Below is a list of materials and brands I recommend for my watercolor class. Please try to purchase these brands if possible. If you purchase a different brand, hold on the receipts and don’t unwrap supplies until you come to class. Unfortunately sales staff don’t always offer good recommendations.
You can purchase art supplies online at www.cheapjoes.com, www.jerrysartarama.com or www.jacksonsart.com. Brick and mortar stores include Flax Art in Oakland and San Francisco, and Blick in Oakland and Berkeley.
I recommend a 9″x 12″ pad of Arches cold press watercolor paper, with the green cover. This is hands down the best paper, and you may be disappointed if you go for a cheaper option. This is the first item on this webpage. If you cannot buy Arches, look for 100% cotton, cold press, 140# watercolor paper. DO NOT purchase Canson XL, Strathmore papers or any paper listed as “Multimedia.” You will spend the whole class wondering why you can’t do all the cool techniques that I will demonstrate in class and feeling down on yourself. It’s not you, it’s your crappy paper. I’ve seen this happen too many times. Don’t do it.
For paint I recommend the Van Gogh Watercolor set for a little over $20. Other decent brands include White Nights and Holbein. Be sure to buy watercolor, not gouache, and if you buy tubes, you will need to purchase a palette as well. Students often buy an extra palette for mixing colors.
The watercolor brush I recommend is size 10 with a short handle, a round ferrule, and comes to a point. This brush will allow you to paint large areas quickly as well as fine detail. Princeton brand is widely available, inexpensive and good quality.
For drawing, bring a regular #2 pencil, an eraser, a pencil sharpener, and I like to draw with a black Micron PN fine line waterproof pen. The PN pen has a roller tip that doesn’t wear out as fast as the regular felt tip Micron pen.
Students should also bring 1-2 quart sized plastic take out or yogurt containers for water and paper towels.
Optional tools that are fun to play with but not required are removable masking fluid and permanent white gouache.
If you prefer to purchase products in person, here’s a guide for what to buy:
- For paper, look for pads of Arches, Fabriano Artistico or Blick Premier. Make sure the full name is on the label. Don’t buy the cheaper student varieties by these companies! The three I listed are all in 140 lb. 100% cotton cold press.
- Do NOT purchase Canson XL, Strathmore papers or any paper listed as “Multimedia.” These do not perform well
See you in class!