Part II of a 3-part series exploring my favorite art supplies. In case you missed it, you can find Part I here. The links here are for items I use and have actually purchased on Amazon, and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to anyone using the link.
The brush I use for watercolors 99% of the time is a Synthetic Squirrel Round Paint Brush by Master's Touch from Hobby Lobby. I like it because it holds a lot of water/paint; it is good for washes as well as detail work. I have used this brush for over 3 years, and it still holds a nice point. Mine is a size 10 and comes in at under $5 when Hobby Lobby is running their frequent 40% off sale.
The other watercolor brushes I use are in the Polar Flo Watercolor Brush Set. These brushes have a very thin flat tip that is great for line work. I can also say they work great for acrylics, but after using for a while with acrylics, they do not hold the edge as well and show signs of separation - as you can see in the pic of my actual brushes. I feel confident that if I stick with only watercolors and fluid acrylics, the Polar brushes would not show the wear that was caused by the heavy body acrylics and gel mediums. I would definitely purchase again, just be more vigilant in limiting them to fluid mediums.
I love making note cards, primarily watercolor cards. I keep a box of Strathmore Watercolor Note Cards with Envelopes on hand. They hold up well to good bit of paint if you tape them down like you normally would when creating a watercolor painting. I purchase the 50 card set that measure 5" x 6.875", and they cost about $.60 per card. They also fit nicely in a standard 5"x7" frame for displaying as a keepsake.
For workshops I primarily use Canson XL Series Watercolor Paper. I find that it holds up well to light to medium water applications, especially if taped down prior to using, and that you do not need to "prep" the paper with a water bath and drying. This paper is also great for mixed-media projects.
My first watercolor set was the Koi Watercolor Field Set. It might still be my favorite; especially for beginners. I love the palette and it has lasted years. It also comes with a water brush and is super compact. My favorite part of this set, other than the color palette, is the mixing tray. I truly take the tray out of this set to use regardless of what watercolors I am using.
Also for personal use and workshops, I have grown fond of this $20-ish dollar set (watch for price drops on Amazon) by MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set. I have purchased a half-dozen to use in classes and they are holding up well. They are also large enough that two people can share in a class with ease. A bonus is they come with a "water-brush," so if you are new to watercolor, you don't need to purchase a brush.
If you are already a watercolor enthusiast, the I HIGHLY recommend Daniel Smith tube watercolors and storing them in one of the cute tins available on Amazon. I have this cute daisy Watercolor Paint Tin, but there are a lot of options for other tin designs. Daniel Smith watercolors are truly amazing - I have purchased several individual tubes, but I find the Daniel Smith Watercolor Set with the 3 secondary colors very versatile and beautiful.
If you are looking for some fun colors that you don't need to mix, or can mix to create a really cool palette, try this Watercolor Confections - Tropicals. I have it; I use it; but every time I see it, I want a mixed drink with an umbrella and to paint a flamingo.
I hope you will come back in a couple of days to read Part III covering mixed media, journals and more. You can also visit the Art Shop which has original artwork, note cards, journals and more... and if you are musically inclined, please check out Mr. Chestnut Grove Studios banjos, dulcimers and soon to be ukuleles gallery or shop.
P.S. I teach in person art workshops locally in Middle Tennessee - I am also available for private Paint Parties at your location. Email / text / call - firstname.lastname@example.org / 615.772.7509 - I would love to hear from you!