Supplies / Materiel

When you begin, it is difficult to choose your material. Watercolor pans or tubes, aside with all these colors, papers cold press, 100% cotton or not, A4 size or bigger, and brushes. Let me explain you the differences and give you some advices.

Watercolor pans: they look like small solid colorful cubes. You should moisten it with a brush to use it. It is super useful to bring wherever you want, you won't need a palette. They are usually sold in boxe of 12 cubes or more with a prechoice color. In my opinion, pans are the best choice for begginers

Watercolor tubes: Watercolor tubes have a texture similar as gouache or acrilyc. You will be able to use a larger quantity as pans. With tubes, it will be easy to mix colors and create your own associations. Of course, tubes are more expensive than pans.

Paper: Paper is not just paper, the quality of your paper has a great importance. You will have to choose the format, the texture, the weight wisely.

Surface: you will have three choices, hot-pressed, cold-pressed, and rough. Hot-pressed is the smoothest watercolor paper. If you are aiming for a painting with a lot of details this paper is for you. Cold-pressed has a medium texture, it is prpobably the best choice for beginners. Rough is the most textured watercolor paper. It is the perfect paper if you are going for sketches with a loose watercolor painting style.

Weight: It is usually mesured in pounds or grams per square meter. A light paper will be cheaper, but it will be less resistant to water or you will have to stretch it before. A heavyweight paper will support a lot of washes. I usually prefer to work on 250g/m²  on block glued on all four sides if the size fit with my project.

You will also have to consider the material for your paper made either in cotton or wood pulp. 100% cotton is  one used by professional and it is the most expensive. Colors will stand longer on cotton, and the paper will have a better resistance to water.

Brushes: In my opinion, the harder choice are brushes, there exist many of them with different shapes for different approaches. I must confess I have been loyal to one specific brand for many years. I have never been disapointed by the Raphaël brand. Let me try to give you some basic tips for your brushes.

First of all, you must consider the capacity of your brush to hold the water. This will depend on the bristle and the belly of the brush. A brush which can hold a lot of water will be usefull for a wash.

Point: Your brush should be precise whatever its size. A natural bristle brush will be more precise than a synthetic one.

Size: It is true small brushes are cheaper than bigger ones but big brushes are better, even for beginner. You will rarely paint a lot of details withwatercolor painting. 

Synthetic or natural: Synthetic bristle is the most affordable kind of brush. You will probably find some good synthetic brushes and it is probably be the best animal friendly option. However, the life of your synthetic brush will be shorter than a natural bristles brush, even if you take good care of it.

Whithout surprise, my advice is : think quality instead of quantity. You will spent less effort in your work with a good quality material.