Below is a list of materials and brands I recommend for my watercolor class. Quality matters a lot when painting with watercolor. Do your best to look for deals on better quality supplies, and try to resist inexpensive but cheap quality materials. I recommend shopping at www.cheapjoe’s.com, www.jerrysartarama.com or www.amazon.com online and The Artist and Craftsman Supply in downtown Berkeley. Be sure to use a coupons for Blick and Michael’s since they tend to be more expensive.
Prices below are based on prices I found on amazon, and do not include shipping.
- Size #10 round watercolor brush ($5-$15). If #10 is not available, you can go up or down a size. Princeton is a good, reasonably priced brand. Watercolor brushes have short handles and soft bristles that come to a point when wet. Synthetic brushes are springy, and animal hair brushes (real or imitation) are softer and hold a ton of paint, and both are fine to paint with. Really cheap brushes shed hairs and don’t come to a fine point. You can try brushes in other shapes in class and decide if you they are worth purchasing.
- Arches Cold Press 140 lb watercolor paper. Good paper matters even more than paint. I recommend 9” x 12” pad ($11-25) or a 7″ x 10″ watercolor block ($20-40). If money is tight, buy a single 22” x 30” sheet for $8 from the Artist and Craftsman and cut it down to your preferred sizes.
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers’ Pocket Box- 12 colors ($17-30) This set is a quick way to get a range of colors at an affordable price. Van Gogh is also pretty good and inexpensive. Another way to save money without losing quality is to buy a plastic palette and tubes of paint in primary colors (quinacridone red, lemon yellow, ultramarine and phthalo blue). Do NOT buy Pentel, Angora, Arteza, Koi, Sargent or Arteza brand paints- these are very poor quality and don’t perform well.
- Additional tools you should bring and probably already own are:
Paper towels, a 1-qt sized clean plastic container to hold water, number 2 pencil, a pencil sharpener and an eraser. Eventually you may want to bring salt, Pigma Micron .5 mm felt tip pens, and removable art masking fluid, although these are not essential.