Thank you to everyone for your generosity during Spring2Action! We’ve broken our record with over $48,000 raised this year!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Watercolor – Right from the Start Supplies

This kit of supplies is available for purchase here, and can be shipped for a fee, or picked up curbside. The kit includes the underlined items. Items in bold are in stock at The Art League Store.

Please indicate in the notes section of your order if you would like to schedule curbside pick-up, or if you need your kit mailed to you.

Please contact us at if you would like to purchase a selection of items different than the kit.

Note from instructor:

Dear students,

If you are starting out in watercolor, acquiring supplies for a watercolor class inevitably requires a fair outlay of money.  Keep in mind, however, that good quality supplies are an investment in your success–it is not fair to hobble yourself as a beginning painter with materials that are going to give you trouble.  Many of the supplies listed are available at the Art League Supply Store; these are indicated in bold.  The specific manufacturers and variety for paper, brushes and tubes of paint have been chosen very carefully.  PLEASE BEWARE OF SUBSTITUTIONS!  Paints with the same name but put out by different manufacturers can be very different.  If you already have paints and are wondering if they will be okay in class, send me a list of what you have and I’ll be happy to go over them with you.

–Rachel C.

Watercolor paints in tubes:  CHOOSE ONE FOR EACH COLOR LISTED.  Please be sure that you are buying watercolor paints and not “gouache” or “opaque watercolor”, which are not the same thing as watercolor, which is transparent paint.

Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith and DaVinci are artist-grade paints.  Winsor & Newton, DaVinci and Daniel Smith paints are available from the Art League store; Van Gogh, Academy and Cotman are student lines of paints of acceptable quality for the colors given.

Phthalo Blue (CHOOSE ONE)

Daniel Smith Phthalo Blue Green Shade

Winsor & Newton Winsor Blue, green shade

DaVinci Phthalo Blue

VanGogh Phthalo Blue

Academy Thalo Blue

Cotman Intense Blue

warm yellow (CHOOSE ONE)

 Daniel Smith New Gamboge

 DaVinci Gamboge Hue

 VanGogh Azo Yellow Deep

 VanGogh Gamboge

 Academy Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue

Ultramarine Blue (CHOOSE ONE)

Winsor & Newton French Ultramarine

Daniel Smith Ultramarine Blue

DaVinci Ultramarine Blue

VanGogh Ultramarine Deep

Academy Ultramarine Blue

cool yellow (CHOOSE ONE)

Daniel Smith Lemon Yellow

Winsor & Newton Winsor Lemon (AVOID W & N Lemon Yellow)

 DaVinci Hansa Yellow Light

 Cotman Lemon Yellow Hue

Academy Lemon Yellow

warm red (CHOOSE ONE)

Winsor & Newton Scarlet Lake

DaVinci Permanent Red

VanGogh Permanent Red Light

Daniel Smith Organic Vermilion

Burnt Sienna (CHOOSE ONE)

 Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna

 DaVinci Burnt Sienna

 Academy Burnt Sienna

 VanGogh Burnt Sienna

Cotman Burnt Sienna

Daniel Smith Burnt Sienna

cool red (CHOOSE ONE)

Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose

Daniel Smith Quinacridone Rose

DaVinci Red Rose Deep

(Cotman permanent rose is not good)

Burnt Umber (CHOOSE ONE)

Winsor & Newton Burnt Umber

 DaVinci Burnt Umber

 Cotman Burnt Umber

 Academy Burnt Umber

Daniel Smith Burnt Umber

BRUSHES (a good brush holds its point well, has good spring, and holds a lot of water)

Acceptable: Robert Simmons rounds #4, #8, #12 or something close to that (small, medium and large)

DaVinci Cosmotop Spin Mottler wash brush size 30 or other 1-inch flat brush

Watercolor brushes usually have shorter handles and softer hair than acrylic or oil brushes and are available in a variety of price ranges.  Although the best quality natural hair brushes are much prized, a good synthetic brush is better than a mediocre natural hair brush, and considerably less expensive.  My current favorite round brush:  the Stephen Quiller watercolor brushes.  I have other suggestions as well for very good reasonably priced brushes which I am happy to share in class or by email.


3-4 sheets Arches 140 lb cold press 100% cotton watercolor paper

John Pike palette or other large white plastic watercolor palette with lid

Clips or low tack tape to hold your paper on the board (if you don’t stretch the paper) – drafting tape (as opposed to blue or green painters tape) is best because it is a neutral color

Pencil (#2, HB or B)

Kneaded eraser

Cellulose kitchen sponge (for controlling the water in your brush)

Natural sponge (for wetting large areas when painting) or a really soft synthetic sponge

Small spray bottle (an adjustable trigger-style sprayer is better than the push down variety that makes a fine mist)

Sketch book 9” x 12” or 11” x 14” (inexpensive lightweight paper, even printer paper, is fine here, but not newsprint)

Paper towels

at least 2 good-sized water containers that don’t tip easily

Supplies for stretching paper: (these supplies can wait until after the first class)

board measuring 16” x 24” or 18” x 24” on which to stretch watercolor paper.  The best option is the “Incredible Art Board”.  You may also choose ¼ inch plywood, sold at Home Depot and Lowes, but it is a lot heavier.  The store will usually cut it for you from a piece 24” x 24”, but the edges will need to be sanded.  Do NOT purchase a regular hardboard drawing board with clips attached; it won’t work.

Desk stapler if you are using the “Incredible Art Board” or other gatorboard as your board on which to stretch paper; a light duty staple gun and appropriate staples for the staple gun will be necessary or stretching paper if you are using plywood as your board.

single edge razor blade or x-acto knife (for removing finished paintings from board if paper has been stretched)


Any paints you have; at least one tube

Palette (see supply list)

Brushes (see supply list)

Several small to medium-sized pieces of watercolor paper–one of the full-size sheets of 140lb. Arches cold press paper cut into quarters — see supply list

Paper towels

Sketchbook, pencils, kneaded eraser