Botanical Watercolor Essentials: Supply List


Hot Press Watercolor Paper (also called smooth, Glatt, Glad) 300 g, approximately A4/ US Letter Size.

  • Botanical Illustrators have traditionally used Hot Press Watercolor Paper for their work because its smooth surface is conducive to fine detail.  
  • Watercolor paper can be purchased as a block (edges glued together so paper doesn’t buckle) or as individual sheets.


These are the minimum required brushes. Look for the brushes marked for watercolor with the short handle. The larger brush should be real or synthetic sable – this is the fibre that the brush is made from and can be referred to as Sable, Kolinsky-Sable, Rotmarderhaar (de). Real Sable brushes are made from animal hairs are are superior to synthetic brushes. 

  • #1-2 round brush
  • Size Zero round brush for fine detail
  • #4-6 round brush – Sable or synthetic sable
  • Optional: some cheaper brushes for color mixing, lifting, masking fluid, etc..


Watercolors can be either purchased in “nibs”, which are dry cakes, or in tubes. If you plan to paint in situ, nibs are more practical, when enclosed in a nice Malkasten (pictured below). I highly recommend that you only buy “artist grade” pigments (not student grade) to get the full saturation level of every color.

BLUE Phthalo Blue or Prussian BlueUltramarine Blue and/or Cobalt Blue
REDAlizarin CrimsonCadmium Red or Vermillion
YELLOWLemon Yellow Cadmium Yellow or Pure Yellow or any warm yellow

Additional Colors: As we proceed through the course, I do use some additional pigments. These are listed at the beginning of each lesson. I often provide alternatives as well. You do not necessarily need to purchase all of these additional colors to complete this course, but here are some of the colors I recommend. You can also experiment with whatever strikes your fancy!

  • Viridian Green, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Rose, Violet, Green Gold, Cerulean Blue…

White Gouache – see lesson “Pulsatilla Hairs

More Supplies

  • Pencils: HB, H, 2B and white eraser
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Notebook for taking notes
  • Water cup 
  • Paper towels (white)
  • additional palette for mixing colors – such as a porcelain plate  


  • masking fluid (and a cheap small brush to use with the masking fluid)
  • masking tape  
  • magnifying glass
  • knife
  • Plant identification books

Malkasten with Nibs