Suggested Water Colour Art Materials

TIP: Put your name on your tubes of paint when going to a group class

Materials Required

1 x 1-inch flat brush                   1 x 2 inch or 3-inch pastry brush

1 x  size 10  round brush           Container for water

1 x  size 6 round brush              Spray bottle

1 x size 3 round brush               Paper towel or tissues

1 x 1-inch rigger/liner brush      1 natural sponge

Pencils – 2B, 4B, 6B                   1 eraser (kneaded rubber eraser)      

Flat and round brushes on a paint lid

One large sketchbook.  Daler-Rowney makes an A3 220g/m2 acid-free pad in heavy cartridge paper 297 x 420 mm, that is marvellous).  Another good pad is made by Croxley and has a spiral binding and a sketched girl’s face on a yellow background.

Good drawing paper – heavy enough for good sketches with watercolour

Watercolour palette, bigger is better.  (The lid of a plastic paint drum works well).   If you cannot find what you need, just bring a couple of plastic plates for now.

Board for stretching paper.  I have some boards that I have found to be marvellous and they are not heavy and I have some for you to purchase if you care to try this method.  

 Watercolour paper.  There are so many varieties and prices.  Try to purchase the heaviest paper that you can afford, nothing less than a 300 gram, and no tinted papers.   I no longer like the Bockingford make as we have had some real disappointments with this paper. You may also find a pad with sample papers.  This is a good way to experiment and find out what you like best.  Pads that are 15 x 20 inches or 14 x 10 or 16 x 12 are good sizes to begin but try not to get smaller than that initially.  Some makers of paper also make blocks, where the paper is glued down and supposedly already stretched.  I don’t like to use these and always take the paper off anyway.  If these are cheaper, go ahead and buy them, in this way and you can experiment to see what works for you.  I have had more consistent success with, Montval and Daler Rowney Aquafine paper which is in the cheaper range.

My favourite palette

 In South Africa, you can contact Harold Pullen to obtain one of these excellent palettes that have a lid to keep the paint clean and dust-free.


Middle of the range art paper and more readily available in South Africa


I prefer tubes of paint.  Winsor and Newton are good buys.   It is a good idea to purchase the best quality paints you can afford.  The colours can be a disappointment for you if you go with the cheap boxed colours as they are not true and cause more frustration than anything.  It is better to just buy a few colours at a time and gradually build up your supply.  The following colours are the basics, get the ones with the * first if you intend building up your collection gradually.  After this, you might like to experiment with other colours. Some paints are marked as “hue” these are usually fine for the beginning.

 I change my palette from time to time and for that reason, I have quite a number of the lovely palettes featured above.  At the moment the list below is what I am enjoying:

     Winsor Red
Winsor Yellow
       Cobalt Blue
Cadmium Scarlet
     Aureolin Yellow
Antwerp Blue
      Payne’s Grey
Brown Madder Alizarin
      French Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
     Prussian Blue I LOVE Prussian Blue but it is powerful so use with care or with flamboyance.
To begin purchasing a suitable and very basic range of colours – this is what I would suggest:       

Yellow:  lemon yellow, yellow ochre or raw sienna
Orange: cadmium orange or chrome orange
Red: alizarin crimson or Winsor red
Blue: cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue
Brown: burnt sienna