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5 Must-Have Watercolour Paint Supplies for Beginners

Watercolour paint is one of the most popular painting mediums among leisure artists. One good reason for this is that you actually don’t need many supplies to get started with watercolour painting. If you are just starting out, let’s see what materials are needed for watercolor painting.

watercolor paint materials

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Paints

When looking for quality watercolor paint materials, you will mainly encounter 2 forms of watercolors – tubes and pans. Regardless of the form, a watercolor consists of pigment (color), a material such as gum arabic(binder), and water.

Tubes of watercolours are already moist and have a pasty consistency. This watercolour is thick. You can squeeze it out on a palette and thin it with water in order to apply translucent applications. If the tube paint dries, it can be reactivated just like the pan watercolour – with water. These paints are best for intense colours. In fact, tube paints are naturally more concentrated than pan colours. Also, mixing tube colours is a bit easier than mixing watercolour pans.

Pan watercolor paint materials are concentrated blocks of pigment and binder. When you add water, the colour becomes activated. For painting on location or watercolour sketching, pan watercolours are a great choice as they are easy to maintain and use. The only drawback to these watercolour paints is that the colour can become contaminated rather easily when going from pan to pan without washing your brush.

If you are not sure what type of watercolour paint to get, consider buying a beginner’s set of each and see which you’ll like best. Generally, every artist has his/her own preference on tubes vs. pans, so it really boils down to your own experience with each. You can purchase watercolour paints either in sets or individually.

Wondering what are the best watercolors for beginners? Our recommendation is to start with tube Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours. The colours are strong and intense but won’t break the bank. These are regarded as student quality watercolor paints. They give beginners a taste of what it’s like to work with watercolours.

Paintbrushes

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Brushes

Paintbrushes that you choose are more of a personal decision. Many artists find a particular brand that they prefer. As you progress, you can try different brush types and shapes and see which ones will suit you best. Different types and shapes produce different results which can be used for specific applications.

Generally, softer bristles are the preferred choice of most artists. Sable and goat hair brushes are very soft and both are pretty popular options. The first ones provide the artist with a bit more control, as they have a bit more “spring” than goat hair.

Soft nylon paint brushes are a great choice due to their excellent spring and control of the stroke. Stiffer hairs, such as hog bristle, are one of the most avoided brushes. They are usually used in some circumstances when there’s a need for special textural effects.

All in all, if you are a beginner, start with natural brushes, and later, you can experiment with various types .

Watercolour Paper

Watercolour paper is absorbent and allows for various applications of washes without much buckling. You can mainly choose between sheets, pads, and blocks. You can use any pad, block or loose paper with a weight of 140lb (300gsm). The heavier the paper, the less likely it is to deal with the warpage of the damp paper while painting. It’s recommended to use larger sheets because you can always cut them in half or quarters for smaller paintings.

Palette

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Palette

If you use tube paints, then you need a good palette. Primarily, you can choose between plastic and ceramic watercolours palettes. A plastic palette will eventually become stained with the paint, but it is lighter and easier to hold than a ceramic palette. However, a ceramic palette is of better quality.

Choose a palette with separate wells so you can mix the colours in. The walls of these wells will keep the colours, meaning the watery paint won’t run into each other.

Container of Water

As their own name suggests, these colours require water. So, find some types of container – either glass, a jar, or a small bucket in which you will hold fresh, clean water. In fact, it’s recommended to use two containers – one for rinsing your brush between colours, and the other one for clean water for painting.

Generally, tap water is fine. If the water is overly softened, it will act as a wetting agent and will increase paint solubility and flow, while hard water will decrease paint solubility and flow. So, if you are concerned, then use bottled water.

It’s important to change the water once it becomes too murky, if not, the residue can get onto your brush and so, wind up your painting.

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