Starting Out
Hints & Tips
Art Forum
Contact Me

Don't spend too much initially

If you’re thinking about having a go at watercolours but are concerned about the potential costs of starting a new hobby, then don’t be.

Artists are unanimous in their opinion that the more you spend on materials, the better will be the end result. This is true. There is nothing nicer than painting with high quality brushes, using professional grade paints on luxurious high grade paper. Artists in my forum often tell beginners that they should buy the best materials they can afford. This isn’t bad advice but, in my opinion, shouldn’t be applied to absolute novices who don’t know yet whether they’re going to enjoy painting.

Dipping your toe in the water isn’t expensive, in fact, it can be one of the cheapest hobbies to pursue. Let’s look at what you really need to make those initial exploratory paintings.

A very basic set of inexpensive watercolour paints will contain about 12 colours, and from those 12 basic colours, every other colour can be mixed. It really is all you need. Likewise, it isn’t necessary to have a large array of brushes. Just 2 or 3 is all that’s needed. Something like a very thin round brush, a medium thickness round brush and a 1” wide flat brush is adequate in the beginning. Paper is slightly more complicated because it probably has the biggest impact on the quality of the finished painting. Very cheap paper will ‘buckle’ when wet, but since you’re not planning to frame or exhibit your work (just yet), this doesn’t matter at this stage.

I’m not advocating using this cheap grade of materials permanently, but only as an inexpensive introduction to the hobby. If you decide painting isn’t for you, then it’s not a big loss, but if you enjoy art and intend to do more, then you can gradually buy better materials over time.

Here are some affiliate links to examples of, what I consider to be, a good starting set.