Art Materials

"What a fantastic watercolour workshop with Chloe today! It was extremely well taught, the pace was perfect and Chloe was so encouraging throughout. I highly recommend her workshops and artwork."

- Stephanie Ball

Art Materials Guide

When starting to learn how to draw and paint, it can be hard to know what materials to use. From experience, I've found choosing the right art materials is really important for your art work. There's lots to consider and so much choice out there!

Listed below are some of my own recommendations if you're looking for guidance. However what works for one artist may not work for another, so if you can, experiment! There are lots of other fantastic brands available! I've included images below that are clickable and will take you directly to the items on Jacksons Art. If this is the first time you've used Jacksons Art, using the links will give you a 10% discount.

Watercolour Materials

Paints

As a beginner option, the Winsor Newton Cotman range will provide you with everything you need. As you may or may not take art further, I'd suggest buying individual colours and building up your set as and when required. This range is a more budget friendly option as they replace more expensive pigments with lower cost alternatives.

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For the more advanced, there are many options available but the Schminke Horadam range is particularly good. There's no compromise on the quality of materials, they use the highest quality pigments they can source. This provides the higher levels of lightfastness - the resistant of fading when exposes to light. They are nice to use as the colour lifts with ease from the paint pan.

As these are more expensive paints, once you're ready to commit to a more advanced paint range purchasing a set is more economical.

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Paper


For the beginners, purchasing good quality watercolour paper is recommended.

Watercolour paper needs to be stretched to help avoid buckling when using a large amounts of water used with the medium. Therefore as a beginner rather than having to learn how to start pre-stretching paper, it's best to buy a glued (or gummed) watercolour pad leaving you to concentrate on learning how to paint!

The Bockingford glued watercolour pad by St. Cuthberts Mill is a beautiful English paper, made using high quality pure materials to archival standards.

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If you're looking for something a bit special, try the Crescent Watercolour board. It's 100% rag cotton watercolour paper on a backing board, which means it doesn't buckle.

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Brushes

The majority of artists use a sable brush made from real animal hair, but new developments mean that synthetic brushes are better than ever and certainly worth a try.

For beginners, try the Pro Arte Prolene synthetic vegan brushes. They're a good quality but affordable option which hold their shape really well. You'll always want a range of different shapes and sizes, so best to buy a small set to start with whilst you're learning what works best for you.

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Once you've been painting for a while, you'll be looking for a certain size or type of brush to suit your style to add to your collection. Whilst sets are available, it's likely that at this point you'll want to purchase individual brushes.

As a wash brush, Jacksons own brand Raven synthetic mop brush is recommended. It holds a lot of paint!

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A good range for adding to your brush collection is the Escoda Versatil. It's a really good alternative to the Kolinsky sable.

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Coloured Pencils

Pencils

For the beginner and those looking to try coloured pencils for the first time, there are lots of low cost options available. However I would really recommend starting with the Faber Castell Polychromos, which are a more mid-range price. Compared to most of the lower cost options they are much easier to use, they have great light fastness and are good at keeping their point for fine detail work. They are really easy to use for blending as well.

It's good to buy a smaller set to start with and then add the individual colours as you need them. The largest set of 120 includes lots of colours most will never use and therefore isn't worth investing in if you're just starting out.

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If you've decided that you like working with coloured pencils, it's worth looking at the Caran D'Ache Luminance range if you want to experiment further. 

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For expanding your colours, there's also the Derwent Lightfast range to consider.

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Paper

A paper I'd recommend to use is the Bockingford hot pressed. It's smooth yet still has a slight texture which means it picks up the colour well from the pencil. I've always preferred smooth hot pressed paper over a textured paper because I find that I am able to create more detailed artwork. It is watercolour paper but I find it suits coloured pencil just as well. It's also perfect for anyone wishing to use the 2 mediums together.

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As an alternative option, the Strathmore 400 Series Bristol is worth trying too. This is the paper I use it's a great smooth paper and its brilliant for detailed colourful work.

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*If you purchase any items from the links above, Little Robin Art may receive a small commission. However the content written above is completely impartial.

The items may be available from other suppliers.