Best Beginner Watercolor Paints: Top Picks for New Artists!

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours are an excellent choice for beginner watercolor artists. Sakura’s Koi Water Color Field Sketch Travel Kit also provides a solid start with its portability and quality.

Starting with watercolor painting can feel overwhelming, but selecting the right paints makes a significant difference. Beginner artists often seek a balance between quality and affordability, aiming to practice techniques without excessive investment. High-grade paints provide better pigmentation and blending capabilities, fostering an enjoyable learning experience.

Paint sets designed for novices typically include a spectrum of essential colors, allowing for experimentation and exploration. As a beginner, it’s important to choose paints that are user-friendly and come with a helpful color palette to encourage practice and growth in this art form. Whether aspiring to create landscapes, portraits, or abstract pieces, starting with user-recommended paint kits can set the foundation for a fulfilling watercolor journey.

Choosing Watercolor Paints For Beginners

Welcome to the colorful world of watercolor painting! If you’re a beginner, picking the right paints can feel like a challenge. Fear not, as this guide will take you through important considerations to help you select watercolors that best suit your budding artistic journey.

Key Factors In Selecting Watercolors

When embarking on your painting endeavors, several key aspects can influence your choice of watercolors:

  • Pigment Quality: Looks for paints with high-quality pigments for vibrant colors.
  • Permanence: Opt for paints that don’t fade easily over time.
  • Transparency: Transparency affects the layering of colors, essential in watercolor techniques.
  • Granulation: This adds texture to your work and is a matter of personal preference.
  • Color Range: A good set includes a spectrum of colors for mixing possibilities.

Balancing Quality And Price

Finding a middle ground between cost and quality is crucial:

Quality Level Price Point Best For
Artist Grade Higher Serious beginners planning long-term.
Student Grade Moderate Those on a budget but need decent quality.
Craft Grade Lower Casual dabblers and experimental use.

Beginners often start with student-grade paints, which offer a good compromise between pigment quality and price. As skills improve, upgrading to artist-grade paints becomes worth the investment. Always consider your commitment level and budget before making a decision.

Watercolor Types: Tubes Vs. Pans

Starting with watercolors is exciting, but the choice between tubes and pans can be confusing. Watercolors come in two primary forms. Tubes are moist paints squeezed out onto a palette, while pans are small cakes of dried paint you activate with water. Each has its own merits and quirks. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of these formats to help budding artists decide.

Pros And Cons Of Tubes

Tubes offer vibrant, intense colors that are perfect for larger areas. They’re versatile, allowing artists to mix a wide range of shades. The ability to adjust the paint’s thickness simply by adding more or less water provides unparalleled control. Despite these benefits, tubes might not be ideal for every artist.

  • Pros:
    • Easily mixable for custom colors
    • Good for covering large areas
    • Fresh paint offers vibrant hues
    • Control paint thickness with water
  • Cons:
    • Requires more setup and cleanup
    • Can dry out if not sealed properly
    • Potentially more wasteful

Advantages Of Pan Sets

Pan sets are known for their convenience. They’re compact, making them great for travel. Pan paints are also long-lasting and require minimal maintenance. Ideal for small, intricate work, they are the preferred choice for many beginners. However, they do have their limitations.

Advantages Limitations
Portable and easy to set up Less vibrant than tube paints
Minimal wastage Can be difficult to mix large quantities
Long-lasting Small pans may limit brush size
Ideal for detail work Requires re-wetting to activate

Top Recommended Watercolor Sets

Welcome to the world of watercolor painting, where creativity meets the canvas with a splash of water and color. Starting as a beginner can feel overwhelming, but the right set of paints can make all the difference. Let’s dive into the top recommended watercolor sets tailored for budding artists. Your journey to becoming a watercolor wizard starts here!

Budget-friendly Options

Kickstart your artistic endeavors without breaking the bank. Here’s a selection of quality yet affordable watercolor sets:

  • Sakura Koi Watercolor Kit: Portable and vibrant, perfect for beginners.
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers’ Pocket Box: Compact and travel-friendly, it offers excellent value.
  • Prang Watercolor Paint Set: Offers good transparency and is easy to blend.

Mid-range Favorites

For the evolving artist, these mid-range watercolor sets strike a balance between quality and affordability:

Set Features
Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set High pigment load, perfect for practicing blending.
Da Vinci Watercolor Palette Eco-friendly with refillable pans and intense colors.
Rembrandt Watercolor Starter Set Professional grade with excellent lightfastness.

