Guide to art materials useful for my art tutorials
When you follow my art tutorials, you may wonder what kind of supplies you need. I have compiled a list of art supplies for watercolor painting and colored pencils that I recommend.
Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. This will help to keep this blog going.
About Watercolor paper
The best paper for watercolor + colored pencils is smooth, white, and 100% cotton.
Cotton absorbs water very well, and such paper will have a surface that is primed for watercolor.
When you draw with colored pencils on top of dry watercolor, you need a smooth surface for drawing details.
The outcome of your painting depends to a certain extent on the kind of paper you use.
I have tested a few different, smooth watercolor papers over the years, and Arches comes out as my favorite brand. It simply works well with my style of work. But other brands are just as good. If you are a watercolor beginner, I suggest using a cheaper paper for practicing first.
Important about blocks of watercolor paper
Most of the papers listed below come in a block of paper glued together. To separate one sheet at a time, you must use a knife. Always cut away from your body. If you don’t use a knife to cut the papers loose, you will tear up the sheets and ruin your purchase.
You can paint directly onto paper on a block, with no need to mount the paper to a wooden board. But make sure to not use a lot of water. It can seep through to the paper underneath.
This blog post instructs how to stretch and mount watercolor paper. That’s how you avoid bumps when the paper gets wet.
High quality watercolor paper
These are high quality, 100% cotton, satin-smooth watercolor paper. My favorite Arches is listed first, and then other brands that cost less.
Practice paper for watercolor
This smooth paper is good for practicing watercolor. It is made to imitate cotton paper.
This is a cheap practice paper with one side smooth, the other side textured. It is thin (190gsm) and A4 size, which means you can easily use it for your printer. Print the free line art in One Tree Art Club library directly, without the need to trace and transfer the drawing.
In this blog post, you can earn how to trace a line drawing onto watercolor paper.
My own collection of watercolor paint is a mix of various quality brands. The list below is based on research.
It makes painting with watercolor easier to have a good range of colors. A set with few colors usually doesn’t have cyan and magenta. These two colors are essential for mixing certain colors, especially for painting flowers. If you have to buy cyan and magenta separately, it can add up, so that a set with many colors is more economical.
Quality watercolor paint
With watercolor tubes, you need a palette to keep the colors in:
Practice watercolor paint
White gouache paint
I use white gouache a lot in my watercolor tutorials. Gouache is a kind of watercolor with highly concentrated pigments that makes it opaque. If you mix with enough water, it becomes transparent. The options below are pretty much the same.
Watercolor gold paint
Gold powder & gum arabic to make gold paint
In my blog post How to Make Watercolor Gold in Four East Steps, I use these two ingredients: Gold powder and gum arabic, and a little water.
Ready-made gold paint
White polychrome colored pencil
I use a white pencil a lot in my tutorials.
Faber-Castell colored pencils
Castle colored pencils
I haven’t tried these, but a pack like that would be great for my small studio space.
I have never given much importance to using high-quality watercolor brushes. As long as brushes stay pointed and do the job, I’m happy. Make sure to clean your brushes well after a painting session. Use your fingers to make the hairs pointed each time you leave a brush to dry.
These are two sets of brushes with a wide range of sizes, from very fine to thick. When you’re painting, you use various sizes depending on the level of fine detail or broad strokes.
Set of sable brushes
Set of nylon brushes
Artist Watercolor Paint Brushes Set 13pcs – Round Pointed Tip Soft Anti-Shedding Nylon Hair Wood Long Handle – Detail Paint Brush for Watercolor, Acrylics, Ink, Gouache, Oil, Tempera, Paint by Numbers
Embossing tool (to transfer line art to watercolor paper)
When you transfer a line drawing to watercolor paper, you can use an embossing tool, or a hard pencil.
When you want to soak up water and pigments in your watercolor painting, a sponge is your best tool. To soak up paint in a very tiny area, you can roll some tissue paper to make a sharp point.
Tape for mounting watercolor paper
When you mount your watercolor paper on a wooden board, use this tape. Use water sparingly to wet the glue.
Set of boards for mounting watercolor paper
This is the best and most economical set of wooden boards I could find.
Non-slip metal ruler with cork back
When you cut your watercolor paper loose from the woodblock, you need to cut along the edge of a ruler. Use a metal ruler with non-slip cork back. This way, you avoid that the ruler slides, and you cut in the wrong place. You also avoid cuts to your fingers! Press the ruler down firmly, and keep your fingers away from the edge of the ruler.