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April 25, 2019

My Top 3 Must-Haves for Watercolor Painting

Let’s go back 3 years…I’ve must have spent HUNDREDS of dollars on supplies and “good” tools I thought I needed when I first began painting. I bought just about everything that was on the market that had an ad…or anything that pulled me with good marketing. Whoops. Sorry bank account, haha.

If you’re like: I don’t know where to begin!! I bought these…but they don’t work for me. Am I doing something wrong?– truth is, both might be true, but it doesn’t matter. We all start somewhere. If I could go back to those years where I spent money on things I absolutely DID NOT need, I’d give anything. Great thing is, you don’t! Let’s get into my 5 non-negotiable supply items that are my must-haves when it comes to painting with watercolors.

The Top 3 Must-Haves

You don’t have time to be wasting more money on things you truly don’t need. However, I can guarantee that you do have time for your dreams to become a reality. Maybe you’re just searching for a new hobby. Maybe you’d like to run your own business one day as an artist. I don’t know, but there are truly GOOD tools and BAD tools. Let’s dive in:

  1. Arches Watercolor Paper : cold pressed, 140lb, high quality watercolor paper

This isn’t smoother like butter, but it has the perfect paper tooth grip that you want to soak up and reveal the bright colors you’re placing on your piece. I prefer cold pressed > hot because the cold is better at bringing up a color’s vibrancy. Also, this block provides just the right amount of thickness that won’t buckle at the weight of the water from your brush.

I’d definitely say that I couldn’t afford this when I was first starting. There are less sheets than a typical watercolor block (a stack of sheets stuck together on a pad). BUT– better supplies yield better results. I’m a true believer of this. If you’re looking for a good, but cheaper option, check out the Canson XL Watercolor Paper! Both provide beautiful results. Have confidence in your tools in the tool box.

2.  ShinHan Professional Watercolor Tubes : 30 tubes, 7.5mL each

As an artist, I get frustrated when I use cheap products. It’s a whoooole new ball game when you have better colors on your side. For a year or so, I used cheaper, Walmart brand colors and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. The colors would dull after they dried, and they would come off like chalk when touched. You want colors that will last, are vibrant, and have great consistency. The part that sold me are their consistency. They are thick but runny with water, and dry in good time. I can’t express how much I love these colors; you can spot the difference from a mile away.

I recommend tube colors because they will last ya a heck of a lot longer! I got my set in Korea 2 years ago and I still have plenty left. Invest once, reap like forever hahah. If you’re not into these, Winsor + Newton are another one of my favorites.

3.  Princeton 4050R : Synthetic Brushes Sizes 2, 4, 8, 16

You may have tried various kinds of brushes in the past but OH BOY, these are seriously a non-negotiable. They bend to pressure but don’t snap, retain water but don’t fall off, and they provide great bounce from the paper back to your hand. It creates smooth lines, rough lines, weird lines, thin lines….you get the point— you need ’em. I can keep one for about 6 months before it’s time for new ones (that’s a long time! I paint almost daily, so they’re heavy duty for sure).

If you haven’t yet, visit my Instagram @dawningrace as I post more about my watercolor journey and what’s going on with my biz! I love sharing what’s going on BTS in my pieces, and I strive to bring more goodness and knowledge to this space. 

My hope is that your biggest take is that you’ll feel more confident and find tools that work for YOU. I highly highly recommend that you start off with these basic necessities, but whatever is best for you, I’m for it! These are my tried and tested. Through my research and experience with these supplies, I am happy to finally post my FIRST blog post with all of my favorites! Thanks for being here! xx

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