Watercolour Advent Calendar

Watercolour Advent Calendar

Watercolour Advent Calendar

In past years, I've published an annual gift guide for botanical artists and/or watercolourists. My lists have often featured large boxed sets and tins. While these big sets are covetable, they are expensive and not always the most practical gift.

The other day, I was discussing with some artist friend how much watercolour pans and other art supplies are like little candies, and it occured to me that most of the supplies I value the most are small enough to fit in a Christmas stocking or advent calendar, and individually quite affordable.

Full Pans of Wrapped Watercolour Paint
Roman Szmal Wrapped Pans

This year, instead of a list of large gifts, I've made a list of 25 small items that are essential to my art practice- each sells for under $15 CAD. Most are much cheaper. Any or all of these items will get a beginner botanical artist or watercolourist off to a great start, and delight even the most experienced artists. As a daily treat, or all together as stocking stuffers, here are 25 small watercolour and botanical art treasures

  1. A full pan of watercolour, the colour of pine forests PBk31 Perylene Green by Roman Szmal Aquarius
  2. The Perfect Watercolour Paintbrush If I could only have one brush, it would be a Rosemary & Co Series 22 size 3
  3. A Tiny Pad of Good Cotton Watercolour Paper I usually get larger pads, but Stonehenge Aqua is my workhorse paper
  4. The finest lead mechanical pencil you ever did see (CA) /(USA) Pentel Orenz pencils have 0.2mm lead made possible by retracting lead guard
  5. A mechanical eraser for small details (CA) / (USA) Tombow Mono Zero erasers are great at erasing just the extra
  6. A festive red paint to complement the green PR144 Azo Red by Roman Szmal Aquarius
  7. A pretty tin to store your new watercolour pans (CA) / (USA) Pretty upcycled gift card tins and pencil boxes also work great for this purpose!
  8. A basic waterproof rollerball pen or three (CA)/ (USA) Uni-ball pens are perfect for sketching on the go, with or without watercolour
  9. A nice big tube of the best yellow ever (CA) / (USA) PY150 Nickel Azo Yellow by M. Graham, of course
  10. A bright and saturated magenta paint PR122 Quinacridone Magenta by Roman Szmal Aquarius
  11. A fun cyan paint Roman Szmal's Ocean Blue really does look like sand in a turquoise sea in wet applications but also works for mixing greens.
  12. Empty half or full pans I love to always have a few extra
  13. Masking Fluid Winsor Newton's masking fluid is thinner than most, which makes it easier to apply in detailed applications
  14. Extra Fine Pen Nib Nobody actually likes applying masking fluid, but pen nibs are the secret to not making a blobby mess and ruining brushes.
  15. A pretty nib holder This nib holder works the same as the basic black plastic, but looks nicer
  16. The brightest, most transparent orange paint Winsor Newton's Transparent Orange is made with a bold new pigment (PO107*)
  17. A Watersoluble Pencil for quick sketching Faber Castell Graphite Aquarelle
  18. A kneadable eraser For lifting out details and lightening linework
  19. A brush for deleting mistakes Billy Showell's eradicator brush really does delete small errors in watercolour
  20. Refill Lead for 0.2 Pencil (CA)/ (USA) Detail lovers will be hooked on ultra-fine lead
  21. A decadent yogurt in a glass cup. No, I haven't gone mad. The Oui by Yoplait cups are perfect for holding clean brush water. They're not available in Canada, but Riviera yogurt has cups nearly as good.
  22. Ultramarine Blue (CA) / (USA) M. Graham's ultramarine is much more rewettable and saturated version of this common pigment
  23. A sturdy travel brush Escoda Ultimo Synthetic Size 6
  24. Brush Soap I'm terrible at maintaining my brushes, but you don't have to be.
  25. A totally frivolous watercolour pan or tube: Gold or soft granulating pink or glittery purple, choose a paint that will feel special to your special someone.

I hope you find this list helpful. Let me know down in the comments what small items you find essential to your art practice!

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