I'm helping you get started TODAY by sharing the best paint (and other materials!) every beginner needs to get started!
Obviously you need watercolor paints, paper, and a paintbrush, and there is no need to go out and spend a lot of money. As long as you have something to practice with, you can upgrade to higher quality supplies when you're ready! In fact, I painted with my inexpensive $5 paint set for years before buying my professional-grade paints! There's nothing wrong with that! That said, I do recommend investing in professional-grade paints if you're serious about getting into watercolor painting, but we'll get to that later. Here is a link to my Amazon Store with all the supplies I recommend for beginners in one place! There are a few different options of paints within the store depending on what your budget is, so this is a good place to start!
I often get asked what the main difference is between the paints in Pan Sets and Tube Paints. Pan Sets are already dried, compacted watercolor paints that come pre-selected in a palette that make it easy to take them on the go. I like that pan sets take the guesswork out of choosing colors, since sometimes that can be intimidating. The paints are ready to use as soon as you soften them with a little bit of water. I have used the pan sets listed below and love them for getting started if this is the route you choose!
Tube paints are nice because you can build your own palette by choosing from the wide variety of paint colors that are out there. Once they are on your palette and have dried, you simply need to add water to soften them and they're ready to use again. I recommend starting with the primary colors, Red, Yellow, and Blue. If you want to get fancy, get a warm and a cool version of each of the Primary colors for easy mixing! I highly recommend Daniel Smith. The colors are so rich and creamy and mix beautifully. I also love Winsor & Newton - if nothing else, get Opera Rose (pictured below). It is my favorite color for flowers and mixes beautifully with reds and oranges to make beautiful blushes and corals.
Hot vs. Cold Press Paper
The main difference between Hot and Cold Press paper is that Hot Press paper is very smooth, and Cold Press has that classic watercolor paper texture. I recommend Cold Press for beginners! Especially if you want to get those nice color bleeds that are so popular with painting watercolor. You won’t get a nice bleed with Hot Press. As a beginner, the main thing you need to worry about is making sure you get a heavier watercolor paper. It'll be labeled on the front. If it's 140 lb / 300 gsm or heavier, you're good to go! Anything lighter than that and you'll have bubbled, buckled, and warped papers that will just be frustrating to use! I will say, Arches is my favorite brand! I like that I can add lots of water as I paint and it holds up really well!
A good paintbrush will make all the difference! You want a brush that has a nice snap to it because it will be easier to control. I recommend Princeton 4050 Series Round brushes regardless of if you're a beginner or if you're a professional. You can’t really go wrong with any of the Princeton brushes. They're pretty affordable and very high quality! For beginners, I recommend getting a ROUND brush in a medium size. Look for size 8-12! That is a great place to start. For details, get a small round brush, size 0-4. No need to buy lots of shapes and sizes when you’re getting started!
Here is a link to my Amazon Store with all the supplies I recommend for beginners!
I threw a few extra things on there like a watercolor palette if you choose to buy tube paints, and a kneaded eraser if you prefer to sketch on your paper beforehand! I can't wait to see what supplies you end up getting. I'm one of those people who geeks out over art supplies, so if you need anyone to get excited about the supplies you just got, I'm your gal. :)