what you need as a watercolor beginner

6:36:00 PM

Hi guys! A lot of people always ask me which are the essential things to buy to start with watercolors! So here I am to tell you! First of all when you start with a new tecnique you must always take into consideration that maybe that tecnique might not work for you in the end, consequently you should start from the basic stuff and then, once you tried it, got used to it, learnt a bit about it and realized that you really like it, upgrade!

I'm not telling you to buy the cheapest and the crappiest paints! But better few good colors than a lot bad quality colors! The truth is that of course the quality of the paints that you use will influence a lot how the end results is going to be, but just because you use the best paints it doesn't mean that you're suddenly going to become an amazing watercolorist! Watercolors indeed are quite difficult to use due to their unpredictability! You know that's a lot of water and you can't really control it and that's what make watercolors so unique, beautiful and fun to use!

Don't forget that the paper is also really important! Notice that you can't use watercolors on any paper! You need thick paper that has sizing on it ( a coat of glue that makes the paper more resistant and prevent the paper from absorbing too much water too fast) that allows you to blend the colors and lift them. Some paper have more sizing some less, some paper are made with cotton (that's more archival and very expensive), some are made with cellulose ( tree pupl ). With time, expirience and with a bit of study you will eventually understand what works for you and what not and you'll find your balance!

Now let's talk about the actual material that you might need! 
First of all if you are doing it all by yourself you need a guideline! And I suggest you to buy, consult in you library if aviable or look for it on the internet a good book or video lessons that can explain to you how watercolors work and the basic tecniques! Without doing that it's going to take way longer to learn! The second thing you need is a set of watercolor paints! You can go with only the primary colors if you really know well the color theory : magenta, cyan, yellow, but to get a better range of shades you might need more colors so one of those standard 12 color sets is ideal! Twelve colors guys are all you need!

Vermilion red or cadmium red (warm red), carmine red ( cold red to mix purple), orangelemon yellow. indian yellow or cadmium yellow medium, yellow ochre ( for skin tone), raw sienna  ( for skintone ), burnt umber ( for skin tone), sap greenemerald green, ultramarine blue ( mixed with burnt umber you get a dark color similar to black ), cyan blue  ( to get vibrant greens).

With these colors you can pretty much mix all the colors you need! White is useless in watercolors and there's an unofficial rule that tells that you should never use black paint, but some people use it! Now if you have a specific style and you use a specific  palette of colours go for it and only buy the colors you need of course!

The brand I suggest you to use  to start is nevskaya palitra (st.petersubrg) the white nights set! Those colors are artist grade paints but they are super affordable and also animal friendly ( I'm not sure, but I think that they don't contain ox gall)! These watercolors are amazing guys! They are so pigmented, bright and come in a bigger size! These performes as good as winsor and newton so if you suck with these you'll definatelly know that's not the paint's fault ( you know when people can't paint they always say that's the paint's fault lol) ! The set is around 30$ on amazon!

If you think it's too much anyway there are student grade paints! These paints aren't bad, but they contain less pigment and more filler that's why they're cheaper and of course they don't perform as good as artist grade paints! A very good option might be the van gogh watercolors ( 22 $) , but also the winsor and newton cotman ( 13 $) are good enough ( the ones I started with)!! I don't racomand the sakura koi, the kohinor or the reeves those are not as good ( they are opaque and dull). Another set that it's not bad is the one from kuretake the gansai tambi (12 $), but take in mind that these are japanese watercolors and they are a bit different and a bit more opaque than the western watercolors!

Now let's talk about the paper you need! Paper is important, but since you are a beginner buying super expensive paper is such a waste! Because let's be real! You'll make a lot of mistakes and it's okay!! Those mistakes will let you learn so much! But it's better not to waste money! I have some options for you! They are all made with cellulose and quite affordable!
canson xl watercolor pad 30 sheets for 10 $, arteza watercolor pad 62 sheets for 24$, strathmore 300 series 24 sheets for 10 $

And for last, but not for least you need brushes! There are many brushes for watercolor paints, but the most used are the syntetic round ones! They are pretty easy to find and affordable! Three brushes is all you need! One in a small size ( 0 or 1 ) one in a medium size ( 4 or 5 ) and a bigger one ( 8 or 10 ).
But if you feel you need more there are a lot of sets or just buy the ones that you know you are going to need! If you find them comfortable you can also try waterbrushes (brushes that have built-in tank that holds water so you don't even need a water container) ! 

That is guys everything you need to start with watercolors! It's not much stuff and they're not that expencive! I hope you found this post helpful or at least interesting! If you have any questions leave them in the comments below! See you next time!

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