watercolor art supplies

what do i need to watercolor?

These are the watercolor art supplies I use for my watercolor paintings and how-to pages.

The art painting supplies for watercolor painting by artist Carol MayWatercolor Painting by Carol May

They are tried and true and they will work for you, too.

You will need are paint, watercolor brushes, something to paint on and plenty of water.

You may be asking;

  • What can I paint on?
  • What paper can I use for watercolor?
  • Can I watercolor on canvas?

We will answer these questions and cover the basic watercolor art supplies, including paint and brushes.

These are the material I use for my paintings and others from highly reputable companies. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to you.

watercolor paint

Tube watercolor paints are the only watercolors I use. Tube watercolors make it easy to get the bright juicy colors that are the hallmark of my paintings.

I normally use Winsor & Newton tube watercolor paints. There a quite a few of other reputable brands of art supplies.

M Graham is favored by many artists today because they strive to make their products as non-toxic as possible. They have a nice set of basic colors.

I recommend starting with a set of the basic colors. It holds down your cost and you can mix additional colors.


A basic set of environmentally Friendly watercolors




watercolor brushes

When I started painting with watercolor, I went all out and purchased expensive sable watercolor brushes.

Today there are so many good quality synthetic brushes that work just fine.

I found this nice set of Royal and Langnickel watercolor brushes.

It includes a 1" flat used for washes, a 1/2" angle brush which is good for straight lines and some detail work, two sizes of rounds good for general painting and a script liner that is good for branches and other fine lines.

This is an excellent selection of brushes. When I started watercolor painting, the 1/2" angle brush was my favorite brush. It's amazing what you can do with just one brush.

Work with them awhile to see how you like them. Then decide if you want or need any more brushes.

a nice set of watercolor brushes

what can i paint watercolor on?

Water color paintings are traditionally done on watercolor paper.

Now-a-days we have more options for watercolor art supplies. There is watercolor canvas. Also there are hard-boards that are treated to receive watercolor paint.

what paper do you use for watercolor?

When I first started doing watercolor painting I used Arches watercolor paper.

Arches is the standard paper for watercolor with an excellent reputation. There are other good watercolor papers, also.

  • Watercolor papers are available in Hot Press, Cold Press and Rough Press.

Cold Press is the most commonly used watercolor paper. It has a bit of texture to it that looks good and helps to pull the paint off of your brush onto the paper. The paint slides around on hot press paper.

  • Watercolor paper comes in different weights.

The 140# paper is often used, but it must have its edges fastened down (stretched) before painting to keep it from waving and warping as you paint.

You may purchase it in blocks that have the edges fastened together to keep it from warping while you are painting. When the painting is dry you then remove the painting from the block.

The 300# paper is thicker and it will stay flat when you paint on it.

Watercolor paintings on paper must be matted and framed under glass.

#140 watercolor paper block


300# paper no stretching required





my watercolor story

When my paintings started running out of my extra bedroom I stared doing outdoor street festivals.

I matted and framed my own watercolor paper paintings and prints under glass.

disaster struck

At an outdoor festival on the Gulf Coast of Florida the winds started gusting up to 60 MPH. Some of the other artist's tents on the end of the row blew down.

We became afraid to allow customers into the tent.

If the tent went down with people inside, there was a chance they could be injured by broken glass.

If paper watercolor paintings get moisture behind the glass, the painting maybe water stained or grow mildew. The painting could be permanently damaged.

i had to find another way

After we came home from the festival I started searching catalogues and magazines for watercolor art supplies. I came across Ampersand's Claybord. It is a hardboard covered with PH neutral kaolin clay. It makes an excellent archival support.

When the painting is thoroughly dry, I apply 2-3 coats of a UV resistant fixative. I use a Krylon spray fixative. This spray is also used to spray and protect watercolor canvas paintings.

The painting may be framed without glass. It is lighter weight and resistant to dirt, moisture and mildew. And it may be framed and displayed without any glass.

Oh, the beauty and ease of modern watercolor art supplies!

I have been using Claybord for about 15 years and I am very pleased with it. I now use Ampersand's newer version called Aquabord.


ampersand's aquabord



watercolor canvas

Another surface for watercolor painting is the modern watercolor canvas. It is canvas that is treated to receive watercolor paint.

Before you paint on the canvas you should wet the canvas with plenty of water with a large brush to break the surface tension of the canvas.

Let the extra water evaporate before you start painting, so you are able to control your paint when you apply it.

The dry canvas watercolor painting must be sprayed with a fixative for protection. If you happen to use a gallery-wrap canvas it may displayed without a frame. Otherwise frame the canvas without glass.

Modern technology is great it has given us a great variety of watercolor art supplies!

watercolor canvas

get your watercolor art supplies

  • Choose your own brand of artist paint.
  • Use your choice of watercolor paper, watercolor canvas or Aquabord.
  • Start with a few brushes.
  • Use a covered palette to keep your paints fresh.
  • You will need some drawing materials and graphite transfer paper.
  • Frisket is optional; you may use it to preserve the white of watercolor paper.

You will also need water in a container and rags or paper towels for clean-up.

you are ready to paint!

These are the watercolor art painting supplies I have used over the years.

I have always lived in small town areas that generally don't have good art supply stores. For many years my art materials came from catalogues.

Now-a-days we shop on line. How handy is that!

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