Favorite Watercolor Supplies for Beginners


If you are new to watercolor, the selection of supplies available to you can become daunting very quickly.   First you have consider the types of supplies you want, then quality (or what you basically want to invest money into and what you can just skimp on),  then narrow your list even further to brand selection and finally narrow that down even further to what sizes or types you desire.  

And with that – the dilemma as well as hair pulling frustration begins. Understanding where to start can be so exasperating – hence the reason I’m writing you this simple hopeful helpful list of what I would recommend if I were starting with just the bare basics again.

Now – I do want to preface – art supplies are very much personal preference to the artist. These supplies are basically an extension of your creative soul. So view this list as more of a suggestion guide based on my personal artist style than an absolute hard truth of the absolute best out there. You may mind something out there that isn’t on this list that totally tickles your creative bone – AND THAT IS PERFECTLY OKAY! However – if you do please leave a comment down below to share with others ? The whole point of this post is to just give suggestions to those starting on their journey! So thanks in advance for the suggestions.

Now with that covered – let’s get into this….


COTTON is your greatest ally when it comes to painting with watercolor. So 100% cotton watercolor paper is a must. Here are two suggestions linked below that I love when it comes to inexpensive watercolor paper.

Paul Rubens Watercolor Journal Shown Above

Personally, I’m a smooth (no bumps) paper lover when it comes to my artistic style. But I know this choice isn’t for everyone. So, I’ve included both my favorite Smooth (Hot Press Paper) and Rough (or more absorbent (Cold Press Paper) brands above. These are both great choices for starter artist or for those like myself who just need an inexpensive journal to explore and play around with – without the guilt of using nicer more expensive quality paper.

Color Round Metal Watercolor Palette plus porcelain mixing tray placed inside – shown above


Once again – this comes down to personal preference – but I like to work with fresh paint right from the tube – since this gives me the most vibrant colors I can muster with watercolor. Hence the reason I use ceramic or porcelain white plates for mixing. I purchased my mixing plate from my local world market – link below to exact one. But you can use an old plate you have laying around the house as well.

Next, I recommend picking up a basic watercolor palette to store your paints in. Since we are using a mixing tray to mix our colors on – any palette will do. However, I’ve listed the one I link below. If you purchase both this mixing tray and the watercolor palette listed below – the plate easily fits inside the watercolor palette mixing area to give you more room for painting on your table.

Winsor + Newton Cotman Series “detail” brushes shown above


Watercolor Brushes are next on the list. If you want to really invest into something of quality – but not bust your bank account – is the Black Velvet Line Round Brush set (linked below) Round Brushes are the most versatile brushes you will use when it comes to watercolor. Detail brushes would be my next go to (since I’m a detail and patterns kind of gal). And finally, flat brushes are your next go to important brush supply. I’ll include links to all my favs for these but if you new – just start with the black velvet and work your way down the brush type line :)

PURCHASE 1st: Round Brush Set

PURCHASE 2nd: Detail Brushes

PURCHASE 3rd: Flat Brushes


Paint is usually the topic that comes up most when discussing new supplies. And understandably so – this is where the colors of your paintings originate from. For me – like I said easier – I like to use tube paints since these allow you to get the most bank for your buck right out the tube. Hence – why I will only be sharing tube paint colors with you below.


Primary colors are crucial when it comes to broadening your color palette. That is why you need to purchase these colors first. Now, I know you’ve probably heard that three colors can make every color under the rainbow – but I hate to break it to you but actually that information is false. I know right! What we learned in grade school about Red, Yellow, and Blue being able to mix every single color under the rainbow is wrong. Not only that – but those colors we were preached about at such an early age is also wrong.

Traditional Primaries Color Wheel


Technically there are 6 primary colors.

3 Traditional Primary Colors – which include….


Primary Yellow (or Neutral Yellow) – BRAND/COLOR SUGGESTION:

Primary Blue (or Blue/Greenish Shade) – BRAND/COLOR SUGGESTION:

And then 3 Modern Primary Colors – which include…


Primary Light Yellow – BRAND/COLOR SUGGESTION:


I’ll get more into the specifics about these colors and their importance more in a later post/video and even future watercolor course where I’ll really dive into color mixing with these. But for now – know these are the foundational colors for all colors.

Modern Primaries Color Wheel

Bulldog/Duck Clips

Yeah, I know right – this sounds like a weird supply to be on a watercolor beginner’s list. But if you are using a watercolor journal – then these are a must. First they are super strong and stretch your paper down flat while you paint. But second and most important – since they have a flat clamp head – they don’t end up damaging your paper! So I had to include them in this list.

Pencils / Erasers

I’m placing these supplies together into one category because they all connect to one another. But believe it or not – I use these types of pencils so much in my illustrations. These pencils are made with the hardest lead available and thus give you super straight and thin lines which also are super light on the page. This gives your paints the ability to shine through the line drawing – but still gives enough structure to the painting to provide structural details. And they aren’t super expensive – which makes them even more desirable!


I hope you found this list informative and enjoy the supplies I listed. If you would like to learn more about watercolor or specifically more about watercolor supplies. I have a whole 2 hour + beginners watercolor course going into even more detail on these supplies as well as others. So make sure to check that out below :)

Check out my latest watercolor for beginners course by clicking the image above.

About Author

Hi there! My name is Carrie and I'm a Watercolor Misfit! What's a Watercolor Misfit? Well, anyone who is willing to try new things and not afraid to get their hands covered in paint! So what do you say, are you a Misfit-ian?

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