Getting your watercolor paints can be overwhelming specially when you have no idea on what to get and what works for you. So breathe and consider these two things;
- Budget. Students’ Grade Watercolor are cheaper with less or cheaper pigments in it. Artists’ Grade with all the rights reasons such as Permancy or lightfastness, higher pigment concentration, transparency and vibrancy are expensive.
- What are you going to do with it? Would you like to make a living off your works? Is it going to be for pure leisure? Is watercolor going to be your main medium or tools? Is it for sketching? Calligraphy?
Avoid falling into marketing hype and try to understand what do you need as a watercolorist.
Winsor and Newton Cotman: Rating: 🎨🎨🎨
The variety of colors in this set is amazing! I bought a set of 48 half pans (some are repeated colours) it can be easily activated, the transparency is good but it is not vibrant enough for me.
Sakura Field Sketchbox: Rating: 🎨🎨🎨
The colours are fun to use and the set is handy as promised. This set is perfect for outdoor painting, for urban sketching. I love the earth colours of this set but find it abit chalky in some papers.
Mungyo: Rating: 🎨🎨🎨
I love the greens of this set! The color selection is impressive, they are vivid and easy to activate. The metallics are not as sheen and some colours are really opaque.
Prima Confections: Rating: 🎨🎨
Prima is comparable to Mungyo although I find Mungyo bolder than Prima. It is not as transparent as Cotman but not as chalky as Simbalion so yeah, a touch of chalkiness. It does stain in the tin which probably suggests hight filler content. Price is very reasonable so it doesn’t hurt to grab one and play with it.
Kuretaki Gansai Tambi: Rating: 🎨🎨
This Japanese watercolor set is very opaque and although very vibrant I regret that we didn’t get a long but I enjoyed using it with brush calligraphy.
White Nights: Rating: 🎨🎨🎨🎨
My obsession with vibrant, pigmented and easily activated watercolor started with this brand. For a very long time this is my standard, I always compare new paint to my White Nights. A real value for money.
Shinhan Professional: Rating: 🎨🎨🎨🎨
My first taste of tube goodness started with this set. Shinhan mix very well and doesn’t get muddy. They are intense and highly pigmented! I use this as my travel palette.
Hobein, Daler Rowney Simply, Winsor and Newton Fine
Daniel Smith, Winsor and Newton Professional,
Shinhan PWC , Mission Gold
White Nights , Daler Rowner Aquafine , Prang (Oval Pan)
Disclaimer: Review and ratings of the said products/brands are purely base on my preference and opinion as user (of the said products) for a certain period of time between November 2016- 2018. Let us all keep in mind that these brands may or may not change the properties of their paints.
Setting or building up huge watercolor studio palette has been surprisingly educational and not sharing it is a crime I don’t want to commit. There are a lot of brands out there so it is important that you have a guideline. Mine’s below.
- Is it bold, vibrant and pigmented? I like my works fierce and confident but can be soft when I needed it to be
- Is it easy to activate? I want my paints to be moist all the time, always ready to use.
- Is it transparent? Will my paints help my creation glow and be luminous?