"I can’t stress enough that it’s okay to use what you already have.  With my take on colour theory, once you get the hang of creating form and light with warm versus cool pigment, the actual colours cease to matter and becomes a personal choice."

What equipment do I need?

You’ll be full of enthusiasm and raring to go I’m guessing, so the most important thing is that you make a start! If, for instance, you’ve been bought a watercolour kit or paper pad, jump right in. Materials and tools vary hugely in quality and ease of use however, so if you want to see results, here’s my recommendations ...
Paper: Good quality cotton rag paper, or Bockingford if you’re on a budget. Anything below this quality and you’ll struggle to use some of the techniques I’ll show you.

More info ...
I always use Arches Rough 300gsm (150lb) or 200gsm (90lb). This is simply a preference I have developed that suits my style and speed of painting. Look up my technique video on paper stretching, decide if it’s for you, and if it is get yourself a paper stretcher (such as Ken Bromley’s Perfect Paper Stretcher) or gummed tape and a board for stretching traditionally. If you simply want to secure your paper to a board without stretching it, go for 300gsm as the extra thickness will ensure the paper cockles less. See my video to watch me demonstrate stretching (not in the Jane Fonda sense!).

Brushes: I’ve poured a lot of time and research into developing my own brush set with one of Europe’s finest manufacturers, so I recommend those! You can find them here.
More info ...
My own set comprises three brushes, two sizes of Kolinsky Sable (12 & 9) and a good synthetic size 6. These brushes cover most techniques we use.  They have excellent water holding capabilities, expressive point and great longevity.
Nice to have additional brushes are a good mop brush if you’re painting larger than A4 (as you’ll be creating larger washes.  If not, the largest brush of my set will suffice) and a rigger brush. I have a video discussing brushes going live during december.
Paint: Tubes from a professional, rather than student, range.  Again, use what you have, but if you’re collecting from scratch it’s my opinion that student paints are a false economy.  There is simply more binder and less pigment, therefore you get through them faster!  With my style, you need to be able to get some intensity of pigment, and that’s why I generally recommend tubes (rather than pans) and professional quality.  I’m currently in love with the consistency of Schmincke tubes, but have a mix from different manufacturers.  Here are my most used colours, from which you can mix most others:
  • French Ultramarine
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Phthalo Blue (also known as Winsor Blue, Monstral and Intense Blue)
  • Dioxazine Violet (also known as Winsor Violet)
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Raw Sienna (my preference is for the Daniel Smith equivalent, Natural Sienna, as it seems to dry up less fast!)
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Light Red
  • Permanent Alizerin Crimson
  • Cadmium Red
  • Burnt Umber
  • Phthalo Green (also known as Winsor Green)
  • Cobalt Turquoise Light
  • Warm Sepia
  • Permanent White Gouache

My extended palette includes:

  • Indian Yellow
  • Transparent Orange (Schmincke)
  • Ruby Red (Shmincke)
  • Cobalt Turquoise
  • Lavender (Holbein)
… and in the interests of full disclosure, I occasionally reach for these!:
  • Perylene Green
  • Pyrrol Scarlet
  • Indigo