Watercolour is one of the most famous and most dispersed art styles in the world. Easy enough for beginners but still intricate enough to offer room for growing and becoming a master, it’s an art style that can produce extremely fine works of art. No matter if you’re trying watercolour yourself or you’d like to help boost your child’s creativity, there are certain things you will need to be able to start painting with watercolours successfully.
Aside from the obvious tutorials and practice, you’ll also need to buy quality visual art equipment. When it comes to watercolours, visual art equipment understands the paint itself, brushes, paper, and all the other little additions to make sure your final works are truly works of art, even from the very beginning. Watercolour is a popular hobby among young and older people alike, so if you’re someone who’d like to pursue it, keep on reading.
The first thing you’ll need to look into is, obviously, paint! Just like with acrylic or oil paints, watercolours also come in a wide variety of shades, styles, models, makes, brands, and so on, so it can be a bit confusing if you’re new to the world of art.
To begin, let’s go over what watercolours actually are. Basically, any watercolour is made out of a mix of ingredients. You have your pigment, which is what gives the colour its, well, colour. Next up, you have a binder mixed in with that pigment to hold it together. Since we’re talking about watercolours, this binder is water-soluble to allow the pigment that watercolour performance.
Then there are also different additives included preserving the mixture’s integrity, alongside preservatives that work toward the mix’s longevity and how good the colour will look when applied to paper, though this is also something that depends on the quality of the pigment.
Now that you know exactly what watercolours are made of it should be easier to choose a set that will suit you best. What you need to look for to find a good set of watercolours is a strong and quality-made pigment across all shades included in your palette and you also need to mind the additions. Nothing that’s too sheer or that causes the paint to crumble when touched or applied will work.
To make sure you’re really getting a well-made set stick to known, artist-approved brands or talk to an art-store employee and ask for a recommendation. Either way, by minding the pigment quality and the additives you can make your own educated guess.
You already have your paints so now it’s time to get somewhere to use them on. Each type of colour used for painting requires its own type of paper. While some perform best on a canvas, for example, others need an art paper that allows for more moisture alongside quick-drying, as well as easy mixing of the colours. Watercolours are one such type that requires this kind of paper.
No matter if you’re using traditional paints in pans or you’re using something like watercolour markers, the right paper is a very necessary thing to have in order to make sure the process of painting as well as the final piece turned out great.
Art papers usually have a number followed by the letters “gsm” on them. This is a very important thing you’ll need to pay attention to. GSM, or grams per square metre, is a measuring unit used for paper to signify the weight and with that the quality of the paper. The higher the GSM, the heavier the paper.
Standard GSM values for watercolour paper are 190, 300, 360, and 638, with 300 being unanimously named as the best, most standard type of watercolour paper out there. It’s easy to work with, holds the pigment well, dries quickly, and will provide optimal results, so look for such paper when getting ready for your watercolour ventures. Later on, you can experiment with different weights, but for a beginner, 300 gsm is just right.
An essential visual arts tool, brushes for each type of paint vary greatly, so don’t be fooled to think that you can use any old brush out there and get optimal results. Since watercolours work with water, the first feature your brush has to have is the ability to hold good amounts of water within its bristles so as to allow you uninterrupted painting. Sure, you’ll have to dip it in the water eventually, but the longer it holds water in itself, the better.
Next up, it will need to have the ability to disperse colour evenly. This is important because watercolours can be tricky to apply, so having a brush that allows for a controlled and even colour flow will make things so much easier. Then, you’ll need to make sure the brushes you’re looking at are going to be able to keep their form no matter how much pressure is applied to them, and finally, for those fine edges, brushes that have a good tip that will hold water in itself and allow for even colour distribution.
This all may sound like too much information, but there are ready-made watercolour brush sets out there that will get you all of these things in all the different sized brushes they have. All you’ll need to do is mind the brand to make sure their quality is up to par. All that will be left is for you to give in to your imagination and start the wonderful journey watercolour can provide.