Watercolor Painting Starting Kit

This is my recommended watercolor painting starting kit for my students. It may not suit everyone so please check with your teacher for his or her requirements.


Arches Rough, 300gsm, one full sheet 56cm x 76cm, cut into quarters.  Do not skimp on paper, poor quality paper will make it impossible to do good work.


They must come to a nice point when wet.

Round brushes sizes 10,16 and 24. I use NEEF 4750-LP squirrel mix brushes as they have a great point and are not too expensive.


White plastic one with large mixing areas and large paint wells to hold plenty of paint.  A pallet which has narrow small wells for paint will make it difficult for you to get the paint out.  It will also cause more wear and tear on your brushes and will make it harder to keep paint clean.


I use Winsor & Newton Artists quality paint.  It is better to buy a few tubes of artists’ quality paint than lots of student grade (cheaper) ones.  There are many reasons for this. One of the main ones is because your tutor/teacher will not be able to help much with colour mixes because pigments used in artist’s quality paints are almost always different than those in student grade paints.  So if you ask your tutor which colours he used in a particular mix it won’t do you any good as you will be using different paints.  Other reasons for going with artist’s quality paints include purer and more transparent colours, better archival qualities and better handling.

Ideal starting colours for beginners would be

French Ultramarine

Cobalt Blue

Alizarin Crimson

Cadmium Red

Cadmium Orange

Cadmium Yellow Pale


Yellow Ochre

Raw Umber

Burnt Sienna

Cobalt Turquoise

Initially you could make do with

French Ultramarine

Alizarin Crimson


Yellow Ochre

Raw Umber

Burnt Sienna

Miscellaneous Items

Piece of plywood about 5 cm all around wider than a quarter sheet of watercolour paper

Box of cheap plain white tissues

An old hand towel

Spray bottle with a fine mist

Roll of 2.5cm masking tape

Kneadable eraser

Water containers and watercolor desktop easels provided in class.

Happy painting,

Joe Cartwright

Author: Joe

Owner and adminstration of the Painting With Watercolors website and forum. I am a professional watercolor artist, though I also use other mediums including pen and ink. I also enjoy playing with computers and the internet so this website is a bit of a hobby of mine.