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Which watercolour brand and colours should I start with?

supplies Jul 21, 2019

This would have to be one of the most asked questions I get when it comes to starting with watercolour - which brand and which colours should I learn to paint with?

The thing about that question is, you're ALWAYS going to get a different answer, depending on who you ask.

Here at The Watercolour Academy, I like to keep things simple, and all of my tutorials are based off a simple 3 colour palette (give or take a cheeky black and white too for convenience - don't tell the 'pros').

You've probably heard of the primary colours. Maybe you learned about it back when you were a kid - you know the ones! Red. Yellow. Blue. The colours that can't be made by other colours, but can make all the others, right?

Well, things have changed a lil bit. These days, many artists prefer a more CMYK based system (like the colours your printer uses) so that they can achieve a much larger range of vibrant colours.

Buuuuuuuuuuut waaaaaaaait. Why can't I get all the colourssssss? All the sets are so pretttyyyyyyyyyy.

I know. I get it.

The thing with watercolour is - if you buy the cheapo supplies, you're not gonna get great results. Some people argue that a true artist can make do with any quality of supplies, and I believe that too, but a true artist isn't born the moment you pick up a brush, and most beginners need years of experience before they can do that.

So I want you to have the quickest and easiest learning journey with watercolour possible, which is why I recommend resisting the urge to buy EVERY colour from the cheapest brand, just because it *feels* like more bang for your buck. You'll get more colours, but they'll be inferior, and you'll have a harder time learning with them.

Instead, put your hard-earned cash towards QUALITY paints, but fewer of them.

Recommended commercial brand: Winsor and Newton Professional Series Watercolour:

  • Winsor Lemon
  • Permanent Rose
  • Winsor Blue (Red Shade)

Recommended handmade brand: The Watercolour Factory (TWA's sister brand):

  • Primary Yellow
  • Primary 'Red'
  • Primary Blue

Once you've got your 3 primary colours and you're ready to rock and roll - take my FREE Colour Theory 101 class! You'll learn how to create 144+ colours from just 3.