Watercolors are made from pigments suspended in water, which is what makes it translucent. They can be used as a medium for creating simple paintings to making elaborate works. However, in comparison to oil or acrylic paints, watercolor paints don’t require toxic chemicals to get it off your brushes because the paint is thin. With just water, you can clean your brushes. However, while you can utilize a number of surfaces to paint if you work with oils or acrylics, with watercolor paints, you need a special paper that enables the paint’s pigment to bond to the watercolor paper surface as it dries up.
Top 3 Best Watercolor Paint: Editor’s Pick
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However, there are many watercolors on the market and it may be difficult for you to choose the best or the chose a watercolor set that will meet all your requirements. This is especially true if you are just learning how to paint. Therefore, you need a guide on which watercolor paint to buy and the properties you should look out for according to your needs. This is why I have come up with the Watercolour paints review to provide you with an in-depth analysis of some of the best watercolor paints available on the market today.
Best Watercolor Paint Reviews:
1. M. Graham 1/2-Ounce Tube Watercolor Paint
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The M. Graham watercolor is produced from an excellent combination of natural gum Arabic, pigment and pure blackberry honey, giving the product needed strength and intensity. Since it has natural honey as one of its major ingredients, this watercolor has the ability to absorb moisture from the air, thereby guarding against the watercolor getting hardened while painting or inside the tube.
The M. Graham watercolor is also very easy to use, all you need to do is add a little water if you want to make the paints lighter and add more pigment to get darker shades. Since the colors of this paint are very strong, sometimes you have to dilute it to get exactly what you want out of the colors. As one of the best watercolor, the M. Graham stays moist for a longer period of time compared to other paints. Also, the fact that it uses only pure gum Arabic as the pigment medium makes it an excellent artist quality oil paint.
Furthermore, the M. Graham is one of the best watercolors for beginners because it is easy to paint with it and allows them to see where they make mistakes. The individual colors in this set have a single pigment and you will not experience any problems with muddying when layering because the paints have high pigmentation. The most beautiful aspect of this paint is that despite all its top quality features, it is not expensive when compared to other top quality watercolors.
- Made with pure honey which prevents hardening
- No problems with muddying
- Paints have a high pigment load
- Uses natural gum Arabic as the only pigment medium
- Has five colors in the set: Azo yellow, Ultramarine blue, permanent alizarin crimson, burnt sienna and sap green
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2. Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint
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For the past decades, Winsor & Newton has established itself as one of the most popular and reputed brands, producing some of the best watercolor paint brands for both professional artists and beginners. As a matter of fact, the quality of their watercolor paints which are made for established and upcoming artists are unrivalled. The major reasons for its popularity are that this watercolor has a top-quality lightfastness, rated at I or II, meaning its very good or excellent and its incredible permanence, rated as either A or AA, meaning its extremely permanent or permanent.
Also, if you need an excellent watercolor that will not take a toll on your pocket, the Winsor & Newman Cotman Sketchers’ is certainly for you. Another beautiful feature of this watercolor is that you will not find a more compact watercolor box set anywhere; it is very small, light and simple to carry and can even perfectly into your shirt pocket. It comes with a mixing palette in the lid and a pocket brush; however, it is better to get your own watercolor brush because the one provided in the set is rather small.
Its box is produced from durable white plastic, meaning that unlike other paint pans, it will never rust. Also, it has three compartments for mixing the colors. In addition to previously mentioned features, its color possesses top quality tinting strength and excellent working properties. The company is able to make this watercolor cheap by replacing the expensive pigments with cheaper alternatives.
- Pocket-sized watercolor set
- A cheap but excellent quality watercolor
- Has 12 colors: China white, Lemon Yellow, Emerald Green, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Pale Hue, Burnt Umber, Crimson Alizarin, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine, Sap Green, Intense Blue.
- Excellent tinting strength and working properties
- Incredible lightfastness and permanence
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3. Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle Watercolor Paint Set
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If you are a student of art or just taking your first steps in painting, then the Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle is for you. As one of the best watercolor paints for beginners available today, this watercolor gives you the freedom to paint anywhere you find yourself. This is large because of its excellent packaging. Even though it is not as pigmented as the professional grade Sennelier, it is packed with practical features that will still deliver the required efficiency.
The watercolors come with an elastic strap to enable you to hold eat paint easily in your hands. There are also different sizes of mixing areas as well as enough space to keep your painting brushes. These features make it convenient to carry the set around while travelling or when making use of its outdoors. Furthermore, its 24 half pan colors give you a wide range of mixing possibilities and combinations. The pan set measures 9.25 by 4.75 by 1.5 inches.
