Starting with Watercolors: Watercolor Supplies with Cindy Briggs
Choosing Watercolor Supplies Starts with Quality Watercolor Paper
Watercolor works best on quality watercolor paper. Students often think they should start out with cheap paper, but this can be a disappointing mistake.
I always encourage using 140# Cold Press Watercolor paper to start; the Fabriano brand is my favorite.
There is a Fabriano Studio pad that is less expensive which I often use in my workshops.
My favorite weight is the 300# Soft Press Fabriano Paper – it’s magical.
Other brands such as Arches, Canson, and Dick Blick are fine to work with – just get the best you can afford.
My Favorite Watercolor Paper and Why
Fabriano is a favorite because it has a coating “sizing” that gives you more time to mingle your colors as the watercolor sits on the surface rather than sink in.
You can start painting right on the paper without any stretching, or tape it down on a non-porous or gator board to avoid wrinkling if you expect to use a lot of water.
I like to use white artists tape around the edge of my painting to give it a nice clean look when I pull off the tape.
Try Alternative Watercolor Supplies
If you want to try watercolor canvas that is prepared for the medium, just know that the paint will easily lift off.
Watercolor boards are fine – I just prefer my paper.
I have used Daniel Smith White Watercolor Ground on the covers of my sketchbooks as a base for watercolors – just make sure that if you aren’t framing with glass that you spray with archival varnish to protect your watercolor painting.
Sunflower with White Artists Tape around it for clean edges.
This is for my upcoming V.I.E.W Sunflower Watercolor Workshop.
More Tips and Tricks to Choosing Watercolor Supplies
I use the same watercolor palette and brush for larger and smaller pieces. I typically use 140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper by Fabriano.
Once I go above 11 x 14 I prefer to use 300 lb. Soft Press Fabriano paper because it is thicker, firmer and stays flat.
It’s a good idea to tape down your paintings on gator board with white artists tape as you paint larger than 8×10+ for a clean edge and to keep the 140# paper flat.