My watercolor sketchbook is currently under review for midterms at the moment, so I thought in lieu of new paintings I would share the supplies I use with you! I have been hoping that this Watercolor Wednesday series would inspire some of you to try watercoloring yourself, but maybe you didn't know where to start at the art store. Now you have no excuse!
Let's start with the paints because...that's the fun + colorful part! I used to use this small Koi Field Sketch Travel Kit by Sakura. I have owned it since I was 12 and still love it today! It also came with a sponge and a brush that holds water inside of it, so you're always ready to paint. I recommend something like this because you can take it on the go with you, and yet again, you have no excuse not to create!
With the addition of my recent watercolor class, our teacher asked us to purchase some individual high quality pans in 4 colors, crimson, ultramarine, yellow, and burnt sienna made by Winsor & Newton. After using these pans [which I think last longer than paint tubes] I find it hard to go back to my Sakura kit because the paint is so smooth and mixable. The consistency is very creamy, in contrast to the Sakura paints which are chalkier. A big part of the class is to learn how to mix our own colors, so I've had to stick with these babies more than the kit recently.
Next up is the brush! As with the paints, I had one brush that I used for years, but our teacher required that we try a specific brush. I used the Sakura kit brush and other water-storage brushes in the past, but recently I have been using a size 10 Kolinsky watercolor brush by German brand daVinci made from sable hair. Now, if you're a beginner I wouldn't recommend purchasing this brush right away because it is rather expensive [about 60 USD]. However, if you're looking for a great brush, this is the one to get. If you can tell in the photos, it is a rather large brush head and at first I was shocked at how big it was, but this brush allows you to make tiny strokes surprisingly. It also holds water very well in the tip and the color flows out of it so nicely. I love it!
Okay, now you're going to need something to paint on! So admittedly, I should take my own advice here. A sturdy watercolor paper is the best thing you can paint on, and just like good paints + brushes, it will really make a difference in how your pieces come out. However, I found this leather sketchbook with "watercolor paper" at the leather market in Florence in January, and have been pretty addicted to using it. The paper is sturdy, but it's definitely not the best watercolor paper I can get my hands on, and the small size of the sketchbook is limiting as well. I've now learnt from my mistakes and am only using good paper from now on, but I couldn't help it--the leather sketchbook is just so darn cute!
Okay let's talk about the actual good stuff. I am still trying out some different papers, but so far I can recommend Canson and Sennelier. I have tried these papers in smaller paper sizes [like postcard size] but when I find a bigger paper pad that I like, I will let you know! The bottom line though is that good paper absorbs the water much better than plain paper can, and you will be really happy you spent a little extra money on it.
When it comes to watercolor painting, you can just paint without a starting sketch if that's your thing. But personally, I need a starting point. So, you can do a light pencil drawing [almost so light that you can't see it] or a heavier drawing and fill-in; whatever your preference is! Heck, try both!
For lighter drawings, I recommend a HB or 2B pencil, and for the heavier you can do a 4B, 5B, or 6B depending on your preference. As for brands, I think most pencils are suitable across the board, but I have been using a set of Faber-Castel graphite pencils for a few years.
Note: A couple other useful items are a mixing tray and a small bowl for water! But if you choose to use a kit, you're covered on these items.
So, that's what you'll need to get started! If you're just beginning, don't feel pressured to go buy a bunch of fancy supplies. Try out some more inexpensive items and see if watercoloring is for you, and then get yo'self an upgrade! I was happy that I did.
I hope this inspires you to try out watercoloring for yourself! If you have any more questions, just let me know below!
See you tomorrow! x, Paige.