This honey-based watercolor produces beautiful paintings with perfect transparency. Also, the Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle comes with a color chart which provides details of the ASTM rating, level of opacity/transparency, color number as well as the name of the color. Being an international product, it provides the information in French and English.
- Comes with a strap to make it convenient to hold the set in place
- Perfect for travel and outdoor use
- Has space for mixing colors
- Set has 24 half pan colors
- Has a color chart with information written in French and English
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4. Daniel Smith 285610005 Extra Fine Essentials Introductory Watercolor
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Daniel Smith is one of the best watercolor paint brands, especially with regards to lightfastness and permanence. This watercolor will enable you to succinctly capture almost all the bright colors that are present in nature which other typical watercolors cannot capture. The six colors that make up this set come in just the right sizes (5ml each) to enable you to achieve your inspirations.
Whether you have been painting for a long time or just starting out, this watercolor is perfect for you, offering you a unique way of experiencing the excitement that comes with painting. The Daniel Smith 285610005 Extra Fine watercolor has six colors in the set, of which three are cool primary colors: Phthalo Blue, Quinacridone Rose and Hansa Yellow Light and the remaining three are warm primary colors: French Ultramarine, Pyrrol Scarlet, and New Gamboge.
With these six colors, you can paint literally anything you want to paint because it can be mixed into a variety of colors, such as violet, orange and green. Furthermore, this watercolor is produced with top quality pigments, with natural gum Arabic used as the binder and without any filler. In addition to being rich in pigments, this watercolor is very smooth and does not crack when they get dry. Another beautiful feature of this watercolor is that it does not stain and can be used on a variety of surfaces such as Bristol paper, conventional watercolor paper, among others.
- Rich in pigments
- No added fillers
- Can be used on a variety of papers
- Does not crack when dry
- Comes in 6 colors of 5 ml each
- Perfect for professionals and beginners
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5. Holbein Wc W405 Set Of 24 5Ml Tubes
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The European styled Holbein is a transparent paint and one of the best watercolor paint sets available on the market today. You will not find another watercolor paint that is more finely ground than this paint. It is made with animal-derived ingredients and other dispersing agents but without ox-gall. This is why the watercolor produces intense, luminous, pure, excellent colors in addition to improved handling qualities.
Each set contains 24 colors and they come in 5 ml tubes, meaning that you have enough colors to deliver your brilliant ideas on a variety of surfaces. Because it is very rich in pigments, you do not need a lot to produce rich, bright colors; just a small quantity will produce intense and luminous colors on paper. Also, this watercolor is very smooth and does not crack when it dries up. With 24 colors to choose from, you have a variety of colors to finish your work conveniently. However, for colors that are not found in the set, you can simply mix the colors to get the desired shade. Whether you are a beginner or an established artist, this watercolor is for you.
- This product is more finely grounded that other comparable brands
- It is made with animal by-products
- Each set has 24 colors, housed in 5ml tubes
- Produces intense and bright paintings
- Does not crack when dry
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6. M. Graham GRM-33-10SET Intermediate 10-Color Watercolor Paint Set
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The M. Graham watercolor is produced from a traditional blend of natural gum Arabic, pigment and pure blackberry honey, delivering gorgeous paintings with no exhausting outlines. Since it has natural honey as one of its major ingredients, this watercolor has the ability to absorb moisture from the air, thereby guarding against the watercolor getting hardened while painting or inside the tube. The watercolor is also very easy to use, all you need to do is add a little water if you want to make the paints lighter and add more pigment to get darker shades.
Since the colors of this paint are very strong, sometimes you have to dilute it to get exactly what you want out of the colors. As one of the best watercolor paints, the M. Graham intermediate stays moist for a longer period of time compared to other paints. Also, the fact that it uses only pure gum Arabic as the pigment medium makes it an excellent artist quality paint. Furthermore, the M. Graham intermediate is one of the best watercolors for beginners because it is easy to paint with it and allows them to see where they make mistakes.
The individual colors in this set have a single pigment and you will not experience any problems with muddying when layering because the paints have high pigmentation. Also, it has an outstanding amount of pigments in each color.
- Have a high amount of pigment
- Made with a blend of natural gum Arabic and pure blackberry honey
- Suitable for beginner and professional artists
- Each set contains 10 colors: Ultramarine Blue, Perm. Aizarin Crimson, Sap Green, Burnt Sienna, Azo Yellow, Pyroll Red, Phthalo Green, Azo Orange, Nickle Quinacridone Gold, and Dioxazine Purple
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7. Winsor & Newton Professional Water Color Compact Set
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The Winsor and Newton Professional Lightweight Sketcher’s box is one of the best professional watercolor set on the market today. It is very difficult to find another watercolor set that has better brilliance, transparency and purity that this one. It has been formulated and produced in accordance with the Windsor and Newton founding principles of making only the best watercolors. All the colors in this set have been chosen and manufactured to provide artists with the greatest choice range, allowing them to utilize any palette that is suitable for their work.
