Watercolor Paint Supplies – Everything you need to paint with Watercolor


Choosing your Medium: a brief outline of the positives and the negatives.
In this tutorial I will be introducing the various types of watercolor paint mediums you can choose from and I will go into brief detail about each one. After this tutorial will have a good overview over the watercolor supplies you can use.

If you are searching for more basic watercolor tutorials you can find an overview at the following link: Watercolor Basics

Watercolor paint pans

These kinds of watercolor paint is the one that most people will encounter first in their lives. I remember the first watercolor paint set I bought was in the 90’s from Spar (convenience store) toy section. My Grandmother used to paint small model houses as I sat with her painting pictures of houses.
Painting these easy forms is a wonderful way of learning how to use watercolor paint. Doing artist studies of landscape paintings and all kinds of watercolor styles that you like, will help you a lot to improve your watercolor painting skills.

Watercolor Paint Set

This here is a picture of my first watercolor paint set, I have used similar sets like this all through secondary school and even some college, this one has now been sitting amongst my watercolor paint collection for some time now.
This particular set is a student set from Reeves, the colour pigmentation is not the best and has a chalky feel once it dries. You can find this set for a really reasonable price at Amazon.

Reeves 12-Piece Water Color Metal Tin Pan Set with Bonus Brush


Regardless of all this, I have learnt a lot from using these kinds of sets, mainly mixing colours and varying water to paint ratio when painting.
When you are left with a limited colour palette you are forced to learn how to make your own colours, which I feel is often not practised enough as some people are very dependent on ready mixed colours. That being said there is a humungous variety of premixed colour pans available, saving a lot of time if you are of course trying to paint under a tight schedule.
Another great thing about having dried blocks of colour, is that you don’t really waste paint. If it dries in the pan then it can be reused, the same thing can be said once it’s on the paper, just add a bit of water to re-work.
For your first set I very much advise trying something similar, especially if you are trying to figure out what tools you like to use and/or you are on a budget.
These sets are also very portable you just pack one in your bag with some water in a jar and off you go, making it a landscape painters favourite companion.

Watercolor paint tubes



These were a delight when I first tried using this kind of watercolor paint after spending years using pans. The watercolor is more intense if you use the paint straight out of the tube, while the pans require more working over to get the same colour density. Mixing large quantities of the same color is also a lot easier too because you don’t have to keep going back and dissolving more pigment, adding then repeating. This is especially useful if you paint on a large scale.
These watercolor paint tubes also come in a variety of mixed colors saving a lot of time for the busy artist, but you have to mix the colors on a palette because no one wants to find some blue paint accidentally in their yellow tube.
There is the problem of paint wastage, now believe me it makes me a little sad inside when I see that I have not used all of the paint that I have squeezed out onto my palette. Though like the pans, if water is added you can rework the paint. However, depending on the paint and the risk you want to take you might get chunks of hardened paint that haven’t quite dissolved properly when attempting this.
The tubes of paint are a lot less portable than the pans as they can roll around loose in your bag. Also the clean up afterwards can be a lot more work, because you will have left over watercolor paint on your palette making it more difficult to pack away.
The budget sets are quite good value and can be easy to pick up and work with. The set in the picture I picked up for under £5. You can find very good watercolor tube sets on Amazon.

Colore Watercolor Painting Kit, 24 Colors


The colour pigment is not too bad and for a small set you get a nice range of basic colors perfect for creating your own. Though remixing once a layer of skin has formed, will leave dreaded lumpy bits in your wash, so beware.

Water soluble ink



Water  Soluble Inks are my favourites to in terms of coloring. They are the most vibrant and the color is translucent. Similar to the water color tube paint sets, if used straight out of the container the colors are very vivid. You can add water to mix colors and also to make the color into more of a wash. These can be treated similar to the tube paints, but unlike the tube paints no matter how much you layer up it will remain translucent. Inks will a lot of the time bleed together which is why I love working in ink. The marks that are created when the ink reacts with the water can form very beautiful textures.
With a lot of ink you can rework them once they are dry, but there are some exceptions. Some ink gets water proof  after they dry. They are also a lot easier to handle on your paint brushes, because when they dry they don’t clump and make your brushes fray.
The most popular and widely available inks are Windsor and Newton drawing inks, they come in a wide variety of colours and they are nice to work with.

