From cave painting to finger painting, people have enjoyed the outcome of their handiwork. For those of you that are beginner painters, there are some needed supplies to get you off on the right foot. For watercolor painting, the following is a list of three materials to get you started on creating your masterpiece:

1. PAPER – Paper is probably the most important of all of the materials you will work with. There are five different weights that watercolor paper is divided into. The heavier the paper, the better since it is thicker and wrinkles less. Paper also comes in three different surfaces:
A) Rough – holds color well, is coarse and textured
B) Hotpressed Smooth, shows brushmarks, yet doesn’t always allow for a smooth transition from one color to another.
C) Cold Pressed Most widely used paper. It has a textured surface, and allows for smooth gradations of color.

Keep in mind that paper will wrinkle when wet and larger sheets will wrinkle more than smaller sheets. To prevent wrinkling, mount the paper on a sturdy board with sealing tape on all four sides of the paper.

2. PAINT – Paints are available in an assortment of qualities from beginner to professional. For those just starting out, a beginners box from a craft store should have all the colors you will need. As you progress, it is worth investing in better quality paints. Student paints usually provide a much thinner wash than other watercolor paints.

3.BRUSHES – When shopping for brushes, look for quality, but don’t break the bank getting what you need. Look for softness which indicates that the brush should be able to recover its shape after use. Start with a mixed nylon brush or a brush made from hair. Brushes that are 100% nylon don’t hold enough water and synthetic hair brushes don’t last as long as a quality brush made of natural materials. A few round brushes in either sizes 12, 8, or 2 and a flat brush are good starters. For the more experienced painter, natural hair brushes can be from sable, squirrel, mongoose, or ox ear.

Don’t forget to take care of your brushes and clean them well using water until the brush runs clear. Lay them on a towel to dry and store them upright in a mug or jar so that the brushes retain their shape.

Two great references for watercolor beginners are “Watercolor Basics” by Sue Sareen, and “Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner” by Mark and Mary Willenbrink.

Most craft stores will have a watercolor set for beginners, as well as paper and brushes. You can also purchase art supplies online from:

**Have fun and don’t forget to send us a photo of your finished artwork!**