Furthermore, single pigments are used to make the watercolors in this set, meaning that the hue is purer, the colors are cleaner and you can mix a large number of colors before it starts getting muddy. As a matter of fact, this set contains 75 single pigments, which translates to more than seventy-eight percent of the range. Also, the unique pigment dispersion used to produce this watercolor enables it to deliver unrivalled transparency, a critical feature of top quality watercolors.
In addition to transparency, the watercolor has a thin film, thereby allowing the whiteness of the paper to show itself. Moreover, this set also has an AA rated permanence, meaning that anything you paint with this watercolor will remain the same for a long time.
- Has the widest and most balanced selection of pigments
- Its permanence is unrivalled
- Fewer watercolors have better brilliance and transparency
- Each set contains 12 tubes of 5ml each
- The colors include: Burnt Umber, Winsor Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Winsor Yellow, Alizarine Cramoise Permanent, Winsor Blue, Scarlett Lake, Burnt Sienna, Viridian, Lamp Black, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber 8098
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8. SHINHAN Professional Watercolor Paint 7.5ml Tubes
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If you have been painting for a long time and need a watercolor that will satisfy your needs without taking too much money, the ShinHan watercolor paint is perfect for you. As one of the best professional watercolors paints available on the market today, it is professionally formulated to satisfy all your painting needs. Also, the ShinHan possesses top-level lightfastness and adhesiveness.
Furthermore, this watercolor is made with the purest pigments as well as top quality gum Arabic which give your paintings a bright and lively color that retain its beauty for a long time. As a matter of fact, with this watercolor, you can easily blend and mix to get the color you need. Since this paint is not toxic, it is safe for use by children who are taking their first steps into painting. If you like to paint on the go, the ShinHan is perfect for you because it is portable to carry around.
- The Colors are crisp, vibrant, clear, transparent and strongly pigmented
- Top grade of lightfastness and adhesiveness
- The set is portable
- Each set contains 30 crisp colors
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9. Watercolor Paint Set by Crafts 4 All 24 Premium Quality
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The colors in this watercolor set are produced from carefully selected, top quality materials resulting in one of the best watercolor set. This watercolor is carefully and expertly formulated to deliver the maximum brilliance and clarity to any painting you undertake. In addition, it has a butterfly consistency which makes it easy for artists to mix and blend the colors. Each set comes with twenty-four clear and crisp hues, three free paint brushes and a color palette. Also, this watercolor is safe for children because it is made with only non-toxic materials.
Furthermore, this watercolor is made in a unique way, allowing you to get dark and light shades by adding a drop of water. Do not be scared of mixing the colors of this watercolor because they produce smooth, delicate and diverse hues that will leave your painting brilliant. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about your beautiful work fading away, because, with this paint, they will remain the same for a very long time.
It is also one of the best professional watercolor paints because they are made from top quality pigments, resulting in a painting that is lightfast and permanent. Furthermore, this watercolor contains a binder that allows it to deliver more pigment with every stroke, but still retain all the excellent features on conventional watercolor. Therefore whether you are handling a small or large project, this best watercolor brand is perfect for you.
- Each set contains 12ml tubes of 24 colors.
- Colors can be made darker or lighter by adding a little water
- Paints are non-toxic
- Perfect for professionals and beginners
- Colors produce brilliant, crisp and permanent paintings
- Comes with a bonus of 3 paint brushes
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10. Daveliou Watercolor Paint Set
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The Daveliou is perfect for those who are aspiring to be good painters in the future because it is a premium quality paint that aims to help build one’s confidence in their ability. Hence, it is one of the best watercolor paint for beginners. All the pigments in this watercolor are pure and have been carefully chosen to produce top quality color intensity for your paintings. Furthermore, with this paint set, you can create the perfect blend of colors, from light to dark by adding water to it.
The paints in this set are made to rewet instantly, which means that they do not deteriorate inside the tube or on the palette when you pour it out. Also, its protective screw caps ensure that the paint quality remains the same for a very long time. In addition to the fact that this paint does not contain animal by-products, it is finely grounded, allowing it to flow out smoothly and easily out of the tube. Furthermore, none of the ingredients is toxic, making it a perfect gift for children who intend to take their first steps in painting.
- Made from non-toxic ingredients
- Easy to mix and blend the colors
- They rewet instantly
- High grade pigments
- Easy to pour out paint from the tube
- Comes in 24 colors of 12ml tubes
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Buying Guide: Things To Looks for When Select Watercolors Paints
Apart from the 10 best watercolor brands that have been included in this watercolor paints review, there are still a lot of options available on the market. For this reason, you need to be aware of what to look out for when you need to buy a watercolor paint so you can make the right choice. Here is a list of things to look out for when planning to buy a watercolor.
