Are you a painter? Looking to get started? 

Here’s what I recommend:

Recommended Watercolor Supplies 

Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Bare Necessities

Not sure if watercolor is for you? These are a good place to start without a major investment in materials. 🙂 

Of all my entry-level brushes, this Loew Cornell Round set is what I turn to most often.

Masking Fluid protects your paper from watercolor pigment by creating a temporary waterproof surface. Mask the area you’d like to preserve, paint, then remove the masking fluid after the paint is dry.

This Plastic Paint Palette would work for you if you are just trying watercolor out. It has a lot of room to mix, a variety of wells, and a reasonable price tag.

This isn’t a typical tool for watercolor, but if you plan on taking any classes here you’ll want to pick one of these bad boys up.

This Sakura Koi 24 Pan Field Sketch Kit is the perfect way to see if you like watercolor. The paint quality is the best you can find at this price point and the kit itself is incredible. It comes with pretty much everything you need all in one.

This Fabriano 9×12 Watercolor Pad is a nice entry point for watercolor.  It’s 50 sheets of 140lb paper so it’ll resist buckling and the pad lasts forever. It also comes in cold press if you want a little more texture.

Helpful Extras

So you’re digging this watercolor thing and you want to make your process just a teensy bit easier, here’s the place to start. 

An Art Board is useful because you can tape your paper to it to prevent buckling. If I’m ever going to wet a large area of paper I will always use an art board or pre-stretch my paper.

If you get an art board you’ll want to tape your paper down and masking tape is the to go. Masking tape will hold your paper down without tearing it up when gently removed.

If you’re more serious about watercolor you’ll definitely want a ceramic or porcelain palette because the paint won’t bead and is easier to mix. You can find these on Amazon, but Jerry’s Artarama has them at half the cost if you have a local Jerry’s.

An eye-dropper? Really? Yes, really, lol. This will make re-wetting your paint pans and palettes a breeze. Trust me.

Personal Faves

I use all of these pretty much every time I paint. 🙂 

If you’ll be using my tracing patterns you’ll definitely want to pick up a light box. This Huion L4S Light Box is my favorite. It’s thin and it’s LEDs are super bright.

If you find yourself using a lot of masking fluid, this rubber cement eraser will help pick up the dried fluid after you’re done painting. It’s really great to prevent smudging paint.

If you’ve spent any time on this site, you know I LOVE outlining. If you like that graphic style too, these Pitt Pens will offer you a little more variety in line weight than the dual-end sharpie.

This artists water jar is special because it has a grate at the bottom to help dislodge any pigment from your brush when switching colors. I have two and just love them!

Fun Extras

I don’t always use these, but they’re nice to have on hand if I want to add a little something extra to a piece. 

A spray bottle and drinking straw are great for creating special effects.

Iridescent Acrylic Ink is a great way to add pop to a painting! Best applied with a Fountain Pen.

I like outlining my art with Alcohol Based Markers to really make the colors pop (and also to hide wobbly lines).

Shimmer mist adds iridescent particles to a large area and can create some really fun effects, especially when used with stencils.

I have absolutely fallen in love with Lukas Watercolors. The pigment is so rich and the colors are just so lovely. I think the 48, 1/2 pan set was overkill now that I’ve been painting a few years, but it is nice not to have to mix much to get the perfect color.

These Mimik synthetic squirrel brushes are my favorite so far. I find the 8 round doing the majority of the work for me. It keeps a fine point, holds pigment well, and has enough snap to maintain control, but is not too firm. Such a versatile brush.

The Princeton Neptune brushes are my second runner up for brushes. This one doesn’t produce quite so fine a point as the Mimik brand, but it’s another great brush that distributes pigment evenly without dumping it all out front like most synthetic brushes.

The Creative Mark Mimik Kolinsky brush is great if you want a really soft, loose painting. There’s hardly any snap at all and it produces a much more organic feel.

Using marker with watercolor is a little unusual, but getting more and more common. If you’re going to use marker be sure to get alcohol-based markers as they’re not water soluble and won’t bleed if they get wet.

I just love this Pitt Pen set! I’ve bought it 5 times over the years because it’s just that good. I use the brush pens more for calligraphy, but they’re all great pens if you want to add some ink to your paintings.

If you want to add highlights without masking fluid, these Gelly Roll pens are perfect. They’re not quite opaque, so you will see some color come through – but the fine point is great for details.

Finding a good water brush is harder than you’d think. What I like about this Pentel Aquash set is you only have to apply very light pressure to add water to the brush.


This white India Ink Pitt pen is fantastic for adding highlights to your painting. It’s much more opaque than the gelly pens and applies evenly.

Even though I love my Faber Castell set like this, I’ve got to say, my Micron Pens last significantly longer. If you don’t use ink very often, I’d invest in this set.

Having a heat tool is an essential. Heat tools deliver hot air gently so the paint dries quickly without flying all over your paper. I like this one in particular because it offers a cooler heat setting.

For a long time I skimped on paper. I bought good paints and good brushes and my art suffered because I didn’t invest in the foundation. Arches is all I paint on these days and it has made such a huge difference in my art.