Recommendations

Recommendations

I'm frequently asked about the supplies I use for drafting and painting, especially during my classes. Every artist has their own style and preferences, so here is a comprehensive list of all the supplies I use and love, or have tried and tested. I will update this page regularly as I discover new products and tools.


For painting supplies, see below

Disclosure: some of the following links are affiliate links. That means I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase any of them.

W A T E R C O L O U R
P A I N T S
Roman Szmal Aquarius Watercolours

Aquarius Watercolours were launched by Polish artist Roman Szmal in 2018, and I was able to acquire a selection of colours from a friend in Poland. I've been hooked since then, and fortunately they are now easily available on Jackson's. They are lush, superb value for money, and a massive range of single-pigment paints and unique mixes.



My recommendations for a starter set:
14 full pans will fit in this metal box


(coming soon – a colour mixing chart featuring this palette)

Bonus colours options:


You can fit 16 colours in this Frank Herring plastic palette 
and 28 colours in this Large metal box or 35 without the insert
Roman Szmal Aquarius Labels
Roman Szmal Aquarius Labels
Roman Szmal Aquarius Swatches
Roman Szmal Aquarius Swatches
35 Roman Szmal Aquarius pans in extra large watercolour enamel box
35 Roman Szmal Aquarius pans in extra large watercolour enamel box

Schmincke Horadam Watercolours

Schmincke Horadam are incredible paints and undoubtedly one of the BEST watercolour brands worldwide. 
Their consistency and vibrancy is just incomparable.

I would highly recommend purchasing the sample card to try the full range of colours

Schmincke has also come out with a limited edition 'Super Granulation' series last year.
These are special effects colours; they separate beautifully and create gorgeous textures in paintings.
You can find them in sets here – there are 15 colours in 5 sets – but they are also available in open stock.


Schmincke Horadam Watercolours Sample Dot Card with Schmincke Watercolour Tubes – Aziza Iqbal
Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolours

Winsor and Newton's version of Cobalt Turquoise Light and Cobalt Green (which I think is discontinued) are my favourites. 

Note: some key colours are missing in this set, such as Winsor Green (Blue Shade) and Neutral Tint, while Aureolin*, Chinese White and Ivory Black that are included are not very useful. 
*Aureolin is not a lightfast pigment.
Colour mixing chart using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolours
Colour mixing chart using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolours

M. Graham Watercolours

M. Graham is a small US-based sustainable paintmaker and their artist's gouache the one of the best I've tried. Their watercolours are also excellent. 

In most environments, these paints will not dry to solid due to the addition of honey. This makes them less portable than other watercolour brands, so they are better suited for studio use. 

My favourite Neutral Tint by M. Graham is made using only two pigments (most brands use three)

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Swatch cards with Daniel Smith PrimaTek and M. Graham Watercolours
Swatch cards with Daniel Smith PrimaTek and M. Graham Watercolours

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors 


I strongly recommend other brands over Daniel Smith paints. They have been misleading their customers for several years over their PrimaTek paints – a premium range that is allegedly made from minerals and gemstones. However, this was always a marketing gimmick. Some of these PrimaTek paints were recently analysed by geologists and pigment experts (check out their findings here) on Instagram @worldpigmentday, and the was revealed that very little of the labelled stone or pigment was in the paint itself.

While there is no problem with using synthetic pigments to enhance  a 'mineral', they have always maintained (and continue to, despite the evidence) that these paints are made with pure stones and this is downright unethical. It also casts a doubt over the lightfastness rating of the paint. 

With that caveat, some of the colours are unique that I could recommend. Do note that some of the PrimaTek paints are weak (Lapis, Sugelite) and extremely gummy and difficult to paint with (Bronzite, Mayan Blue)

Selected pigments in the Daniel Smith range that I could recommend:

Three of the above PrimaTek colours can also be purchased in THIS SET of six

NOTE: Do also check out Schmincke Horadam's limited edition Super Granulation range. They are also special effects paints similar to PrimaTeks, but made using known pigments and mixes. 




