Guide to Painting Materials

My recommendations for painting art materials


Take a look at my recommendations for art materials. 

Get Confident

Take a course to learn how to get the best out of the material.


Once you have the skills, carry on experimenting, learning and practising. 

To help with gathering the appropriate materials, please take a look at the glossary of drawing materials below to help you get equipped and the brands I recommend. 


Watercolour is a water soluble paint which is painted in thin layers onto special watercolour paper.

You can get watercolours in 'tubes' to squeeze into pans or a paint tin. I leave the watercolours to harden before I use them. You can top these up as needed. 

You can also get 'cakes' of watercolour in a paint box or tin, which is ready to use. 

You also need a water-pot, brushes, watercolour paper, masking tape, kitchen roll, masking fluid/old paint brush for application, and a board to tape your work onto.

You will need a basic drawing kit too: pencil, rubber, sharpener, some scraps of paper to test your paint on.

My recommendation: Daler Rowney Simply Watercolour Tubes, Meeden 24 pan Watercolour Tin, Major brushes size 10, 6 and 0 sized brushes, Fabriano 300gsm watercolour paper, Masking Tape, Board, Daler Rowney Yellow Pigment Masking Fluid, 



Gouache is a type of opaque watercolour (also known as poster paint).

You can paint onto thick paper or card.

You can buy gouache in small tubes which can be squeezed out into a dimple palette so you can add water to make the paint more flexible.

I advise getting a larger bottle of white to add to the colours to stretch them further.

You also need brushes, water pots, kitchen roll, dimple palette, 

My recommendation: Daler Rowney Simply Gouache Tubes, Dimple Palette, Major brushes size 10, 6 and 0 sized brushes, Thick paper or card, Masking Tape, 



Acrylic paint is a fast-drying, water resistant paint. 

Acrylic paint can be applied to a surface with a brush, a pallet knife, a flat plastic surface, poured or sponge.

You can paint onto card and canvas. You will also need water, brushes and kitchen roll.

Acrylics are squeezed out of tubes, bottles or you can use the thinner more liquid ink form.

My recommendation: Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic Tubes, Flat Palette, Major brushes size 18, 10, 6 and 0 sized brushes, Thick paper or card,


Ink is a liquid solution that contains a colour.

Ink can be applied with a brush, pen, nib, airbrush or quill.

You can choose how you wish to apply but in our classes we use brushes and dip pens. You will also need a waterpot and kitchen roll. 

There are various different types of inks:

India or Chinese ink: Black Ink commonly used for drawing and outlining

Acrylic ink: An extremely fluid acrylic paint, ideal for a variety of techniques including painting and drawing. They are also fully intermixable with other acrylic paints and mediums.


My recommendation: Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Ink, Dimple Palette, Major brushes size 18, 10, 6 and 0 sized brushes, Thick paper or card,


Jane W says

I haven’t done any art since I was at school; life, work and family have got in the way. I started Helen’s course out of curiosity and a desire to do something just for me; to relax and do something different. I have loved it! I am a bit of a perfectionist in life so finding watercolours equally liberating and challenging as I can’t control them!! Loving learning to just go with it!  Helen is a wonderful, patient and skilful teacher. I finished the introductory course and immediately signed up for the follow on course. I’ve found watercolours fun, relaxing and enjoyable. Would throughly recommend it.”

Liz says

Helen is a fantastic teacher. I have done her online watercolour classes and also love her weekly free lunchtime sketchbook sessions. A brilliant way to to just have a go, relax, discover new techniques and have fun no matter what else the day throws at me. Helen has brightened lockdown and helped me rediscover my creativity!"

Annette says

Helen is very encouraging and extremely well organised. She makes very constructive comments and is full of enthusiasm which is infectious. I do the painting class and find fresh inspiration every week through the new techniques we are taught."

Ellen says

I took part in a live online 5-week watercolour course, and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge! Helen is a fantastic artist and teacher - the lessons were well structured, with extra resources provided for guidance and inspiration. Give it a go if you fancy trying something new while stuck at home!"

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