1. The right paper
Sometimes I run out of good paper and try out some cheaper alternative papers that I have, but the results are not good… For watercolors cold pressed cotton paper works the best and more detailed work like botanical illustrations I like to use smooth hot pressed paper. I don’t know anything less motivating than shitty paper that you start working with and then the paper fails..
Know the material that you work with and find the paper that works for you.
Arches for example is high quality paper and I use it and pay little more for it. I started to find a paper that suits for me needs by buying sheets of paper from craft stores. 6 years of researches have shown that it would be much affordable and easy to google “best paper for watercolors”. Arches is the best. Period. Don’t waste your time and money like I did. Google it. Try it.
1. The right brushes
Just like with the paper, finding the right brushes will take some time.
Not many brushes you need actually, just the right ones. Right now I’m mostly using these five ones.
The big one I have is from South Korea that I got as a souvenir, It’s a calligraphy brush and goats hair I think. Another big one is synthetic but imitating squirrel (brand is Kolibri). Two same sized are synthetic brushes, (Gold line Crea-time) that I found from a local secondhand shop in Ivalo and are designed actually for miniature painting I think. The tiniest one has been my favorite for 2 years, and still works like a dream. This Kolinsky brush is made of Red Pine Martens hair that works perfectly for watercolors and are very popular.
Even animal hair brushes are great for watercolors I’m not planning to buy animal hair brushes anymore, there is many synthetic alternatives that work just as well. Recommendations?
3. Oh my gouache!
Gouache are watercolors too but have more pigment in them and I like them very very much, they absolutely have been a big source of motivation for me! In one point I started to get little bored with watercolors.. But then I found out about gouache and bought a white one that I use a lot and often mix it with normal watercolors and also use it to making highlights in the end. 🙂
What are your favorite art supplies that you have found to be helpful and motivating?