Premium Selections For Serious Starters

For those ready to invest in their passion, these premium sets offer superior performance:

  1. Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Half-Pan Paint Metal Set: Top-notch quality with finely ground pigments.
  2. Daniel Smith Introductory Watercolors: Known for their outstanding vibrancy and permanence.
  3. QoR Watercolor Introductory Set: Modern innovations deliver rich, buttery paints.

Understanding Pigment And Transparency

Embarking on a watercolor journey starts with picking the right paints. Beginners often overlook two crucial aspects, pigment and transparency. Grasping these concepts will immensely impact the quality of your artwork. Let’s dive into why these elements are vital for any budding watercolor artist.

Why Pigment Matters

Pigments are the soul of watercolor paints. They give color to the paint. Quality pigments ensure vibrant hues and good lightfastness. Lightfastness means how well a color resists fading over time. Strong pigments translate to beautiful, long-lasting artworks.

Here’s how pigment quality affects your watercolor experience:

  • Color Vibrancy: High-quality pigments provide brighter colors.
  • Mixing Clarity: Pure pigments mix cleanly, creating a wide range of shades.
  • Fade Resistance: Artist-grade paints with high pigment quality won’t fade quickly.

Transparency Vs. Opacity In Watercolors

Transparency refers to how much light can pass through the paint and reflect off the paper. Opacity is the opposite – it blocks light. Both have unique properties that affect the final outcome of your painting.

Property Transparency Opacity
Visual Effect Glowing, luminous layers Bold, solid coverage
Layering Friendly Excellent for glazes Covers underlying colors
Textural Quality Subtle shifts in color Heavier, tangible feel

Understanding the balance between transparent and opaque watercolors is key. Transparent watercolors are ideal for delicate, light-filled paintings. They’re perfect for glazing techniques where layers build depth. Opaque watercolors cover well and provide a strong presence in a composition. They’re great for adding highlights or correcting small mistakes.

Brushes And Paper For Watercolor Beginners

Welcome to the enchanting world of watercolors, a realm where imagination merges with hues to create art. Navigating this colorful journey as a beginner can be both thrilling and a bit overwhelming. Fret not, future artists! This guide will help you grasp the essentials of brushes and paper – two pillars that fortify the foundation of watercolor painting. Let’s dive in!

Choosing The Right Brushes

For those about to embark on their watercolor quest, selecting the right brushes is crucial. Brushes are the wands of painters, and choosing wisely can work magic on paper:

  • Round brushes: Ideal for versatility and perfect for beginners.
  • Sable hair brushes: They are top-notch but pricier. Try synthetic blends as a cost-effective option.
  • Flat brushes: Great for filling larger areas and creating bold strokes.
  • The size number tells you about the brush size. Start with sizes 6 and 8.

Remember, quality matters. A few good brushes are better than a heap of poor ones. Test different types and find what feels best to you.

Selecting Watercolor Paper

Ever noticed how paper can affect your painting outcome? Selecting watercolor paper is as important as picking the right brushes. A sturdy foundation can transform your work from good to great:

Paper Type Weight Texture
Cold-pressed Medium-weight Textured, absorbent
Hot-pressed Smooth-weight Smooth, less absorbent
Rough Heavy-weight Highly textured

Begin with cold-pressed 140lb paper – it’s forgiving and versatile for starters. Know that paper quality can elevate your painting experience exponentially, so invest in good paper.

Mixing Watercolors: A Learner’s Guide

Embarking on a watercolor journey brings a world of creativity to your doorstep. Mastering the art of watercolor mixing is a thrilling step for any beginner. Learn to blend colors effortlessly and express your artistic flair with every brushstroke.

Basic Color Mixing Techniques

Understanding color theory is the first key to watercolor magic. Master the primary colors – red, yellow, and blue. These are your mixing pillars. With them, you create a rainbow of possibilities.

  • Blend two primaries to create secondary colors like green, orange, and purple.
  • Pair a secondary with a primary for tertiary colors like blue-green or red-orange.
  • Explore with a light touch; watercolor is forgiving, allowing for adjustments and layers.

Test color mixes on scrap paper first. It prevents unexpected results on your artwork.

Tips For Consistent Color Palettes

Cultivating a cohesive palette provides harmony in your artwork. Consistency is key. Choose a set of core colors and practice.

Tips Techniques
Limit your mix Start with a few colors to learn their range.
Keep notes Record your color recipes for future reference.
Use a palette Maintain control and clean mixes with dedicated wells.

Create a color chart to visualize your palette’s potential. It acts as a valuable reference for your painting process.

Watercolor Practice Exercises

Embarking on your watercolor journey feels thrilling yet daunting.

Starting with the basics, watercolor practice exercises afford you the skill and confidence to paint.

