honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

So you want to be a watercolorist?

A friend wants to give his wife a perfect beginners watercolor set and asked for recommendations:

I feel like a pusher giving you your first hit of weed. I'd get a travel set of high-quality watercolors either tube or pans (solid) and some good paper and tear or cut it into smaller sheets instead of a pad. The traditional way to cut watercolor paper is to put a ruler on it and tear the paper against the ruler for a deckle edge - I told you there were a lot of traditions about watercolors - they can get restrictive and silly. The individual pieces of paper let you start another painting while the first one dries. A pad insists that you wait the drying time before you turn the page. Pads are bossy and slow you down. The downside of individual sheets is that they blow away.

Don't get student grade watercolors, the good one's cost about twice as much but they will be what to learn with, they have more pigment and will last longer anyway and you will get good paintings to build up confidence. Also get good paper, not student quality. Arches has a 5-pack that when you cut it up will be about the same price as the cheaper paper.

Repurpose a gallon jug for water and carry a stack of yogurt cups or plastic glasses for water and hit the great out of doors and paint 3 - 5 paintings at a time. Bring some rocks to hold down the paper. A blanket and folding chair is nice to have in your starter kit. If you go to the beach also bring one stick of white oil pastel which makes really good wave foam as a resist to water-colored watercolor wash. It also makes good clouds if you smudge it on white paper then put cobalt blue over it. The oil pastel wave foam and sky techniques are very bad form in watercolor societies so don't say you heard it from me.

Paper: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/0063069000000

Windsor and Newton Travel sets: (note don't get the Cotman series in W&N brand even though they are cheaper) http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/0075288000000

Holbein paint: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/0060571000000

Extra paint: buy a tube of Chinese white and a tube of opera (hot pink - opera is the most amazing color in the world -- I never go anywhere without it.) Also Naples Yellow once changed my life so get a tube of that.

Brushes : The angled ones are the most versatile.
Angled flat brushes: https://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/0072443000000
The rounds including a long liner brush that is most fun to play with:

I'd also add India ink and drawing nibs and pen, however the sketch drawing pens with waterproof ink are good and much less of a mess. The non-waterproof pens are fun too they form a wash when you wet the lines you draw with them.

There you go: Starter Kit by Honoria

Very liberating beginner book: The Creative License by Danny Gregory
Inspiring book: Watercolor bold and free by Lawrence Goldsmith
Get serious book with lots of techniques: Watercolor Class by Michael Crespo
Tags: watercolor

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