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Where to start with buying Watercolour Materials!

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Updated March 2023; I've removed the prices as they do change / offer discounts from time to time and apologies if any links have expired. Do let me know so I can change them!


I know shopping for paint supplies can be really daunting as there's so much to choose from.

It would be amazing if we could try all the brands available, and if you can, I would definitely recommend trying a few different varieties! But if you're just looking for a place to start, want to dip your toes in or perhaps you're thinking of joining one of my online Yoga Nidra & Watercolour Workshops, I've got some suggestions to hopefully make it easier for you!

Grab a cuppa, pop your feet up and have a leisurely read....


I'll take you through paper, paints and brushes, plus the other stuff you will need! I'll share a range of costs and styles that I've used previously, and the links of where to buy them.


So, let's start where the magic of Watercolour comes to life... on the paper.


WATERCOLOUR PAPER


Useful tips....

Watercolour paper comes in two forms.... Hot Pressed or Cold Pressed, which is the pressing process it goes through to create the sheets of paper.


Pads and sketchbooks usually say what the paper type is on the front cover, but you can generally spot the difference by looking and feeling the paper.

Cold pressed paper has a bumpy texture. The bumps can range from light bumps to rough bumps. Cold pressed paper is more absorbent, which means you have less time to move paint around the paper before it soaks in. As the paper is more absorbent, you may find the colours aren't as vibrant when it dries.

Hot pressed paper is smooth and less absorbent, so the water will stay on the surface for longer and may take longer to dry. Smooth watercolour paper is best for fine details and the colours are brighter as they don't absorb into the paper as much.

Try both and see how you get on!

Ideally you want your paper to be at least 300gsm, which is the weight of the paper, or heavier. The heavier the paper, the more water it can hold and it won't buckle as much, meaning you won't get lots of puddles and pools on the page.



Hobbycraft 50 sheets of 190gsm watercolour paper.

This is a really good value pack of paper, perfect if you're on a budget or really handy for practicing, testing and playing on. This paper doesn't specify hot or cold pressed, but it does have a slight texture.

At 190gsm, this paper is thin and bit flimsy, so be care about using too much water, as this will buckle quite a bit.

It's usually best to tape watercolour paper down, all around the edges to avoid the buckling, and you can use masking tape, painters tape or washi tape!


Another good value pad if you're on a budget! This paper is quite absorbent so isn't great for really fine details, but you can create some lovely loose flowers and super cute birds... like this little blue bird below...


Cass Art Jumbo Pad cold pressed 50 sheets 300gsm.

I love this pad and have used it for years. This is perfect if you want to up your game on the paper front!


It might be worth saying at this point, that the quality of your materials can make all the difference and I really notice when I swap between high priced materials and lower priced, but again it really depends what you want to get out of it.


Hobbycraft 15 sheets cold pressed 350gsm

Now I've only recently bought this paper, for a workshop. Seawhite is a good quality brand and this is a nice thick, cold pressed paper!

Hot Pressed Hobbycraft 12 sheets (A3, but they do A4 too) 300gsm

A higher price, but a good quality pad. You can also cut the sheets in half or even smaller if you want to make it last longer / don't want to work big! They do smaller pads too. I recently started using this and found the colours so vibrant!


Watercolour Block / Pad glued on all four sides!

Hobbycraft 12 sheets cold pressed 300gsm

This is worth a mention, as it means you don't need to tape your edges down but can go to town with water washes; great for backgrounds and skies!


WATERCOLOUR PAINTS


Useful tips....

Watercolours come in Pans, Tube and Liquid Ink form.

In my opinion, pans are the easiest to deal with, keeping your equipment list small and you can travel with them.

Tubes and liquid ink, require paint palettes, so they aren't as easy to carry around, but if you have a dedicated space where you can keep your art supplies out, then these are a great option. You can let watercolour paints dry in the palette and reactivate them with water when you come back to them, so there's no waste - just make sure to cover them so they don't get dusty!

Watercolours require water, but the amount you use can vary. The more water you use, the more diluted and light your paints will be. It's always best to work from light to dark with watercolours, as you can layer them up, but you can't layer light colours on dark.


PAN PAINTS

​This little travel pack comes with a small paintbrush, the lid can be used as a mixing palette and the paints are replaceable when they run out, but they last for ages!! I love these and would highly recommend.



This is a fab set that has all the colours you need, meaning you can just crack on with painting! It comes with a paintbrush and you can use the lid for watering down / mixing new colours!




TUBE PAINTS

A good place to start with tubes, to help you get used to the consistency and water amounts.


Cass Art SINGULAR TUBES.

So these are slightly more expensive, but they do last a while. Get yourself the primary colours, plus a white and you are good to go, if you're up for a bit of mixing to make other colours.


LIQUID INK

Ecoline Liquid Watercolours https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ecoline-Royal-Talens-Watercolour-30mls/dp/B008D1KV7A/ref=asc_df_B008D1KV7A/?tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=255965130687&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12822810343819722975&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9045538&hvtargid=pla-312564136308&psc=1 I absolutely love these as they are so vibrant and easy to use! You can create really fluid paintings with liquid inks, but make sure to still add water so dilute them, as they can be deep and rich. A little goes a long way with these so they do last! BRUSHES

Useful Tips...

In my opinion, a great brush to have in your tool kit is a round brush, in a variety of different sizes, so you can create different shapes and sizes of paintings. Round brushes are thicker in the middle and come to a fine point at the end. They are the most versatile as you can use the side of the brush for thicker lines and washes, the tip for thinner lines and detail and they flow nicely.

Synthetic or Natural....You can get synthetic brushes which are manmade or natural brushes, which are made out of animal hair. So do look closely when buying, if you're vegan or generally don't like the idea of using animal hair!


Gold Round Taklon Brushes Pack of 4



The Daler Rowney pack comes with a flat brush, which is also a useful tool to have in your kit, for backgrounds and flat washes!

THE HOBBYCRAFT BUNBLE https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/get-started-in-watercolour-bundle/6565571000.html Includes paper pad, pan paint set and pack of brushes.


Other bits & bobs....

When painting with watercolours, you will need pots of water! I recommend having two pots of water - one for washing the paint off your brush (this pot of water gets dirty quickly) and one for swilling and rinsing with clean water (this pot of water stays clean so that you don't end up with murky colours)


You will also need some tissue / kitchen roll, for blotting. No matter what stage you're at with watercolour painting, there will be times when you use a bit too much water and need to blot some away with a tissue. You can also use the tissue to control how much water / paint you have on your brush.


So there you have it! I really hope you've found this useful, and not overwhelming. I wanted to provide a few options to give you choice. If you'd like to test out your new art supplies, please do visit my YouTube channel where I have a few Watercolour Tutorials available! Find the link at the end of this Blog!


Join me for a workshop....


If you'd like to get creative with a group of like minded people, do join me for a Yoga & Art Workshop in the South Birmingham area....





No experience needed at all!


Most people who attend my workshops are complete beginners or haven't painted in years! I provide a very open and relaxed atmosphere that is focused around playing and experimenting whilst learning a new skill.

Click the below to visit my YouTube Channel for more watercolour tutorials or Yoga practices.....


Please reach out if you have any questions and I hope to see you soon!


With Gratitude,

Sophie xxx






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