I have a problem. Whenever I see a fellow artist showing off their art supplies, I have to buy it and try it out for myself. Though fun, this has become quite an expensive habit. There have been some supplies that I’ve loved along the way, and some I could’ve definitely lived without.
So, if you’re an aspiring artist, or just want to invest in only a few quality items, I’ve done the grunt work for you! Here’s a compiled list of my favorite watercolor supplies that I would buy over and over again.
Princeton Synthetic Sable Round Brushes
If I could choose one art supply to suggest investing a little more money in, it would be quality watercolor brushes. I’ve tested my fair share of watercolor brushes, from ultra-cheap to the moderately expensive, and Princeton’s Synthetic Sable brushes have reigned as my favorite for years.
The round brush is built to hold more water than other shapes, and this particular brand and hair types allows for a great bounce, while maintaining the ability to create fine lines with a pointed tip. On top of that, since these brushes have a synthetic sable hair brush, versus real sable, they are affordable compared to other professional quality brushes.
Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolor Sets
Although these traditional Japanese watercolors were designed for professional artists, they can be enjoyed by novices too! I have the 36 block set, but you can purchase the colors in single blocks up to a set of 72.
If you purchase a set, each watercolor block comes in an individual tray that can be removed from the palette while painting, or replace when you run out. The box lid also features a color chart that allows you to create swatches to visually see each pigment. The colors are vibrant and so easy to work with! I love using this set when I don’t want to think about mixing colors too much.
Legion Paper Stonehenge Aqua Cold Press Watercolor Blocks
No one can deny the quality of Arches watercolor blocks, but DAMN they are expensive. And if you paint as much as I do, you probably I found a more affordable and quality paper alternative with Legion Paper’s Stonehenge Aqua Cold Press Watercolor Blocks.
If you’re wondering what to get between cold press versus hot press paper, I’ll recommend cold press every time. Hot press watercolor paper will appear completely smooth in texture without any tooth, whereas cold press will be much more rough in texture. Because of this, cold press paper will hold your watercolor without much slippage.
Huion LED Portable Light Box
I know I’ve already written about this light box in my go-to hand lettering tools post, but I can’t emphasize enough how much I love this light box! It’s been so useful for me in all of my projects, I wouldn’t know what I’d do without it.
It’s USB powered, so you can either plug it into a wall or your computer, and you’re ready to go. No need to buy batteries for this guy! The Huion Light Box is also super slim (only 5mm thick!), so it’s easy to store or carry around in a bag if you really need to.
So why do I use it all the time? For more complicated watercolor compositions, I create a rough sketch to plan out my paintings. Then, I’ll clean up the lines by tracing the sketch on a fresh piece of paper using the light box. Finally, when I’m happy with the look of the sketch, I’ll trace the final line drawing onto my watercolor paper to prep for painting.
Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor
When it comes to wet professional watercolor paint, I prefer Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor tubes. All of their pigments are extremely vibrant and mix well. To prevent paint waste, I let the paints dry overnight on a palette. They can then be reactivated with water when I’m ready to paint. Winsor & Newton paints are not cheap, so this method will help you stretch your paint supply for so much longer!
As stated before, I am a huge fan of so many supplies, but these are my go-to supplies for every painting. But, if you think I missed any of your favorites, or have questions, let me know in the comments below!
Pin this image to save all of these tips!