Simple exercises pave the way for expertise in this expressive medium. Let’s dive into some fun ways to get started!

Simple Projects For Beginners

Focusing on simple projects can lead to impressive progress.

Try these easy tasks:

  • Color Swatching: Understand your palette by painting color swatches.
  • Gradient Washes: Learn to transition colors seamlessly with gradient washes.
  • Simple Shapes: Practice control by painting basic shapes with neat edges.

These projects build muscle memory and brush handling.

Developing Your Painting Skills

As your confidence grows, more complex exercises await.

Focus on:

  • Layering: Learn the technique of glazing to add depth.
  • Texture Creation: Use salt, alcohol, or plastic wrap for intriguing textures.
  • Detail Work: Tackle fine lines and small details for a refined finish.

Remember, patience and practice are key to mastering watercolors.

Tips And Tricks For New Watercolor Artists

Welcome to the colorful world of watercolor painting! As a beginner, it can feel like there’s a lot to learn about this beautiful art form. But don’t worry, with the right tips and tricks, anyone can start creating mesmerizing watercolor art. We’ll dive into how to avoid common pitfalls and proper maintenance of your tools. Every artist starts somewhere, and with these guidelines, that start can be as smooth as a wash of cerulean blue across paper.

Correcting Common Mistakes

Watercolor painting is forgiving. Here are some quick fixes:

  • Too much paint? Use a dry brush to lift color off.
  • Water spills? Blot gently with a paper towel.
  • Muddy colors? Let layers dry before adding new ones.
  • Hard edges? Soften with a wet brush while still damp.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t fear mistakes; embrace them as part of the learning process.

Maintenance And Care Of Supplies

Keep your watercolor supplies in tip-top shape with these habits:

Supplies Care Tips
Brushes Rinse well, reshape bristles, and let air dry.
Paints Close lids tightly to prevent drying out.
Palette Wash after use to avoid color mixing.
Paper Keep flat and dry to avoid warping.

Regular care extends the life of your supplies and makes painting more enjoyable.

Online Resources And Tutorials

Embarking on your watercolor journey is exciting and online resources can be a treasure trove of knowledge. High-quality tutorials are at your fingertips, making it easy to learn techniques at your own pace. Whether you’re into visual learning via YouTube or prefer structured courses, plenty of options await beginners in watercolor painting.

Best Youtube Channels For Beginners

YouTube is an excellent platform to find watercolor lessons. Channels offer free, easy-to-follow tutorials. See our favorites below:

  • The Mind of Watercolor – covers basics to advanced tips
  • Watercolor Misfit – great for beginners’ techniques
  • Lindsay Weirich – offers relaxed, informative tutorials

Websites And Courses For Watercolor Learning

Several websites and platforms offer structured learning through courses. Choose from a variety of formats that suit your learning style:

Platform Details Level
Udemy Hands-on classes with lifetime access Beginner to Advanced
Skillshare Engaging projects with community support Beginner to Intermediate
Domestika Creative courses by industry experts Beginner to Professional

Start with basic classes and progress at your own pace. Practice with projects to enhance your skills. Feedback from a community can also be invaluable as you learn.

Frequently Asked Questions For Best Beginner Watercolor Paints

What Are Good Watercolor Paints For Beginners?

Watercolor paints suitable for beginners offer ease of use, affordability, and quality pigmentation. Brands like Winsor & Newton Cotman, Reeves, and Prang are popular choices. They provide a good balance between quality and price, making them ideal for those new to watercolor painting.

How To Choose Watercolor Paints For Starters?

Beginners should consider watercolor sets with a variety of basic colors to mix a wide range. Opt for non-toxic and lightfast paints. Look for pans or tubes based on your convenience. Starting with student-grade paints is recommended as they are budget-friendly and of decent quality.

Can You Start Watercolor Painting With Tubes Or Pans?

Yes, beginners can start with either watercolor tubes or pans. Tubes are great for mixing large quantities of paint, while pans offer convenience and portability. Personal preference and painting style will dictate the best choice for each individual.

Which Watercolor Set Is Best For Novice Artists?

For novice artists, a set offering a range of easy-to-mix colors, reliability, and affordability is best. The Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Set and the Canson XL Watercolor Pad bundled with a beginner brush set are excellent starters.


Embarking on your watercolor journey requires the right tools. We’ve reviewed an array of beginner-friendly paints perfect for starting this colorful adventure. Whether you prioritize affordability, color range, or ease of use, there’s a set here that will fit your artistic vision and skill level.

Grab your chosen palette, and let those creative juices flow!

Leave a Comment