Watercolor Tools

Watercolor Tools

What Tools Do I Need?

You need a lot of watercolor painting materials to paint with this type of paint. Make your choice taking into account skills level. There are basic sets on sale, which include all the necessary things. Here is the watercolor painting supplies list:

  • •    set of watercolor paint;
  • •    brushes;
  • •    drawing paper (notebooks, sketchbooks);
  • •    sharpeners, pencils, etc.

Of course, the most important tool is watercolor paint, but it requires a separate topic. Today we will focus more on watercolor painting materials.

With What to Paint?

Let's talk about brushes first. Brushes are used when painting with watercolor. They should be soft, convenient to pick up water, and also easy to work with on paper. Brushes made of synthetic hair, as well as the ones of squirrels, ponies, and kolinsky hair, possess such qualities. When choosing a brush, you should pay attention to its elasticity – it is complicated to paint with a too soft brush. For some artistic techniques, hard bristle brushes and even household brushes for painting windows are suitable.

After finishing work, the brushes must be washed and squeezed, trying to give the hair bundle the correct shape. The brushes are stored in a pencil case, so that the hair does not touch. During the work, it is convenient to store the brushes in a glass. The brush is not left in a jar of water for a long time, as it may lead to its deterioration. Thus, the hair bun is bent, which is very disturbing during the painting. After the brush dries, the base falls off the shaft, most often at the most inopportune moment. There are also flat and round ones in addition to thick and thin brushes. The base of the flat brush is flattened, and the hair forms a spatula.

Watercolor Brushes

Watercolor Brush is a watercolor tool, namely a pen with a reservoir. It has a dark nap for calligraphy (writing) and shading in watercolor painting. Brush refills with water, ink, dilutes with watercolors, and comes with a tip in the form of a real pointed brush made of dark synthetics. It is also elastic, holds its shape perfectly, and does not flake off. You can use the brush for fine, precise lines or harsh strokes, or to fill large areas of your work.

The brush itself is made of high-quality synthetic fibers impregnated with silicone. That also ensures the flexibility of the brush in work, without pile delamination. These are the smallest and most compact reservoir brushes. That is why they are the most comfortable on the road.

The watercolor tool can be disassembled into two parts. A can of water is closed with a stopper that comes with the kit. Also, the supply of water, paint, or ink runs smoothly and without leaks. The thickness of the lines depends on the pressure on the brush. Used for calligraphy (writing) and watercolor shading. Such watercolor tools are suitable for both quick sketching and finishing touches. It is ideal for illustrations, small details, and Chinese, Korean and Japanese calligraphy.

Watercolor Tools: Aids

  • •    SPONGE. It is an excellent tool for applying or, conversely, collecting water. Also, the sponge can be used as a stamp.
  • •    WATER TANK. Since painting with watercolors means painting with tinted water, the container for liquid should be large. The larger the container, the less often you have to change the water. It is better to have two cans of water: one for washing the brush and one for adding to paint.
  • •    BRUSH CLOTH. That can be either a clean rag or a piece of soft cotton cloth or non-woven cloth. In any case, its purpose is to absorb water well.

On What to Paint?

Use the appropriate watercolor paper to paint. Do not try to save money and draw on, say, office paper for printers - you will never get a decent result. Watercolor paper is made from cotton or wood pulp, and it also comes in different thicknesses (or weights), textures, and sizes. You need a paper that can hold the pigments of the paint on its surface.

Great color strokes are produced on cotton paper because the material absorbs ink well. Wood pulp paper is cheaper, but it absorbs more water than cotton paper. For beginners, it is better to use cellulose paper with which one can erase your erroneous strokes. Ultimately, you will choose the type of paper you like best.

Watercolor Paper

The dimensions of a sheet of paper are measured in metric units. You can also buy a roll of watercolor paper. Naturally, these dimensions are used rarely, only for special jobs. You can also buy smaller sheets of paper, which are usually sold bundled into blocks or albums. The latter consists of several sheets of paper glued together along the edge, which form a hard spine. Such watercolor painting materials are ideal for painting. Besides, the small gap between the glued sheets allows you to easily separate the sheets from the album, using a paper-knife.

