Watercolor Fundamentals and Supply List 2021

ON-LINE instructions & Watercolor Fundamental Supplies List  

Build your watercolor skills with confidence through ON-LINE instruction, demonstrations and hands on experience. Learn the fundamentals and properties of watercolor to achieve desired results. This workshop is designed for both students new to watercolor and those who have some experience and supplies and would like a review of watercolor fundamentals.

If you have not heard of or used Zoom, or if you want some extra info about using the program, Click these links for much more information.

Watercolor Fundamental Supply list:

This list may look long for those without watercolor supplies. At a minimum, if available, buy one big (22″x30″) sheet of good paper, one #12 round brush, and bring the other common items you have day one. (I would rather you not spend money on inferior paints and palettes.  We will discuss all these watercolor supplies, different terms, and their differences in class. You can make a shopping list to purchase items locally or online for the next class. If you have any questions contact me using this form


You needn’t buy the most expensive art equipment but it is essential that you buy good quality supplies. Inferior quality supplies are a recipe for frustration and marginal results.  For best results, good paper is most important, followed by a good brush, then paint. All brand names listed below are recommended for those buying watercolor supplies for the first time.   See the end of this list for some idea where to buy supplies.
For those who already own some watercolor supplies, please use this list to review what you have and to fill in any supply gaps.

Here is a summary list:

  • (1 or 2) 22×30” watercolor paper sheets, Arches 140lb Cold Press, recommended
    if full sheets are not available, WC tablets or blocks are good. See below.
  • #12 or #10 round watercolor brush (synthetic or synthetic blend)
  • See below: (6) colors of watercolor paint (1 warm and 1 cool of each Yellow, Red, and Blue).
  • Palette with cover
  • One – 1pt or larger water containers (Preferably plastic to avoid breakage)
  • Pencil
  • Large soft white or kneaded eraser, not a pink pearl
  • Sponge: a small inexpensive grocery store sponge or old terry cloth rag
  • Small spritzer bottle for water. See travel sections at Target, Walgreen’s etc.
  • Paper towel: Viva brand is recommended for its strength.
  • 12×16” Support board: Some waterproof surface to paint on
  • Note pad: to take notes
  • Sketch pad optional
  • Camera optional
  • Brush carrier, canvas or bamboo (protects brushes tips) optional
  • There is a chance you might get watercolors on your cloths. Wear something appropriate.


Paper comes in a combination of three characteristics:  weight, surface texture and size. Quality watercolor is made from 100% cotton, not wood fibers!

I suggest, if available:  Arches brand or equal, 140-lb (140 pound) Cold Press, either bright white or natural (no significant difference), 22” x 30” sheet. $8-$12/sheet. Hobby Lobby sells it in Duluth. You can also buy Arches brand or Kilimanjaro (Cheap Joe’s Brand) paper in tablets or blocks (Other brands Saunders Waterford, Fabriano Artistico, must be 100% cotton). Tablets are expensive to start with. We will rip larger sheets into smaller sizes. Avoid Strathmore 300 watercolor paper (yellow cover tablets, made of wood not cotton). It is very difficult to get desired results with this paper (more on that when we are together).


Choose only brushes designated for watercolor. They are softer and made to hold water. Generally they have shorter handles than oil and acrylic brushes. No camel or bristle brushes.
Sizes and shapes recommended:
A good brush to start with is a #12 or #10 round, synthetic or synthetic blend brush. It will run about $8 – $11 (not readily available in Duluth). Avoid the inexpensive, student brushes. Optional additional brushes are: #10, #6, #0, ½” flat and 1” flat. If we meet in person you may try mine or others willing to share their brushes to see if you like them before you buy.
Suggested brands:  Robert Simmons Sienna, Jack Richeson Series 9000, Robert Simmons White Sable (synthetic) Silver Black Velvet rounds.

Watercolor Paint
You will see a big difference in price for watercolor paints. The less expensive paints are student grade paints. They have less pigment and more filler. Common student brands include Cotman Series by Windsor & Newton, Grumbacher Academy Watercolors, and Van Gogh. Others brands include Yarka, and Prang, etc. These paints are acceptable but if you get serious you will eventually replace student grade with Professional grade paints which are more than double the price. Pro Brands include Windsor & Newton Professional (most available in Duluth), M. Graham, Daniel Smith, Holbine, and many more (available at online stores). You will find both grades of paints in tubes and pans or cakes. Both are good to use but I prefer tubes.

Recommended Colors: (If we paint in person, I will have these 6 colors available for you to use the 1st night)
I suggest starting with ONE warm and ONE cool of each primary color (Yellow, Red, and Blue). We will discuss Warm and Cool if this is not clear.

  1. Cool Yellow (yellow with a hint of green): Aurolin or a Lemon Yellow
  2. Warm Yellow (hint of orange): New Gamboge or WN Yellow Deep or Indian Yellow
  3. Cool Red (touch of violet): Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  4. Warm Red (touch of orange): Vermilion Red, Scarlet Lake or Cadmium Red
  5. Cool Blue (touch of green): Antwerp, or Prussian Blue
  6. Warm Blue: French Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue

* Other optional colors you might already have and will buy eventually:
Dark Orange: Burnt Sienna
Darker Yellow (more neutral): Yellow Ocher or Raw Sienna or Quin Gold
Dark Cool Blue (touch of green): Indigo or Paynes Gray
Light Cool Blue: Cerulean or Manganese blue
Brown: Burnt Umber or Raw Umber
Green: Sap green or Hookers Green or Viridian green
Near Black: Neutral Tint or Indigo or Payne’s grey

Palette I use a John Pike palette.
There are many types of acceptable palettes. Make sure your palette has a fairly large mixing area and a cover! Most good ones have 20-30 paint wells around the sides. During class you can use a white plate if you haven’t yet bought a palette. You probably WON’T find many choices of full size covered palettes in Duluth.
Where to buy your art supplies
Most of these items are all available locally at Michael’s, UMD bookstore, Hobby Lobby all in Duluth. In the Twin Cities, try Wet Paint, Blick and others.
There are many online resources for art supplies:
Cheap Joes.com   Daniel Smith   Dick Blick   Jerry’s Artarama
Amazon has some supplies, especially paper pads and blocks, and their prices are competitive.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate contact me here.