Watercolor Course Supply List

Below is a list of tools and materials you will need to begin painting in watercolor. I believe that “less is more”, especially in the beginning. So I have tried to keep the list short.


If you don’t already have paints, these are some suggested colors and brands. I recommend tube paints, as opposed to pan or “cake” paints. If you already have paints we will work with what you have and you can add colors as you wish.

  1. One yellow - a warm yellow- New gamboges (DS, WN, DV, C) OR
    • a cool yellow – Cadmium yellow (C ), Winsor yellow (WN), Hansa yellow medium (DS, WN, DV), Aureolin (DV)
  2. One warm red – Cadmium red hue (C ), Permanent Red (DS), Winsor red (WN), Cadmium red (RN)
  3. One cool red – Permanent rose (WN, C), Quinacridone rose (DS)
  4. One warm blue – French ultramarine blue (DS, WN, DV), Cobalt blue (H), Ultramarine (C )
  5. One cool blue – Winsor blue (WN), Intense blue (C ), Phthalo blue (DS, DV)
  6. One brown – Burnt sienna (WN, C), Quinacridone burnt orange (DS)
  7. One medium green – Hookers green or hookers green medium, any brand
  8. Optional – Violet/Purple – Permanent magenta, violet, Purple, any brand

These brands are suggested:
    WN – Winsor and Newton
    DV – DiVinci
    DS – Daniel Smith
    C – Cotman (a student grade made by Winsor and Newton)
    H – Holbein

Other watercolor brands can be used, however, I do not have personal experience with them (American Journey, Daler-Rowney, Rembrandt).

These are good fundamental colors for beginning watercolorists. With these basic colors you will be able to mix almost every color you need. Professional grade paints cost more, but give better results. However, student grade paints are less expensive and have the advantage of being a little easier to work with (less likely to stain the paper permanently). I usually recommend that beginning painters purchase student grade paints (for example, Cotman) to start, and then later go to the more expensive professional grade paints.

Paints last a long time, so you can get a lot of paintings out of your first purchase of paints.


You will need a minimum of 2 rounds, one small flat brush and one medium flat brush. A wash or mop brush is also useful. Brushes should specifically say they are made for watercolor or water media. Brushes made for oil painting will not work well with watercolor.

Brushes are one place where you can cut costs. They do not have to be expensive. In fact, some of my favorite brushes are inexpensive ones. If you are trying to minimize your beginning costs, choose synthetic or craft brushes. Just be sure they are very soft. You can get these at most local art stores or any store that carries craft supplies such as Wal-Mart. You can also order supplies online at several online art suppliers.

You will need:

  1. Two round brushes - #4 or #5, and #8 or #10
  2. One small flat brush – approximately Ό”
  3. One large flat brush – Ύ” or 1”
  4. Optional – a wash or mop brush, approximately 1”


Paper is the most important of the materials. Use the best paper you can afford. You should have a minimum of 2 full sheets of 140 lb CP (cold pressed) watercolor paper or a watercolor pad. The standard full sheet size is 22” x 30”. I recommend Arches or Winsor and Newton. Both have excellent “scrubbing” characteristics. Contrary to popular belief, you can make corrections when painting in watercolor, but good quality paper is essential. As a general rule, the cheaper the paper, the less you will be able to correct mistakes.

 Additional miscellaneous required supplies:

  1. Pencil and eraser (#2 pencil is fine)
  2. Watercolor palette with mixing wells (preferably with a lid)
  3. Paper towels
  4. Water container (about 1 quart size)
  5. Imagination is helpful!


  1. Paper support – drawing board, masonite, plexiglass, foam core, or Gator board
  2. Tape to secure paper to board (artists tape or masking tape)
  3. Spray bottle (for re-wetting your palette)

All of these supplies can be purchased online at:

     www.cheapjoes.com www.misterart.com

     www.dickblick.com www.aswexpress.com


    Here is the list of low-cost supplies and the item numbers for purchase at Cheap Joes online.

     I personally use mid/high-range paints (Di Vinci or Winsor & Newton), fairly cheap brushes (some craft brushes, some
     synthetic brushes, a few sable brushes), and high quality paper (Arches).

     Cotman (Student grade) Paints ($2.25 per tube):

              C095 Cadmium Red Hue or Cadmium Red
              C109 Cadmium Yellow Hue or Cadmium Yellow
              C312 Hooker green light
              C502 Permanent Rose
              544 Purple Lake
              C660 Ultramarine Blue
              C074 Burnt Sienna

     Arches Paper:

              017-7003 12 sheets of 10x14 paper - 9.75

     Starving Artist Brushes:

              ST330-75 3/4" flat brush - 6.89
              ST340-4 #4 round - $2.69
              ST340-8 #8 round - $3.49
              ST340-12 #12 round - $4.79


            400 Cheap Joes Palette - $9.15

     MB Misting bottle - $2.59 (You can also get these at Wal-Mart for a little less)
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