Basic Watercolor Supplies for Beginners
from the Learn to Watercolor Index
H series pencils are hard and B series pencils are soft. A hard lead art pencil, like a 2H, is a good choice for lightly sketching your picture before you add the watercolor paint. If you don't have an art pencil, the #2 pencil from your pencil box will work just fine.
Different brushes give different results. If you are just getting started and want to see if you even like watercolors, you can purchase a medium-sized round brush and work on a small scale - little pictures. Nylon bristles brushes are work well, and offer an inexpensive introducing to watercolor painting. If you like watercolor painting you can consider a sable or sable blend brush later. Sometimes you won't be using your brush at all. Your old toothbrush will create great splattering effects, and sponges and rags will work nicely for dabbing.
Reeves or Prang (available in the MAF! Studio Store) watercolor sets are perfect for your first experience with watercolor painting. They provide rich and wonderfully satisfying color at an economical price. If you're used to the five-and-dime store variety, you'll be surprised at the vibrancy of these paints.
You can purchase a paint pallet if you would like to, though a plastic coated paper plate will work perfectly.
Watercolor paper is a special kind of paper that is extra thick and can take all the soaking it can get. A 140lb textured paper is recommended for almost everything you'll ever want to paint. You can find what you need at craft stores, art supply stores, and in the MAF! Studio Store.
You'll need two cups of water every time you paint. One for cleaning your brush, and one for wetting and mixing the watercolor paints.
You'll need a paper towel to blot your brush after you rinse it, or help you manage watercolor washes that got a little too drippy!