You Deserve To Spend Money On Good Watercolor Supplies
Whether you consider yourself a skilled watercolor artist or a beginner, one thing is for certain: you’ve spent your fair share of time investigating watercolor supplies.
I’m also pretty sure about another thing: at some point in time you have thought to yourself, “if I just buy [insert supply], it’s going to make my art better”.
Which, if you’re a beginner, is often followed immediately by this thought: “Too bad I’m not good enough to be using [insert supply] yet.”
In this blog post, I’m going to share why you deserve to use better quality or professional grade supplies, even if you’re “just a beginner”.
Note: I intentionally included the phrase “better quality” supplies because there are reliable supplies that are considered student grade that work well and shouldn’t be discounted just because they are not labeled professional grade.
Before I get into the reasons, we should get one thing out of the way: This post is not going to be about how you should splurge and let yourself buy high-quality everything. No expensive brush, imported handmade watercolor paint, or top-of-the-line paper is going to magically make you a better artist. Becoming “better” comes with practice and more importantly, belief in yourself. Your tools are just helpful assistants along the way. The keyword here: helpful.
Now let’s get into the reasons you deserve to be using professional supplies…
Reason #1: Performance
The first reason is pretty obvious. Professional grade supplies are going to perform better than student-grade supplies. Otherwise, wouldn’t everyone just spend $5 for 18 paint colors and call it a day?
The way your supplies perform directly effect the results you get. And especially with watercolors especially, the results can vary a lot between student grade and professional grade supplies.
Here are two scenarios where good supplies make a difference:
If you don’t already know, I believe paper is the supply that makes the biggest difference in watercolors. But good paper can be pricey. And if you’re just starting you don’t want to “waste” good quality paper. (I’ve been there!)
So let’s say instead, you start by painting on mixed-media paper or very low quality student grade paper.
Chances are, the paper doesn’t perform well under all the water you’re using. It doesn’t dry with any interesting textures or maybe pools and dries in undesired ways. Worst of all, the paper warps and buckles while you paint and stays that way after it dries. Disappointing, right?
There are many types and brands of paint. It can be confusing which one to start with and what colors to buy.
Maybe you want to get the best bang for your buck - so you pick up a set of pan colors. You get 18 colors for $5 - amazing deal! Then you start painting and you wonder why your colors all look so pale and unsaturated compared to the work that you’ve been admiring. Or maybe the colors seem chalky instead of vibrant. Not beautiful and not fun to paint with.
Reason #2: Enjoyment
Which brings me to the second reason: fun.
Getting good quality supplies means that you’re more likely to be excited every time you sit down to paint.
Imagine for a second how frustrating it would be to sit down and create but you repeatedly end up with disappointing results that have little to do with your skill as an artist?
I have to admit, the line is blurry between whether or not it’s the technique or the supplies that are creating the results. Most of the time, it’s a combination of the two - but remember what I said before about tools being helpful assistants? Well, here is where they come in and play their part.
If your supplies are reliable, you can then focus on troubleshooting any techniques that may be causing some of the issues you are seeing in your paintings. If your supplies are not-so-great, then it will make the troubleshooting process much more difficult.
Our supplies should support the creative process - so we can enjoy it. We shouldn’t have to fight with them to make them behave. Watercolors is inherently a “wild” medium. In fact, it’s notorious for being hard. And if we want to enjoy the process, we need to allow it to do its thing. And in order to really let it do its thing, we should support and encourage it (and our creativity) by using good quality supplies.
Reason #3: Mindset
For a lot of us, including myself, creating art is an uphill climb. It’s not like you start painting on a blank page thinking you’re going to create a masterpiece. It can be scary and intimidating. You have no idea what you’re going to end up with. Honestly, it could suck.
So, we already tell ourselves that it’s going to be hard. Sometimes we manage to convince ourselves that it’s going to be a failure before we even make a mark on the page.
How does it help if we pile on top of those thoughts that we aren’t “good enough” to splurge on better quality supplies?
We limit ourselves to less, buy less-than-great supplies and when we finally work up the courage to paint on that blank piece of paper, the results are…less than what we expected.
I didn’t love the first few watercolor attempts I painted. In fact I hated them so much I couldn’t bear to look at them and they went into the recycle bin. I was using old, cheap supplies. I could have told myself that I was just terrible at watercolors and quit right there.
Instead, I wondered if it was the supplies and upgraded myself (starting with just a few tubes of better student grade paint) and began researching “the best” watercolor supplies.
That’s when I started having more fun and getting the results I wanted. I could see how much of a difference the supplies were making.
Unfortunately, I think there are people that blame themselves for “failing” at watercolors when in reality, the supplies weren’t supporting them. Putting yourself in the mindset that you deserve to use good supplies is only going to help you continue creating. I think we all need to do a better job of telling ourselves that we are good enough.
Now that I’ve given you 3 reasons you deserve to be using good quality supplies, I hope that you can see why I think it’s so important.
If you’re a beginner with watercolors and are wondering what I mean by “good quality supplies” here are some blog posts that might help (if you like digging in and doing your own research):
I have personally experienced the difference when spending extra dollars on good quality watercolor supplies. But I am also a believer that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started with watercolor.
If you’re just looking for a straightforward buying guide and checklist, I share my recommendations for different price points in my free guide that you can grab below by entering your information.
Download your Free Supply Guide
This guide has helped simplified the buying process for many people. I’ve even had people tell me they experienced a huge difference changing supplies and could never go back to what they were using before! I hope that you find this helpful as well.
As always, thank you for reading!