Similar to acrylic paints, watercolor paints comes in artist or student quality. While artist’s grade watercolor possess a high amount of finely grounded pigment and better permanence, student types will probably have cheaper pigments with a greater amount of fillers and extenders. The one you will choose is largely dependent on your pocket and objectives. It’s true that professional standard watercolor paints are more expensive, delivering top quality transparency, intensity and permanence.
Hence, if you are just taking your first steps into painting, it is advisable, to begin with beginner’s colors. As you progress, purchase a few professional grade watercolor and judge if you have progressed well. However, even if you do not succeed, remember that professional grade watercolors have a longer lifespan and are useful if you want to paint something that will last for a long time.
Watercolors come in a variety of colors and their features depend on the brand. Even though it is true that you can make new colors by mixing primary colors, however, they may not be as bright and lively as original colors. Since all of us cannot buy every color we need, so you have to consider certain things with regards to getting a versatile palette. Some essential features are permanence, lightfastness and transparency, but choosing colors is ultimately down to your preference. However, when starting off, get a basic color palette and add other colors as you gain experience and identify the colors that work for you.
Also, it is advisable for beginners to purchase a reliable professional grade watercolor set if they are buoyant as this gives them a good starting point and they can add more colors as they progress. That said if you intend to buy separate tubes, obtain a color palette guide to help you choose the best colors. Note that color names are not similar across the board and as such two brands may utilize a similar color name but different pigments, thus producing diverse shades. Hence, if you want to buy a particular color from another brand, it is better to check for the specific pigment used to make the color (usually with a code name such a PR101). Finally, if you notice that “hue” is written after the name of the pigment, it is likely that it is a replacement for the original pigment.
Staining vs. Non-staining
While certain watercolor paints stain the paper you use to draw, others get dry on the paper and you can simply scrape it off or use a sponge to remove it. If you are just starting out, this should not bother you much. However, if you have to use a layering or “lift-off” method, it is advisable to ensure that your colors are a good blend of staining and non-staining ones. Certain non-staining pigments can mix up with paints on top, thus muddying the colors and reducing luminosity. However, even for professional artist’s, it is difficult to know if a color will stain just by looking at it since it depends on the manufacturer. You can test for staining by allowing the paint to dry and checking how much pigment is left after scraping it off. It is better to take this precautionary measure before you buy a watercolor paint because any mistake you make with the watercolor paint can be very difficult to reverse.
Pans vs. Tubes
Watercolors typically come in pans and tubes. Pans come in trays containing solid colors that are brought to life with water. They are more portable and are perfect if you want to paint outdoors. Also, you will not use much paint at a time when taking from a pan, which makes it more economical. However, the disadvantage with pans is that they are less suitable for bigger washes or mixing.
Tubes contain wet, paste-like watercolor in different sizes. You can buy them individually or in the set and are more suitable for artists that paint in a studio or for bigger paintings with broad washes. With tubes, you can waste a lot of watercolor paints, especially if you are a beginner. However, if you are a professional artist, tubes are more convenient.
Even though the paints do not differ in quality by what is used to pack them, watercolor in tubes are not suitable for re-wetting. Also, they have the lesser amount of preservatives and when you re-wet your painting with water, you may be adding mold to it. Lastly, tube watercolors tend to get duller when you re-wet it over and over again and will likely get crumbly.
How to Use Watercolor Paints
It is very easy to use watercolor paints. First make sure that you get all the supplies you need to start painting. Before you start, you have to create a comfortable workspace. Pick a place that gets enough natural light and if you have to work at night, get a good desk lamp. Then, ensure that all the supplies you will be using a close to you, but allow enough space to maneuver easily. Keep your palettes, brushes and water containers on your dominant side, while paper towels and other tools should be on the less dominant side.
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Do not leave your brushes inside the water containers because they will not be clean and will spoil its tips. Hold your paper firmly to the drawing board with a tape and raise the base to get a good angle. Next, pick the colors you want to use; it is advisable to use yellow, red and blue as primary colors and mix them as required if you need to use other colors. Add other colors as your painting requires. Make sure you understand the basics of using warm and cool colors as you progress.
The aim of this watercolor paints review is to provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the best watercolors available on the market today. Even though this list is not exhaustive of all the best watercolors available on the market, but these are some of the watercolors that will help you learn how to paint if you are a learner or help you create amazing paintings if you are a professional. However, it is always advisable to decide on what you want in a watercolor paint before you go ahead and buy one. By so doing, you will get a watercolor paint that suits your painting needs.