So, you can, either purchase large sheets of paper and cut them into pieces of the size you want or buy an album or a pack of watercolor paper. The weight of paper is measured in pounds (lb). If you buy thicker paper, it is less likely to warp when wet, and it will hold more water. For a start, you should buy paper with a density of 140 lb. There are three main types of surface textures: hot-pressed (HP) paper, which has a smooth surface; cold-pressed paper (that is, not hot-pressed). Its surface is average in roughness between HP and rough paper, the name of which speaks for itself.

Watercolor Table

Easel for watercolor is a good idea for making a stationary place for the artist, at which he can comfortably sit and work, and immediately store all the materials, as follows. You can paint with any type of paint on it, although it is called a watercolor table. In addition to the fact that you can change the angle of inclination of the board, you can organize the storage of materials and tools as well. Everything is at hand, and nothing is lying around. It is a good option for apartments in which it is impossible to allocate a separate room for the artist.


  • •    compact workplace for an apartment;
  • •    you can work while sitting;
  • •    a good solution for children.


  • •    no mobility;
  • •    only small formats.

Empty Watercolor Pans

A pan is a small plastic container for storing watercolor paint. It comes in different sizes, but the most common are pans and half-pans. If you have empty watercolor half pans left from the set of watercolors, do not rush to throw it away! The empty half pan can be filled with watercolors almost indefinitely. On free sale, both sets of pans are sold in packages, and ready-made boxes with cuvettes included.

Empty half pans made of quality white plastic are used for filling with watercolors from tubes. You can create your watercolor paint palette, and independently decide how to fill them – in whole or in part. The empty half pans are shaped to fit into most plastic or metal watercolor cases. Basic properties:

  • •    The pans fit all standard watercolor pencil cases;
  • •    10 pieces in a set;
  • •    Capacity approximately 3 ml.

One can combine paint from different containers such as tubes and pans in empty watercolor pans. Also, empty pans can be used to create new mixtures of paints and their further storage.

How to Choose a Watercolor Paint Palette?

First, there is no perfect palette for everyone. Each artist selects it for himself – for his style of painting (in the studio or the open air), for the number of colors that he uses, and for individual preferences. Unfortunately, you probably won't immediately find the "right" watercolor paint palette, but experiments are the most interesting! There are four popular types of palettes:

  • •    plastic watercolor boxes;
  • •    metal watercolor boxes;
  • •    plastic palettes;
  • •    ceramic palettes.

Plastic Palettes

Plastic palettes are suitable for watercolors in tubes – the inner space of the palette is divided into cells, each of which is filled with paint. There is a great variety of plastic palettes – from small 16 colors to studio palettes 55 colors. Some of the palettes have a lid that allows you to take them with you, some don't.


  • •    easy to draw paint;
  • •    have large areas for mixing watercolor;
  • •    colors are visible;
  • •    low price.


  • •    colors cannot be moved or deleted;
  • •    plastic is painted from watercolors;
  • •    paint often rolls into drops when mixed on plastic.

Ceramic Palettes

The paint lays on them in an even layer and can be easily erased with a damp cloth or napkin. Such a palette will last a lifetime, unless, of course, you break it. Most often, ceramic palettes are just for mixing – most are like daisies with multiple indentations in which to mix watercolor.


  • •    durable;
  • •    does not stain;
  • •    easy to clean;
  • •    ideal for mixing;
  • •    paint does not drip.


  • •    heavy, complicated to transport;
  • •    fragile;
  • •    can be quite expensive.

Watercolor Boxes

Most student watercolors are sold in plastic boxes. Plastic boxes are cheap and compact. There are grooves inside the boxes, into which small plastic containers – empty watercolor pans, are inserted. The cuvettes come in two sizes – full (about 3 ml) and halves (about 1.5 ml). It doesn't matter if you buy a filled or empty watercolor box – all the cuvettes can be swapped, transferred to other boxes, refilled with paint from tubes. Some artists especially like using tube paint because it has a richer color.

Metal boxes for watercolors are essentially the same plastic boxes, simply made of enameled metal. With such a box, you can also insert watercolor empty pans there. If you have watercolors in tubes, then you just need to purchase empty pans and half pans and pour paint into them yourself. Many artists prefer these boxes over plastic ones, as they like to mix paints on enamel rather than on plastic. However, metal palettes can also stain from the pigments in watercolors or even rust if the enamel peels off.


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