Winsor & Newton Drawing Ink – Henry Collection Pack

They do dry a little sticky as shellac is used as the binder. I purchased a set a long time ago and they are perfectly useable, the colours are strong, and you have a wide range of pre made colors.
There is very minimal wastage when it comes to using ink, as you can squeeze whatever is left on your brush back into the pot, and you can use the ink sparingly because of the dense colours.
The only complaint I have about these is that the fact they dry with a sheen, some would find this attribute to be a positive, I however prefer a more matt finish.
A massive positive is that once the ink dries it won’t budge, making it great for layering or working alongside other aqueous mediums.
The Windsor and Newton drawing inks are lower mid-range in price and are good value for money. They are great for budding artists and are versatile enough to be used for calligraphy.
Inks are not very portable and the consistency is very watery, so chances of spillages and ink wastage are quite high, if you are not using a stable flat surface.

Water soluble pencils



These pencils are great to work with for an artist who likes to mix it up and have more control of the water wash. The finish is different from the previous mentioned kind of paints. The colour application is dry giving you more control. You can choose to leave some of the image in pencil and apply water to other areas for a wash effect.
I remember getting my first set of water color pencils around junior school. I was so excited to use them after borrowing and using a fellow after school club kid’s set to color in my 3d model of a postal van I made. There was however a huge difference in our pencils, his were Caran D’ache and mine were Crayola. Now I have already mentioned how budget sets are usually okay to worth with, but not in this case. I was so disappointed that my Crayola set didn’t dissolve as well, and the color was not as bright or vibrant.
My mum would not let me get another set till I finished these and by then I was ready to give up on water soluble pencils forever.
It was a decade later as an almost fully fledged grown up decided to take the plunge and try these pencils again. Still haunted by my previous childhood experiences with cheaper pencils, I went straight ahead and bought myself a set of Caran D’ache pencils. There have been no regrets , the colours are as vibrant as I remember them to be, and they work well with water.
I recommend avoiding the cheaper pencils and save up a little longer and get a set that cost more initially, as believe me they’re a worthwhile investment.
These pencils are great and definitely made to be carried around in a pencil case. The water can be stored in a water brush pen which come in varying nib sizes. The clean-up is absolutely minimal and so is the mess. You won’t even really need to wash your hands of accidental color transfer.

Caran d’Ache Fancolor Color Pencils, 40 Colors

Pentel water brush pen

These are very different to the other aqueous colour mediums, as creating a coloured block wash can be quite difficult. These pencils however are great for fine detailing and layering of colour. Mixed media artists who like working in different mediums on one page will find these pencils beneficial because of their capacity for both semi dry and wet application.

Water Colour brush pens


These are very new to the scene, and I think they deserve a place amongst your materials.
The colors are intense when applied straight onto the paper and they can be blended and worked with water once on the paper. Colors can also be mixed on a palette easily. Though they have a lot of similarities to the paints there are major differences to take note of.  These are very versatile and can used to fill big blocks of color or even used for calligraphy. A lot of the pigment is different to the paints and some are even closer to ink so it’s good to figure out which brand has the qualities you desire before purchasing. I personally prefer SCHNAUD Brush Pens which are water based, the colors are intense and vivid. They work and react well with water and the flow of color that comes out of the pen can be adjusted depending on how you press the nib. They also have a very good size to carry them around. The good thing about pens are they can be easy to pick up and learn, they are also incredibly portable if you are a traveling artist who is out and about exploring a lot. All you need is a water brush pen and a pencil case to store them all and you are good to go. Similar to the water-soluble pencils mixed media artists would find these pens invaluable because of the simple application of the medium.

SCHNAUD – Watercolor Brush Pens

I hope you enjoyed the watercolor tutorial! Stay tuned for the coming tutorials!

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