Watercolor Bouquets I: Preclass

Welcome to the preclass lesson!

Let’s talk about the supplies needed for this course – you may already have plenty at home you can use! I always encourage trying out what you’ve got whenever possible, and I have some alternate colors to talk about.

Before we start…a little housekeeping

I retain the copyright to the content you are learning in class. That means…

  1. Do not sell or give away the concepts from my classes – you may not re-teach my instruction contained or created within these lessons.
  2. Do not post a video tutorial or step by step photo tutorial of your own redraw of class content.
  3. Do not repost any handouts you receive in class.

However…I love to see students making strides and taking this teaching and personalizing it with your own skills.

  1. DO make your own designs and develop your own style! I love that!
  2. DO gift your creations made with these techniques, of course!

At the bottom of each lesson you’ll see some ways to share your homework and ask questions, so that’ll be handy for you.

Watercolor Paper

An Arches Cold Press sheet is what I recommend — the paintings in this class are on 1/8th sheets (approximately 7″ x 10″). I do not recommend this course for anything smaller than that, like cards or postcards. We’re learning to use bigger brushes and fewer brush strokes – and painting tiny with tiny brushes is not compatible with that goal.

To break a full 22″ x 30″ sheet into eighths:

  1. Fold the full sheet in half, and fold back and forth 3-4 times.
  2. Run a wet sponge along the crease, and tear; make sure you tear sideways, not upwards. (I don’t usually use the sponge but some find it helpful.)
  3. This provides two 22 x 15 inch sheets. Take one of the half-sheets and fold it in half, using the same process to tear it along that fold. Do the same with the other half-sheet.
  4. Now you have four pieces. Tear each of those in half using the same process. And you should then have 8 pieces of paper – 8 paintings!

Practice watercolor paper

I recommend grabbing a bunch of your tossed paintings out of the bin! I use those for color testing and making watercolor thumbnails on the back. This helps get more use out of paper you might have thought you had ‘wasted’ – how awesome is that!

You could alternatively use a watercolor sketchbook for your thumbnails, however – most are not made with the same paper you will be painting your finished work on. Which means you may not get the same hue, value, or blend that you can get on good paper! Always test and swatch on the good stuff, it is worth it.


Sketching supplies


For the graphite thumbnail sketches, you may want to have a sketchbook for them  – any will do, these aren’t fancy sketches. I’ll be using a Moleskine, but there are plenty that are far cheaper. 


You’ll need a pencil, and it could just be a number 2 pencil if that’s what you’ve got! I love having a softer pencil for sketching – it blends better if I need it to, and can reach much darker values. Mine’s a 9B Grafwood by Caran d’Ache but you can get a set of Staedtler pencils – the set of 6 has a good variety at a good price. 


Test out whatever pencils you do have in your sketchbook. Do they have different hardnesses (are some darker than others)? Or can you represent different values (light, medium, dark) with pencil pressure alone?

A kneaded eraser is a big help, and I also have stick erasers and an electric eraser on hand – but just the kneaded one is likely all you’ll need.

 Watercolor paints

As with all my classes, use supplies you love, being prepared for different results. (Which is not a bad thing!) Note that these are all Daniel Smith Watercolors; some are different in other brands, but please try them before blowing your art budget on getting colors from the demos!

See the visual chart below for swatches….the boxes around swatches are for the colors used.

Greens: Cascade Green  and Sap Green are those used in demos. Many other greens can have a little warm yellow or a blue added to push them to a more olive or a more blue-green color. See the sample of Chromium Green Oxide mixed with New Gamboge to make an olive color. Cascade has more of a bluish tinge to it, so a blue like French Ultramarine could be added to another green to make something similar.

Bright greens – in particular, brights for tulip leaves – are shown; in the demos, I didn’t use any of the four tube paints shown below the phthalos. But pretty much any phthalo can be used to mix bright greens with a yellow like Hansa Light or Lemon. Use any that you’ve got!

Blue: There’s not a lot of blue in these paintings unless you change a background to a blue (you’re welcome to swap colors!) Cobalt Blue or Verditer or French Ultramarine Blue, or something similar would be great.

“Black”: We don’t use a black in class per-se, but in mixing a black-like color, something like Paynes Blue Gray can be helpful to quickly add a dollop of dark to a pair of complements. Paynes Gray or even a blue like Indigo might do a samilar job. 

Reds: a great pink is Quinacridone Rose but also you could try Quinacridone Pink or Rose Madder; they may need some help in getting darker for pink shadows.

A “regular” red of any kind should be fine to create the lesson with the red vase – let’s try what you do have before shopping unless you’re independently wealthy. heh. The demo uses Permanent Red Deep but you can try Pyrrol Red, Anthraquinoid Scarlet, lots of options. A darker red like Pyrrol Crimson or Permanent Alizarin Crimson is used as well but mixing a green with your red may help make it a little darker – test out your greens to see which darkens it just a tidge!

Yellows: A warm like New Gamboge  can be subbed for Hansa Yellow Deep or Permanent Yellow Deep. A cool like Hansa Yellow Light can be replaced with Lemon – or for some ‘bursting” fun try Indian Yellow or Nickel Azo that have special properties. 

Moonglow: This purplish muted Moonglow color is a granulator and breaks out into beautiful colors; if you don’t have it, I tried the combo shown of Lunar Blue and Imperial Purple – I’m sure other purples can work too! You might also consider Shadow Violet for the shadows that we use Moonglow for in class.

Tap the image to download it. 










Watercolor brushes

I use sable brushes – but they’re pricey! I find them to be worth the money but I know many artists aren’t able to invest that much. But here’s an alternate for each as well.

    1. Winsor Newton Kolinsky Sable Series 7  Round 8 OR Silver Brush Black Velvet Round 8
    2. Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable Round 4 OR Silver Brush Black Velvet Round 4
    3. Mottler Flat Wash 30, DaVinci


  1. Spray bottle  – Not used but once in this class but always good to have on hand!
  2. White artist tape, 3/4” 
  3. Grafix Art Board or Ampersand Hardbord to tape down paper
  4. Baby wipes, paper towels, rags

Quick links to share your work wherever you like:

Artventure Community

Artventure is an active art community of thousands of artists that I run on Mighty Networks via an app or the web. You’ll be right in my pocket for quick feedback and answers to questions and bonus zoom calls! Free to join.

Social media & blogs

Post wherever you like to share, and tag @sandyallnock – I love to see your work!  Posting lets your friends know which class you’re taking. They might enjoy learning as well!