. Burnt Umber

plastic watercolor palette

A good plastic palette with separate wells for pigments and a roomy mixing area is also essential. Make sure there are as many wells as you have tubes of color. Jones, Stephen Quiller, Robert E. Wood or Richeson are good brands.


Sable hair brushes, especially Kollinsky sables are the best watercolor brushes made. They are truly wonderful brushes yet are also usually very expensive. Good brushes will do your painting a world of good but keep in mind that an expensive brush doesn’t always mean that it is a good one.

As a relatively inexpensive alternative, look for good quality synthetic or synthetic blend brushes and make sure that the retailer suggests them specifically for watercolor. Robert Simmons’ line of watercolor brushes, Simply Simmons, are excellent brushes at a relatively low cost.

Here is a good assortment:

#4 Round
#8 Round
#12 Round
1” Flat

watercolor paper

I recommend working in one of two ways: purchase a watercolor block – OR – stretch your paper.

In either case, you will need to work on 140 lb. Cold Press paper.

Watercolor blocks are convenient because it is not necessary to tape or staple the paper to a board. They are also handy for travel or plein air painting.  They come in many sizes, weight and surfaces such as Hot Press, Cold Press and Rough. Make sure you are buying 140 lb. (300 gsm) COLD PRESS and nothing smaller than 10” x 14”. Common sizes are: 12” x 16”, 14” x 20” and 18”x 24”. If you are buying a block by Arches, make sure it has a green cover which is the correct weight and surface.

If you choose to stretch paper, buy full sheets (22” x 30”) of 140 lb. Cold Press paper. I will demonstrate how to tear and stretch paper on the first day.

Quality is very important in respect to paper. I recommend manufacturers such as Fabriano, Arches, Winsor Newton, Killimanjaro or Lanaquarelle.

support (only if you elect to stretch paper)

If you choose to stretch paper, you will need to staple paper onto a surface. Always make sure your support is larger than the paper size you intend to work with. If you are painting on a watercolor block, support is in the form of the block itself.

Gatorboard or Incredible Art Board 16” x 24”, at ½” thickness


#2 pencil  (I use a mechanical pencil which is great for contour drawing and reducing the amount of lead on the paper; look for HB in .5 mm, .7 mm or .9 mm.)

pencil sharpener

kneaded eraser

plastic container for water – Cottage cheese  or Tupperware-like containers are good. A quart-sized plastic ice cream container is another good one.

plastic spray bottle – for water; select one that has an adjustable nozzle.

a large, natural sponge

Frogtape – the green masking tape found in the paint department at Home Depot or Lowe’s. It is used for taping down the watercolor paper to the board OR delineating the picture area if you wish to do so. Not necessary if you are stretching paper.

staple gun and staples – ONLY if you choose to stretch and  staple your paper to your board. PowerShot is a good brand. A staple remover (the ones that look sort of like church key bottle openers) might also be a good idea…

paper towels – for wiping and cleaning your palette as well as blotting large areas of paint.  The Viva brand seems more suited for watercolor.

Kleenex in small, travel packets – for blotting, picking up runaway paint and more subtle absorbency uses.

optional supplies

an iPad – certainly not a requirement though if you have one, it is a great tool as viewfinder and camera for recording subject matter.

viewfinder – very helpful while composing and drawing. You can also make one by cutting a rectangle into something like matboard – just be sure to make it proportional to the dimensions of the paper you are painting on!

portable brush holder – to protect your investments! These can be the roll-up, placemat types or the folding kind with elastic straps for securing the brushes.

old toothbrush – for splattering and scrubbing

palette knife or pocketknife with a large, rounded blade.

hair dryer – to save time waiting for washes to dry.  A mutli-speed hair dryer works best.



Crafts & More
506 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250


1037 Hendricks Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
904-398-3161 (phone)


Daniel Smith, Inc.
P.O. Box 84268
Seattle, WA 98124-5568
800- 426-6740

Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Inc.
374 Industrial Park Drive
Boone, NC 28607

Jerry’s Artarama
PO BOX 58638J
Raleigh, NC 27658-8638

Dick Blick Art Materials
P.O. Box 1267
Galesburg, IL 61402-1267


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