This is my list of supplies
This list of supplies may seem overwhelming, but if you purchase a few good brush, colors, the items I have *, and the supplies you have already. We can go through them to see what will work best for you. I have also listed optional supplies that will be of use as you grow as an artist and choose to do other projects.
Could be a yogurt container, cottage cheese container, a purchased container it is up to you but the smaller the more often you will have to dump it out and refill with clean water.
You can by the cheapest ones or the most expensive it only matters that water will soak into them. I would, also advise bring a piece of an old towel.
NO Blue tape please
Good quality 1/2" to 3/4" tan colored masking tape
Gator Board 1/2" thick
A stretching board — preferably 1/2" thick white gator board, about two inches bigger in both height and width than the watercolor sheet you will paint on. For example, I love to paint on full size watercolor sheets (30 x 22) so I order my gator boards to be 32 x 24. I order mine from Tsuga Fine Art in Bothell. You could call beforehand and let them know what size you want so that they can have your boards already cut for you when you go pick them up. Here are some sample sizes and prices. Let Ken know you are ordering these for a class you are taking with me.
24x32=32.00 (for a full sheet)
17x24 = 17.00 (for a 1/2 sheet)
I like palettes with plenty of deep wells for my paints. I have a ceramic palette at home. It's nice and heavy and a joy to paint with. But I also have several plastic palettes. They are easier for transportation and less expensive. There are many choices out there and these are just two suggestions.
I recommend Arches paper. It is more expensive than a lot of other options out there but the results are sooo much more satisfying. Inexpensive papers are made from pulp, while good papers are made from cotton or linen. Stay away from any paper lighter than 140 lbs. My ideal paper is Arches, 140 lbs, 30 x 22 (which is considered a 'full sheet' in watercolor terms and can be trimmed down to smaller sizes). I find that the paper on these full sheets is of an even better quality than Arches 140 lbs paper bought in pads or blocks. Some people however prefer the blocks because they are easier to transport. I love both cold press (bumpy) watercolor paper and hot press (smooth). Cold press is the most commonly used paper and watercolor paint loves it. Hot press gives a completely different result and is a bit more challenging to paint on, however, for precise work (such as botanical illustrations) it is perfect since there are no bumps to make your pencil or brush skip. All papers listed here are 140 lbs. If you feel more luxurious, you could order the 300 lbs. paper. It is a dream to paint on, doesn't need stretching, and costs about twice as much...
I also recommend a watercolor sketchbook. My favorites are the Stillman & Birn Beta Series and Zeta Series. I like both the hot press (smooth) paper and the cold press (bumpy). Pick the one you would like to use for your studies:
There are hundreds of colors to choose from and you'll have an adventure experimenting with the perfect palette to match your expression. To get started all you really need is a good red, yellow and blue (suggestions: Transparent Pyrrol Orange or Quinacridone Rose for your red; New Gamboge or Hansa Yellow Light for your yellow; French Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue for your blue.) However, that is a pretty limited palette. Here is a list of colors I am currently using. Pick up as many or as few as you like. My favorite brands are Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton. I use both tube paint and pan paint but I recommend tube paint for my general watercolor courses since the wells are bigger and allows for more mixing and larger experimentation. Since paint colors by different manufacturers can be quite different from one another even if the names of the colors are the same, this list of colors that I prefer. These paint colors are my personal choice. Look around for what appeals to you! Besides Daniel Smith, other artist quality brands include: M. Graham Watercolor, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor, Sennelier Extra-Fine Watercolor and Schmincke.
Burnt Sienna (Winsor Newton)
There are brushes for watercolors, for oils, for acrylics, for pastels, etc.... Be sure you buy brushes that are for watercolors.
There are natural fiber brushes, synthetic brushes, and brushes that are a mix of natural and synthetic fibers. And the price can vary between $2 and $200 plus!
Then there are shapes of watercolor brushes, each best suited for a particular technique.
Then there are sizes of brushes and to complicate it more, sizes aren't standard. A size 2 brush in one brand might be 3 times bigger than a size 2 brush in another brand. So there's that.
I recommend having a set of very small brushes for details in small paintings or sketchbook art. I have the Anna Mason Series in size 000, 0, 1, 3, and 5. In the U.S., this set is only available from http://www.windriverarts.com/Brushes.htm#Brush_Sets_. Once you click on this link, the page will show you several options. Choose the Anna Mason set that offers all five of sizes ( 000, 0, 1, 3, and 5). These brushes are wonderful for details and are the only brushes I use in my sketchbook studies.
For larger paintings, my favorite brushes are the Black Gold Quill Brush 311 series. I like having a size 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of these lovely round brushes with a sharp tip. Unfortunately they are not available on Amazon (how is that possible?!). They are available at Daniel Smith, which lucky for us has two locations close at hand, one in Seattle and the other in Bellevue.
4150 First Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98134
15112 N.E. 24th Street
Redmond, Washington 98052
These brushes have blended synthetic hair (medium tensile strength), with two toned lacquered wood handle. There are other brushes you may add to your collection as your skills and interests grow but these brushes will be a solid set. I do about 80% of all my painting with my Black Gold Quill Brushes. If you choose to explore other options, just stay away from brushes that cost less than $10/each. They will frustrate you with their shedding hairs and poor quality.
Other tools for a good watercolor set up are:
Rubber Cement Pick-u p
(handy for removing mask) I use a piece of masking tape sticky side out rolled in a donut fashion
HB Pencil *
so you can draw and paint at an angle. This allows you to control washes beautifully. Although quite large, I love the SoHo Urban Artist Adjustable Drawing Board Adjustable Drawing Board. A smaller great choice, perfect for smaller paintings and sketchbook exercises is the Daler Rowney Artsphere Easel.
for tracing images. Some people feel that using a light box is "cheating" but botanical art demands precise, clean drawings with little erasing and minimal smudges. For that, I do recommend a light box and specifically I recommend the Tracing Light Box, AGPtek 17"(A4 Size) LED Artcraft Tracing Light Pad Light Box For Artists,Drawing, Sketching, Animation. It's affordable at a fantastic price of $36 and it is thin enough to be able to use between pages of a sketchbook.
Buying supplies becomes an addiction so start with what you are comfortable getting and don't feel the pressure to buy all the favorites listed here. Happy shopping!
Since I've been sharing links to Amazon.com for art supplies for years, I've decided to become a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, which means when you use the links on my website, Amazon pays me a fee for sharing the Amazon love. Win-win!