We’re going to Europe to paint… from Home!
Europe with Watercolour
You can paint and draw with any of your favourite art materials and mediums, but we’ve prepared a list of recommended watercolour materials to match what your teacher and tour guide, Jacqueline Hill, will be painting with. Watercolour is a beautiful medium and is super easy to transport, making it ideal for travel and plein air painting.
If you’ve upgraded to a VIP ticket, be sure to check out your introductory watercolour lessons. They’re the perfect place for anyone to start or freshen up their watercolour skills.
- Visual Diary
A4 (letter) size, with acid-free paper, preferably one with a thick cardboard back cover to provide support when sketching the Eiffel Tower on location!
Advanced artists who want to spoil themselves might select a watercolour album to paint in, which has heavier weight watercolour paper (cotton rag optional — and more expensive!) Then you won’t need separate sheets of watercolour paper for individual paintings.
- Watercolour Paper
An A5 (half letter) sheet of watercolour paper as heavy weight as you can afford. Anyone using a journal made of watercolour paper won’t need these extra separate sheets.
Beginner artists: to save pennies, a sheet from a pad of wood pulp (cellulose) paper would be fine, anything from 180-300gsm weight.
Advanced artists: Choose cotton rag paper, 200-300gsm. For our optional ‘Santa Maria della Salute in Venice’ painting, why not also bring a full A4 (letter) size or even larger!
- Pencil & Eraser
Beginner artists: ordinary HB graphite pencil and an eraser, such as Staedtler Rasoplast, OR a combination retractable pencil-eraser such as Pentel Twist-Erase 0.5mm with HB graphite
Advanced artists: HB or 2B pencil, whichever you prefer. Add a Faber Castell kneadable eraser as well if you love them.
- Black ink pen
Waterproof black pigment ink pen, such as Uni-Pin Fine Line 0.5mm
- Ink (optional)
Advanced artists: if you want to join in on some bonus ink and wash paintings, make sure to pack some good ink for this.
Good watercolour brushes are important to have! You can buy ones made with natural or synthetic bristles. Make sure to find some that spring back into shape when wet. Cheap golden colour bristles often have no spring; white taklon usually does.
Since all brush companies number their sizes differently, I’ve given you the dimensions.
If you are comfortable with using a water brush (aquabrush) with a handle that fills with water, then go for that. These are perfect for travel and plein air painting. If you prefer to use traditional brush with tub of water, go for it! That’s the beauty of travelling at home.
- All-rounder brush
A medium sized round watercolour brush around 5–7mm diameter that comes to a good fine point when wet.
If using an aquabrush, select a large size round pointed one such as Pentel Aquash.
- Large flat brush
A large flat watercolour brush around 8–15mm wide.
A quick note on brands:
Beginner artists: find a small travel set with around 8 pan paints from a reputable brand (not children’s paints). A really affordable brand is Mont Marte or PaperMill. But with those you’ll probably need to flick some of the yucky colours out and replace them with squeeze of good paint from tubes, or you may be disappointed with your results. I usually throw away any black and white they give you.
Advanced artists: use your favourite watercolour paints or give my favourite ones a try! My favourite brands of (more expensive) professional artists’ watercolours are Winsor & Newton and Rembrandt.
- Warm yellow
orangey e.g. Cadmium yellow
- Cool yellow
lemony, such as lemon yellow or transparent yellow
- Warm blue
purpley blue such as French Ultramarine
- Cool blue
greeny blue such as phthalo blue
- Warm red
orangey red such as Cadmium Red, or Napthol red scarlet
- Cool red
pinky red such as Permanent Rose or Quinacridone magenta
- Your favourite colours (optional)
I always add in my two extra favourite colours: Dioxazine purple and Phthalo Turquoise
- Watercolour masking fluid
I recommend not using “colourless” masking fluid. It’s much easier to remove the masking if you can see it! My usual go-to is the Art Spectrum masking fluid.