Watercolor Must-Haves: Starter Supplies for Beginners

What do you need to buy to start working with watercolor? Is expensive paper necessary for watercolor painting? Can you achieve similar results with affordable watercolors and school brushes? Is a substantial investment required to begin with this technique?

Well, people have different ideas about what you really need to kickstart this technique. We're here to clear up all those doubts in this unit so you can see that It's not as tricky or pricey as you might think, so you can totally start painting today!


Basic Materials



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What are the best watercolors for beginners?

If you're just getting started, a small set of inexpensive watercolors like Van Gogh or Winsor and Newton Cotman in tablet form is a solid choice. Steer clear of school watercolors—they don't match up to artist-grade quality.

Alternatively, you can snag an empty box to arrange your watercolor pans and create your own palette. As for basic colors, consider:

RED - Permanent Alizarin, Scarlet lake

BLUE - PrussianCeruleanUltramarine

YELLOW - Cadmium Yellow





Mixing these basic colors will give you an awesome range of interesting tones. Skip white watercolor; for adding light, mix water instead.

To highlight, use gouache, gel pen, prismacolor white color, white acrylic, or simply leave sections of the paper unpainted.


Our Favorite Watercolor Brands:




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Selecting the Right Brushes for Watercolor Painting

To start your watercolor journey, it's crucial to have a variety of brushes at your disposal. Here's a guide to help you choose the right ones for different aspects of your artwork:

Begin with 3 brushes in varying sizes (e.g., #10, #2, #0). The round tip brush is the most versatile option, allowing for precise strokes. Alternatively, consider calligraphic brushes, like the Van Gogh brand number 8, which enables both delicate and bold strokes.

For intricate details, a fine brush is essential. Sizes like 00 or even 00000 will serve this purpose perfectly.

Don't overlook a flat brush, approximately size 18, which is excellent for applying smooth washes of color.

When it comes to the bristle material, it's a matter of your budget. Brushes should be soft, flexible, and equipped with a comfortable handle. Natural bristles offer top-notch performance, but synthetic bristles are also suitable, particularly for beginners.

Regardless of the bristle type, ensure that the brush is designed explicitly for watercolor techniques. This design factor guarantees efficient water absorption. Otherwise, you'll find yourself frequently reloading the brush with water and paint, disrupting your workflow.

  • Tip:

After each use, clean your brushes with gentle, neutral soap.

To maintain a sharp brush tip, thoroughly clean it after washing. For an extra touch, you can gently shape the brush with your saliva.

  • Brush Brands Recommended by Our Team:

Our team members have tested and recommend the following brush brands for watercolor painting:

Winsor & Newton Brushes

Da Vinci




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Picking the Right Paper for Your Watercolor Art

Just like watercolor paints, you've got a bunch of paper options to choose from, each with different brands and qualities. When you're starting with watercolors, it's smart to go for watercolor paper or mixed media paper. These kinds of paper are designed to handle water without getting all wonky and warped when they get wet from your painting.

If you're just starting out, the Canson brand is a solid pick. They offer lots of different types of paper and weights that won't break the bank. Another option to consider is the Fabriano Watercolour paper, which comes in a 300-gram variety.

As you get better, you might want to play around with different paper textures and qualities to find what vibes with your style and makes your art even cooler.

Sometimes you might want to try out new techniques or play with cool effects, so having some more affordable watercolor paper on hand can be handy. But if you're crafting something really special or intricate, you might want to splurge on some fancier paper.

When you're looking at paper, aim for a weight of at least 220 grams. The heavier the paper, the better it can handle being soaked with water and all that moving around.

And don't forget this key point: go for acid-free paper. Regular papers with acid bleaches will get messed up over time and mess with how awesome your artwork stays.

  • Paper Brands Highly Recommended:



Canson XL

Canson Montval

Winsor & Newton Cotman paper




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. Water Containers

Grab a couple of glass jars or metal containers. Bigger ones are better because you won't have to keep changing the water all the time.

Container 1

Use this to clean your brush when you want to switch colors.

Container 2

Keep this one filled with clean water to use as a base for your washes. It stops your artwork from getting messed up.

5. Paint Palette

You've got options like plastic, metal, ceramic, or porcelain for your palette. Ceramic or porcelain are super cool choices. Or, guess what? The lid of your watercolor set can work as a palette too.

  • Tip:

You don't have to stress about cleaning your palette right away. Even if your watercolor paint dries up, you can make it work again by adding a few drops of water. Then you can just keep on painting like a boss!

6. Pencils

When sketching on standard paper or tracing a stencil, an HB pencil does the job. For tracing with a backlit window or light table method, lean towards a harder pencil like H or F.

7. Eraser

Choose a soft gum eraser or even a kneaded eraser to smudge out your blunders and gently fade pencil marks.

8. Masking Liquid

This latex-based stuff is a lifesaver for blocking off parts you want to keep color-free or safeguarding white areas.

Spread it using a brush just for this job. There are all sorts of masking liquid brands out there. We reckon you could give Schmincke a shot.

9. Napkin, Towel

When painting, having a disposable kitchen napkintowel, or rag is vital for drying your brush after cleaning or removing excess water before painting.

10. White Sheets or Sketch Pad

You'll need plain paper sheets for sketching. Go for 80gsm printing paper.

  • Tip:

Don't toss any watercolor paper scraps. Keeping one beside your palette lets you test colors before applying them to your artwork.

11. Plywood

Stick your watercolor paper onto a thin plywood board before you dive into painting, or simply anchor it to a table to prevent any weird bending when it gets wet.

12. Paper Tape or Masking Tape

This tape is your go-to for sticking the paper onto your plywood or table. It's got enough stickiness to keep things in place without wrecking your paper.

  • Tip:

If the paper tape feels a bit too stuck and you're worried about your paper, just blow some warm air from a hair dryeron it. It'll help to gently loosen up the glue and make it easier to take off.

  • Bonus Tip:

Want to try out different stuff like paper, quality, and brands without blowing your budget? Link up with a friend who's also into watercolors. You can trade paper types, experiment with each other's paints, and see how each other's brushes feel.


13. LED light pad:

If you're diving into the world of watercolor, you'll find this LED light pad super handy for transferring your sketches or templates onto paper. It's a fantastic tool to have, but don't worry if you're just getting started – you can totally get by without it. You can easily transfer your templates to paper by propping them against a bright window or placing a lamp beneath a glass table (that's how I started, too!). For more tips on how to transfer your awesome drawings onto watercolor paper, check out this article.


Watercolor basic materials checklist


Now you're all set with your materials to start painting!

But... what should you paint exactly?

At Iperartika, we're here to help you overcome the fear of the blank page and take away the pressure of creating a masterpiece. Check out our templates designed for relaxation and enjoyable painting.

Now you are all set with your materials to start painting!

But... What exactly should you paint?

In Iperartika, we help you lose your fear of the blank page and take away the pressure of having to make a masterpiece from fear of "ruining" a drawing that took you hours to draw.

Here, you can download templates that are specially designed for you to relax and have fun painting.


If you liked this post, share it with a creative friend!


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Share your painted work by sending us a photo to our e-mail address: hello@iperartika.com or tag us on Instagram @iperartika. We will share your photo on our Inspiration page

Tell us what medium or paper you used for coloring or if you want any extra details such as what music you listened to while you were painting, what tea you drank or to whom you were thinking of giving the artwork as a giftWe are looking forward to see your art work :D 

Do you have any other questions? Do not hesitate to contact us at hello@iperartika.com

Let's keep creating!


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1 comment

Very useful info. Thank you.👍🏾❤️

Diane Harris

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