tried and true watercolor art supplies

  • These watercolor art supplies work for me.
  • They will work for you, too.

questions about watercolor art supplies

As an affiliate, I earn from Amazon sales with no extra cost to you. Learn More

what is the best watercolor paint?

  • Winsor & Newton paint is a very reputable English company that has been the standard of quality paints since the 1800s.

the difference between watercolor tubes and pans?

tube watercolors

  • Tube watercolors are a semi-liquid packaged in tubes.

Use them by adding a little water for painting. Add a lot more water and you can paint washes on large areas. They are good for both small and large paintings.

Tube watercolors make it easy to get the bright juicy colors in your paintings.

tube WC

pan watercolors

  • Pan watercolors are dried into small cubes.

They require a lot of water to reactive the color for painting. Adding all the water dilutes the color. They are handy for travel, painting outdoors and other small paintings.

Winsor & Newton professional watercolor pan set of twenty-four beautiful colors.

pan WC

artist quality paints vs. student paints

artist watercolor paints

  • Artist quality paints have more concentrated, intense color.

They contain more color pigments, so they cost more to produce.

However they will produce more paintings from one container compared to student paints.

starter set

student watercolor paints

  • Student paints contain less pigment. They are less expensive and they are a great way to start painting and hold down the cost.

Winsor & Newton Cotman paints contain the most pigment of all student paints.

Cotman tube Set

A nice set of twelve tube watercolors, plus a brush.

They have excellent tinting strength and are easy to use.

half pan set

Fourteen watercolors in a pocket size box, easy to transport.

Good for painting in the field or on the go.

what can you paint watercolor on?

Watercolor paintings are traditionally done on watercolor paper.

There are more choice for watercolor art supplies. We can use canvas or hard-boards made specifically for watercolors.

what paper can you use for watercolor?

There are many good brands of watercolor paper. Arches paper has an excellent reputation.

The watercolor art supplies I use and why - artist Carol MayWatercolor on Arches paper

Watercolor papers come in Hot Press, Cold Press and Rough Press.

  • Cold Press is the most used paper. Its texture pulls the paint off your brush onto the paper.

Paint slides around on hot press paper. Rough press paper doesn't let the paint move very well.

Watercolor paper comes in 90, 140 or 300 pound weights. That is the weight of 500 sheets of paper. It is also sold in 22"x30" sheets, tablets or rolls.

  • The 140# paper is most used weight. It must have its edges fastened down (stretched) to prevent warping when you paint.

The 'ad' 300# watercolor paper is thicker and it will stay flat when you paint on it.

Watercolor paper in blocks have the edges fastened together to keep it from warping when you paint on it.

140# wC paper

Watercolor paintings on paper must be matted and framed under glass to protect the painting.

Great Gifts ezine

The monthly ezine keep you up to date with news and techniques.


claybord and aquabord

Using Aquabord gives a freedom to watercolor paintingUsing Aquabord

Ampersand's Claybord and Aquabord are excellent archival supports for modern watercolor painting. These hardboards are covered with pH neutral kaolin clay.

Claybord is smooth like hot press watercolor paper. Aquabord has a texture similar to cold press watercolor paper.

The dry paintings are sprayed with UV resistant Krylon spray.

The painting may be framed without glass.

Oh, the beauty and ease of modern watercolor art supplies!


Why is Aquabord my favorite for watercolor paintings?

can you watercolor on canvas?

Another surface for watercolor painting is the modern watercolor canvas made by Fredrix.

Before you paint, you should wet the canvas with plenty of water with a large brush to break the surface tension of the canvas.

Let the extra water evaporate before you start painting. Then you are able to control the paint when you apply it.

The dried canvas watercolor painting needs to be sprayed with a fixative to protect the paint. Use the same 'ad' UV resistant Krylon spray used on Aquabord and Claybord watercolor paintings.

The watercolor painting is then framed without glass and they are so light-weight.

wC canvas

Modern technology is wonderful. It has given artists such a great variety of watercolor art supplies!

what are the best brushes for watercolor?

Watercolor brushes are soft. They are made of natural hairs such as sable or synthetic fibers or a mixture of the two.

The watercolor brush you use for painting is largely a matter of personal preference. The favorite brush of one artist may be considered useless by another.

how may brushes do you need?

  • It's amazing what you can do with just one brush.

When I started painting watercolors someone gave me a couple of Loew-Cornell angular shaders.

That is all I painted with for about the first year of watercolor painting. The tip of the angle was good for fine details. And the flat side covered more area.

Monarch butterfly watercolor painting on paper

Painted with a Loew-Cornell shader.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird watercolor painting on paper

Painted with 1/2" and 3/4" shaders.

what brushes do i use today?

After painting with angular brushes for a while, I purchased expensive sable watercolor brushes.

I got four sizes of flats and five rounds. I thought there would be a need for smaller brushes for detail.

That was wrong. Large brushes with good points can be used for small details. My small brushes have been sitting unused for years.

  • Quality sable brushes are an excellent investment for a serious artist. They will last a lifetime.

Red Sable
brush set

what is a good quality brush on a budget?

A good quality synthetic brush will work just fine and significantly hold down your cost of watercolor art supplies.

Every artist has their own favorites. Many artists paint almost exclusively with round brushes.

A 'ad' synthetic #10 round brush is good for all around painting.

  • You can paint almost anything from details to washes with a good round brush.

Like I found out you don't need small brushes for details. You just need a brush with a good point or edge.

Other watercolor artists do their painting with a 'ad' good quality flat brush.

Flats are good for painting buildings and other straight lines. You may also use the corner of flats for details. A good quality flat brush

There is no need to spend a lot of money on watercolor art supplies to start. Get some painting experience and see what you like the best.

your watercolor art supplies checklist

  • Your choice of watercolor paint
  • Something to paint on - paper, canvas or Aquabord
  • A good brush
  • A 'ad' covered palette to keep your paints fresh
  • Drawing materials and 'ad' graphite transfer paper
  • A water container and paper towels for clean-up 
  • Optional - 'ad' Masking Fluid

get you watercolor art supplies

These are the watercolor art supplies I have used over the years.

I have always lived in small town areas where they don't have art supply stores. So for years my art materials came from catalogues.

now-a-days we shop on line - how handy is that!