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Recommended watercolour materials and equipment

My recommendations here are for good quality materials that aren’t overly pricey!  I use the Jackson’s website for materials but although Art discount, Great Art, Ken Bromley or others cheaper for some items.  Local supplies in Cardiff can be found at The Range on the Newport Road and Hobbycraft, by the Cardiff City stadium.



Quarter imperial sheets, A4 or A3 are all suitable sizes

Rough or NOT (medium) are preferable to Hot pressed (smooth) sheets

140lb or 300g paper is thick enough not to buckle

Watercolour blocks are preferable to pads because the sheets are gummed down and so wont buckle so much when wet.


Jackson’s and other retailers stock these Fabriano“practice paper” loose sheet packs which are very good


Bockingford paper is very good too, but a bit more expensive.



Cotman from Windsor and Newton is  good as is Jackson’s own brand.  They come in 21 ml tubes although Jasksons’ prices can vary according to the colour.


I would recommend these colours, but add any others you have already.  You can begin with the first five colours and then build on your palette as you go along.

Ultramarine blue

Burnt Umber (Brown)

Alizarine crimson (Deep red)

Lemon yellow

Cadmium red (orange leaning)

Payne’s grey (blue tint)

Viridian green

Yellow ochre

Raw umber (greenish brown)



Many brushes are now synthetic or mixed.  I’ve been using brushes from the Jackson’s ICON range which are good.

A mixture of flat and round brushes would be good, in a range of sizes. Larger brushes are important for laying smooth areas of colour and wetting areas of the paper and smaller ones for line work.



Most flat, white plastic or porcelain receptacles can be used.  Purpose made watercolour palettes are inexpensive.  Small porcelain ramekins, or the like, are excellent for dissolving larger quantities of paint.


Boards, clips and gummed paper

If you have loose sheets of fairly robust (300g) paper you can clip it on to a small lightweight board and it will remain flat enough.  If you intend to wet the paper a lot you will have to soak it and stick it on to the board with gummed paper (I’ll show you how)


Water, rags and sponges

You’ll need plenty of water, rags to dry your brushes and soak up liquid.  Sponges are always useful



An adjustable table easel is useful when you want to tilt up your painting although thick books will do.

A hairdryer will speed up drying times for the impatient.

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