getting started

Hello - are you new (or returning) to watercolor painting? Curious to learn about what sort of supplies we use and recommend? This is the place for you!

getting started

Below is a list of items we use and recommend as relatively newcomers to the art world. I highly encourage you to check out the items below and visit your local art store or other small business to purchase your supplies.

If you do use the links below, we will receive small compensation as an Amazon Affiliate - the cost of the item to you in not impacted - but again, if you are fortunate enough to have a local art store - please consider shopping there. If this is all too much - scroll down to the bottom for the items I’d put together for a friend to get started.


If you are new to watercolor painting - figuring out what paper to use is key. I personally prefer 140 lb cold-press (more textured) over the smoother, hot-press watercolor paper.

This is a great sampler of high quality paper to test out: Legion Mini Pad Sampler Set

The following are a variety of loose paper I use:

Strathmore, Ready Cut Watercolor, Cold Press, 5" x 7"

Canson 100510941 XL Series Watercolor Pad, 9” x 12”

I also really like to use watercolor blocks - the sides are sealed to the pages below resulting in less buckling when you’re liberal with water.

Moleskine Art Watercolor Block, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Plain/Blank, Black, 20 Pages, 8053853603234

Fabriano 12.5 x 18 cm watercolor block

If you’re looking for a bound watercolor pad to take on the go, check these out:

CANSON Artist Series Montval Watercolor, 5.5" x 8.5"

Pentalic 20802 Watercolor Field Book, 7” by 10”

Travelogue Artist Watercolor Journal, Pocket Panorama, 3-1/2 x 8-1/4, 140 lb

Travelogue Artist Watercolor Journal, Large Landscape, 5-1/4 x 8-1/4, 140 lb


There is so much to learn about paintbrushes - are they made of animal fur (sable, horse, camel, squirrel [yup]) - are you okay with that? Do you want to use synthetic fiber? Vegan? Below are some entry brushes I use/have used followed by some more expensive, high-quality brushes. Here’s a link to more about watercolor brushes if you’re interested. If you are new to watercolor painting, I recommend a starting with a few round brushes - size 2-3, 4-6, and 10-12.

Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, 4-Piece

Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush, 4 pack

da Vinci brush set (size 0, 2, 4)

da Vinci Brushes 5598 Casaneo Large Round (Sizes 5,6,8,10)

If you purchased a watercolor palette with a space for a travel brush, these fit the space well.

Princeton Aqua Elite size 4

Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, Synthetic Squirrel Watercolor Paint Brush, Travel Round, Size 6


Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes: 30 Eye-Catching Scenes Anyone Can Master by Kolbie Blume

Watercolor in Nature: Paint Woodland Wildlife and Botanicals with 20 Beginner-Friendly Projects by Rosalie Hazilett

A Field Guide to Color: A Watercolor Workbook


Permanent sketching pens are key to creating a polished look:

Sakura Pigma Micron 08 - Pigment Fineliners - 0.5mm - Black

Sakura Pigma 30062 Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black, Ass't Point Sizes 6CT Set

Copic Markers MLA2 Multiliner Inking Pen, Set A-2,Black

Sketching pencils

Staedtler Mars Lumograph Art Drawing Pencils


Epakh 4 Rolls Pinstripe Tape

Tesa Precision Mask Indoor Tape

Princeton Catalyst Wedge Tool

If I was to purchase supplies for a friend who is new to watercolor painting - I would create a kit that includes:

paper: Strathmore, Ready Cut Watercolor, Cold Press, 5" x 7" (small enough not to be daunting but large enough to do some damage).

brush: Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750, 4-Piece (contains a few sizes to feel out and get started - if I really liked my friend, I’d go with several of the da Vinci brushes).

pen: Sakura Pigma Micron 08 - Pigment Fineliners - 0.5mm - Black.

pencil: they must already have a pencil w/ an eraser at home…

books: one of the books I linked above - it’s nice to have a prompt to get started.

relaxation: I would encourage my friend (you) to have a cup to tea, coffee, wine, or beer to relax a little and let the color flow.