Shopping for art supplies and books is one of the best things about being an artist but it can also be overwhelming if you haven't figured out your favorites yet. Below is a list of the supplies that I love and recommend for painting watercolor botanicals. You can click on any item listed to go to a link on Amazon.com.
You can bring what you already have on hand but definitely get the sketchbook I recommend and some small brushes.
I have really fallen in love with the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. They come in various categories and sizes but for botanical studies hot press watercolor paper is back. Therefore I recommend the Zeta sketchbook (contains hot press watercolor paper). It needs to be 8.25 x 11.75 or bigger.
There are a lot of options out there. You could either choose a metal travel palette that allows for 24 half pan paints in it or you can get a regular palette (or even just a few white ceramic plates) and tube paints. I love the metal palette and half pan paints for my botanical sketchbook and smaller paintings. For larger paintings, I like palettes with plenty of deep wells for my paints. I have a ceramic palette at home. It's nice and heavy and a joy to paint with. But I also have several plastic palettes. They are lighter and less expensive. There are many choices out there and these are just my suggestions.
You can buy half pans of these colors or tubes of paint to fill empty half pans of your palette if you prefer. I will show you how to lay them out in class so wait to fill them. My preferred colors for botanical artwork are listed below. The links are for small tubes. If you want the larger tubes or half pans you should be able to find them quickly from these links:
I recommend having a set of very small brushes for our botanical details. I have the Anna Mason Series in size 000, 0, 1, 3, and 5. In the U.S., this set is only available from http://www.windriverarts.com/Brushes.htm#Brush_Sets_. Once you click on this link, the page will show you several options. Choose the Anna Mason set that offers all five of sizes ( 000, 0, 1, 3, and 5). These brushes are wonderful for details and are the only brushes I use in my sketchbook studies.
For larger paintings, my favorite brushes are the Black Gold Quill Brush 311 series. I like having a size 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of these lovely round brushes with a sharp tip. Unfortunately they are not available on Amazon (how is that possible?!). They are available at Daniel Smith, which lucky for us has two locations close at hand, one in Seattle and the other in Bellevue.
4150 First Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98134
15112 N.E. 24th Street
Redmond, Washington 98052
These brushes have blended synthetic hair (medium tensile strength), with two toned lacquered wood handle. There are other brushes you may add to your collection as your skills and interests grow but these brushes will be a solid set. I do about 80% of all my painting with my Black Gold Quill Brushes. If you choose to explore other options, just stay away from brushes that cost less than $10/each. They will frustrate you with their shedding hairs and poor quality.
Other tools for a good watercolor set up are:
An easel so you can draw and paint at an angle. This allows you to control washes beautifully. Although quite large, I love the SoHo Urban Artist Adjustable Drawing Board Adjustable Drawing Board. A smaller great choice, perfect for smaller paintings and sketchbook exercises is the Daler Rowney Artsphere Easel.
A lightbox for tracing images. Some people feel that using a light box is "cheating" but botanical art demands precise, clean drawings with little erasing and minimal smudges. For that, I do recommend a light box and specifically I recommend the Tracing Light Box, AGPtek 17"(A4 Size) LED Artcraft Tracing Light Pad Light Box For Artists,Drawing, Sketching, Animation. It's affordable at a fantastic price of $36 and it is thin enough to be able to use between pages of a sketchbook.
A water container (like an empty yogurt container or something more artsy like this Art Advantage Double Water Cup With Lid.
Mechanical pencil (so you don't have to worry about a sharpener)
A ruler (preferably clear)
A little bag to keep all your pens, pencil, erasers and ruler in. I love these little beauties because you can open them and stand up the bag like a cup to hold everything upright while you sketch.
And that's a list of my favorites. Enjoy!
Since I've been sharing links to Amazon.com for art supplies for years, I've decided to become a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, which means when you use the links on my website, Amazon pays me a fee for sharing the Amazon love. Win-win!