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Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Watercolor artists need to work quickly sometimes, so they should have everything they need right next to them while working on their painting. So, what materials does a watercolor artist need? Let's check out what materials I use and how much those materials are actually needed!

Watercolor artist's checklist:


For my watercolor paintings, I use two different kinds of paper: Strathmore Watercolor cold press and Arches 100% cotton hot press. The major differences that I noticed are:

- On 100% cotton paper, even when you apply a lot of water -for example for wet on wet method- the paper underneath is not coming out in pieces. But in the other one, I had that problem multiple times.

- On cold press, you see the texture of the paper more, whereas hot press has less tooth

Here are my paintings on both papers. The left one is with hot press Arches paper and the right one is with cold press Strathmore paper.


Although you don't need expensive paint brushes for watercolor, definitely quality matters. You won't be able to get the same results with a $1 brush. There are many kinds and numbers of brushes and they have different uses. For example #2 #9 and #11 round brushes are the most commonly used ones. You can learn more about the brush types and their functions from Fine Art Blog.

This image is taken from:

The watercolor brush set I am using is among the cheapest options and it is a really good quality: Artify 12 PC Paint Brush Set. It includes all the shapes and necessary sizes that is shown above except mop brush. I have been using them for a while now, and I couldn't be happier. For this price, they do an absolutely amazing job! I added a photo of my set below for you.


I have recently started using them and I cannot tell you enough how much they made my painting job easier and more fun! They come in different sizes. I use Chromatek set of 6 and I am really happy about them but if you have any other suggestions, I would like to know as well. Set of 6 is pretty enough and it fulfills all your painting needs. Brush pens give you more control as you hold them like a pencil and when you squeeze the tube you can actually adjust the amount of water you want in the paint. This removes the risk of accidental water drops and dirty water effect on your painting. BUT of course you will need to clean your brush before you switch to another color.


Of course a watercolor artist's checklist needs to include watercolor paint! There are so many brands out there and I am sure they all have their own artist fan base already. Since watercolor allows you to get different tones and colors by just mixing the primary and secondary colors, having a set of 12 should be enough. But if you are a beginner and don't know much about mixing, you can have a set of 24 or 36.

I own two sets and I am really happy about both despite their differences. I have recently compared them and shared it on my YouTube channel if you would like to watch:

Both Winsor & Newton and Kuretake Gansai Tambi sets have really vibrant colors. Their difference lies in two things: Their price and their opaqueness. For professional watercolor artists opaqueness is really important as they would like to add many layers to their painting to add depth. Winsor & Newton Professional watercolor set of 24 is a much more expensive set than Kuretake set of 36. Kuretake also has considerably more paint in the set! They are huge!

Here you see on the left Kuretake Gansai Tambi set of 36 and on the right you see my Winsor & Newton Professional Set of 24.


In order to mix your colors, or arrange the amount of water in your colors, you will need a palette. Winsor & Newton set that I have comes in a tin so I already have a nice tin palette as you can see in the photo above. But I also use a separate plastic palette because I do a lot of mixing! There are many kinds out there but I really prefer the ones that are made of tin and have more room to mix colors.


I use a masking tape in my charcoal drawing as well as it keeps the edges clean and it gives me enough room to hold my drawing. It also creates this beautiful frame effect in watercolor paintings. Most importantly, it helps to keep the paper in place as it tends to bulge after soaking up the water. if it bulges, then it starts pooling the paint and water on the sides which you definitely don't want! The brand I use is Molshine Set of 6 they have colorful tapes which makes my tutorials on my YouTube Channel even more colorful!


In watercolor artist's checklist, number 6 is the masking fluid. Despite its horrible smell, it is really helpful in terms of keeping the white areas clean! But I highly recommend you to not to make the same mistake that I did: Do not buy a white one. There are blue ones and yellow ones out there which makes it easier for you to see where you are applying it to! Mine is Winsor & Newton's white one and although I like its quality, I find it hard to see on my white paper.

There are a few things that you need to know about masking fluid: It will ruin your brush no matter how well you clean it. It dries pretty quickly on your brush. So, make sure you use a cheap disposable one. The second thing is you need to make sure it completely dries before you apply any paint on it and also make sure that you apply a fairly thick layer that covers all the areas you want to keep white. The last thing you need to know is how to remove it in the end. I use an old tooth brush to remove the tip of it and the rest of it comes off easily by just pulling it off!


Using a sponge in the areas that you want to give a fuzzy effect, such as trees, bushes and animal fur or human hair, sponges are really helpful. I just use our kitchen one 🙈 and it works fine! - OF course it needs to be clean. If you don't know how to use sponge in your landscape painting, you can watch the minute: 7:19 in below video.


... goes to a bar one day. HA! Sorry my title just sounded like the beginning of a joke, I couldn't help it.

Anyhow, 2 cups/jars of water will be perfect as you can dip your brush into first one to clean and then dip in the second one to rinse. This will help you to avoid leftover paint in your brush. Also, make sure you change your water when it gets muddy. Because otherwise it will affect your color quality.

A tissue is a great way to correct your mistakes and also soak up the excessive water in your brush. Tissue doesn't leave a residue like cotton does so I find tissue quite helpful in creating clouds or galaxies as well!

Blow dryer decreases your work time half time. Many artists wait until their paint dries as it gives a more natural look when it dries on its own. But if you are filming tutorials like me and you have limited time, then blow dryer really helps! Just make sure you keep enough distance to not to burn your paper or blow your paint in the wrong direction.

I explained 25 tips and techniques, including the use of tissue and blow dryer in my video below if you would like to check it out!

I hope you found this watercolor artist's checklist post helpful! You can get all my real time painting and drawing tutorials on my patreon!:

Let's stay in touch :)

🎵TikTok: @ecegurlerart

Stay with art and love!

Ece Gurler


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