Start with good and affordable watercolor supplies
Photo by Melissa Nauta

Start with good and affordable watercolor supplies

Good and affordable materials in the Netherlands and Europe!
Buying the right art supplies when you’re starting a new creative activity can feel quite overwhelming, as there is so much an art supply store or the internet has to offer. And buying cheap art supplies won’t give you the results you see on Pinterest or Instagram. In order to prevent wasting your time and money, I’ve made an overview of qualitative art supplies to start your watercolor journey with, that are quite easy to buy in The Netherlands or other parts of Europe. What are the basics watercolor supplies that you need?
  • Watercolor paper
  • A brush
  • Watercolor paint
  • Palette for your paint
  • Paper towel
  • Cup of water
As you can grab paper towel and a cup of water easily from your kitchen, I’ll give you some tips on the other supplies and where to buy them.
Paper

Watercolor paper is important to use instead of normal (drawing) paper, as watercolor paper is able to absorb water and the paint better. The thicker the paper, the better it prevents against buckling or rupturing. I recommend to use 300 grams. Fabriano produces really good watercolor blocks to start with and that are affordable as well. These blocks are also glued on 4 sides, so your paper won’t buckle when you use a lot of water. Leave the paper on your block when you paint and wait until it’s fully dry before you tear the upper sheet off. You can buy the watercolor blocks here. Depending on what size or number of sheets, prizes range between €6-€19.

Brush

There’s no need to buy different kind of brushes, you can really just start with one brush! Most watercolor artist paint with real animal hair brushes, such as sable hair or squirrel hair. However, nowadays there are some good synthetic brushes as well to start with, that are also animal friendly. The synthetic round brushes from Princeton are very flexible, have a firm point and hold a lot of water, so you’re able to make really thin and thick strokes. With a size 6 you’re good to go to paint almost everything! Buy the Princeton Select round brush here, these are around €5 for a size 6. My favorite is the Princeton Heritage round brush, this one is around €13 for a size 6, which you can buy here. 

Paint

I would say that paint is the most important part when choosing good watercolor supplies, next to using the right paper. The quality of the paint could make or break your painting. That’s why I recommend to start with high quality paints right away. Watercolor paints are not cheap, as there is a whole creation process behind it, and the scarcer the pigment color, the more expensive the paint will be. You can start with three primary colors and a neutral color to begin with. This is also the easiest way to really learn color mixing. Winsor & Newton produces high quality paints. I recommend to start with Winsor yellow, Winsor Blue (red shade), Permanent Rose and Burnt Sienna. Prizes range between €5-€7 per 5ml tube. Buy them here.

Palette

You need a palette when using paint from tubes and/or for mixing paints. Palettes comes in all kind of shapes. Most palettes are from plastic, but you can also use ceramic palettes or even (dinner) plates to mix your paints. With tube paints, you can easily leave the paint in your palette to dry, put your palette away and reactivate them with water anytime you would like to paint again. Paint won’t get wasted this way! To prepare a folded watercolor palette (for example to take with you on your holiday trip), you need to let the paint for 24-48 hours. You can buy a round plastic open palette here (around €1,50) and a folded plastic palette here (around €7). Find ceramic palettes here (starting from €10).

This is just a brief overview of qualitative essentials for watercoloring. I’ll post more articles that go into depth on the different materials, but with the above supplies, you’re good to start your watercolor journey with the right supplies 🙂

Let me know how this article has helped you or what kind of watercolor supplies you use and what your experiences are in the comments below!

Please note that prices mentioned in this article are subject to change and are not sponsored. These recommendations are based on my own experience of trying out many different kinds of watercolor supplies.

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