P A P E R 
Sketchbooks for practice and swatches

Jackson's Acid-free Wood Pulp Watercolour Blocks 300 gsm in a wide range of sizes

100% Cotton Paper

Cotton paper can be expensive, but it is economical when bought as a full size imperial sheet – which is 22" x 30" or 56x76cm – either single sheet or as packs of five or ten. 

Jackson's offers a free cutting service if you buy a pack of sheets, and you can ask them in your order comments to cut the sheets x2 or x4. 

For example, if you buy a pack of five sheets of Arches Cold Press paper, which is £22.50, that will give you 20 quarter imperial size sheets of 15" x 11" size (slightly smaller than A3), whereas the Arches block of 16"x12" of 20 sheets is £37


Fabriano Artistico (vegan)
100% Cotton Blocks various sizes 
Sheets:

Arches (animal gelatin)
Sheets all options

(This paper is available in Doha at Cassart)

Saunders Waterford is supposed to be excellent, but I haven't tried it myself.



B R U S H E S
Jackson's Studio Synthetic 

Good brushes for swatching and general use


Escoda Versatil 
This is a 100% synthetic sable hair brush, the best imitation of Kolinsky sable that I have tried yet.
Highly recommended.

Sizes 2/4/6 is a good place to start for painting A4/A3 size paintings

I have this version in size 6 and 10 which is a travel brush:

Jackson's Brush Storage
Handover Brush Case


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P A L E T T E S    A N D    S T O R A G E
M I S C E L L A N E O U S

Jackson's Empty Masking Fluid Applicator (can be used with any masking fluid)


Jakar Ruling Pen

Yellow Owl Workshop Archival Ink Pad (for stamps)

Sakura Gelly Roll White Gel Pen Cultpens | Jackson's |  Jetpens | Amazon.in

Dr. Ph Martin's  Bleed Proof White (opaque white ink for details or fixing mistakes)


M E T A L L I C S
Coliro Finetec – Moon gold, Blue silver and Copper Pearl (shimmer)
Coliro Finetec – Moon gold, Blue silver and Copper Pearl (shimmer)
The best metallic paints I've tried are by Coliro Colors, better known as Finetec. They are available as sets, but you can also buy individual colours and make your own palette.

To make your own set, the plastic palette box is recommended if you live in a humid area, as my metal one has rusted over time due to humidity.


My recommendations for individual colours:

Metals:

Colours:

These are the colours I have tried myself, but their entire range is beautiful and highly recommended.  

Note: Some colours are best used on darker paper, and these are called 'shimmer' colours. They will be almost invisible on white paper.

I also like the collection of colours in these sets:



I N K
Using Liquitex Ink (Deep Violet, Transparent Burnt Umber and Turquoise Deep)
Using Liquitex Ink (Deep Violet, Transparent Burnt Umber and Turquoise Deep)
Using Dr. Ph Martins Bombay Ink
Using Dr. Ph Martins Bombay Ink
Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay India Ink
Lightfast, pigment-based, shellac binder.
The 30 ml set is better value than the 15ml set.

First set of 12 (Primaries + secondaries)
Second set of 12 (Neutrals + expanded primaries)


Palettes for Ink
Ink is better used in small quantities as it cannot be reused once dry.  Plastic palettes are easy to stain, so ceramic or metal is a better option when using ink.

Small wells in these ceramic palettes are perfect for inks.



 G O U A C H E
I would always recommend an artist grade gouache over the 'designers' range.  These are three brands that make super pigmented, chalk-free, artist's gouache. 


Holbein Artist Gouache


Schmincke Horadam Gouache

Whites

CMYK Primaries

Secondaries + Bonus


M. Graham Gouache
Lawrence (UK) has an offer of 25% off on 4+ tubes



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