My Favorite Watercolor Calligraphy Supplies

Watercolor is my favorite medium currently, and it’s been that way for a few years now. I love the myriad colors of paint available, the beautiful and natural bleeds you can create, and the flowy and intentionally-messy-looking outcome. So today, I’m sharing my favorite supplies!

L-R: Canson Mix Media paper, water brush, round paintbrush, Brea Reese glitter inks, Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus watercolors, Coliro watercolors

Coliro Watercolor Paints are my favorite paints – I even used them to address my wedding invitations! I love the sparkly metallic finish and the opacity you can achieve with them. They look gorgeous on black or white paper (and any in between, like you’ll see on my wedding invites), and some have a duochrome shift.

How pretty did my invitations come out?!

These are dry watercolors that you activate with water, so you have a lot of control over how opaque you want the color to be. This can take some getting used to, but it is easy to see when the paint is too thin or thick for your liking. You can get these as pre-assembled palettes or as singles, and you can buy an empty palette separately … basically exactly like eyeshadows. (And they look like eyeshadows too ;)) Depending on where you buy, there’s a small cost savings to buying a pre-set palette versus individual paints, but you’ll want to consider whether you want all the colors in a palette. You may be best off building your own. Either way, I think these are a fantastic value given the quality of the paints. There’s also an affordability factor too since you can buy just one or two single paints if your budget doesn’t allow for a full palette.

I bought mine directly from the Coliro site, which is based in Germany, because US-based retailers didn’t have the full range of colors when I was shopping. At the time of publishing this post, though, it looks like shipments from Germany to the US are paused or significantly limited, but JetPens has a great variety of colors.

I mentioned water brushes in my post about the best supplies for modern calligraphy beginners, and they also happen to be one of my favorites as well! In that post, I specifically mentioned the Pentel Aquash brushes, but honestly, I don’t favor one brand of water brush pens over another. The size of the brush tip is more important to me than brand. I like these for a few reasons – first, I find them easier to use for watercolor calligraphy than paint brushes, probably because they feel more like brush pens, which I am accustomed to using. Second, these are really versatile; you can use them ‘as intended’ and fill them with water, or you can fill them with ink or a thin paint. Third, they’re durable and easy to clean because the bristles are made of plastic fibers. I feel like I can be rougher with these than with paint brushes.

Dr. Ph. Martin Hydrus watercolors are my tried-and-true go-tos for everyday watercolor, both practicing and for original pieces. These watercolors are extremely concentrated liquids that come in a dropper-topped container, so I will drop 3-5 drops of color into a well in my palette and add 7-10 drops of water. Colors are vibrant and work nicely with each other, so I get some gorgeous bleeds, which I love!

When I’m done with a painting session, I can leave the palette open and let the paints dry out; next time I go to paint, can rehydrate them, thus not wasting paint (although if left out and untouched for too long, some of the paints can get chalky and flaky).

While I’m not sure if Brea Reese glitter inks technically counts as ‘watercolor’, they produce the same bleed effects as watercolor paints, so I’m including them! They are so fun to work with because the colors are bright, vibrant, and GLITTERY!

So bright, right?!

You can see the glitter much better here

Canson XL Mix Media is my favorite paper for practicing, which I mentioned in the post I wrote about my favorite papers for practicing, go figure. As I talked about in that post, mix media paper is thicker than cardstock and thinner than watercolor paper and has some tooth to it, making it the best of both worlds and less expensive than watercolor paper. I also use mix media cards for the cards I make and sell on Etsy (see the pics of them below!).

Last, but not least, I would be remiss without mentioning a good old fashioned round paintbrush, and sizes 0-2 are my favorite for calligraphy. I really like the Winsor & Newton Cotman line – they’re a great balance between affordable and high-quality for my purposes.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list by any means since I love to try out new products. Honestly, it was really hard to narrow this down since there are so many great watercolor products out there that are perfect for doing calligraphy.

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