How to Choose Professional Watercolor Paints for Artists and Beginners | Artistro

How to Choose the best Watercolor Paints for Professionals and Beginners

What are the best watercolor paints and what to look for when buying them? Find these and other professional artist tips in our article!

Watercolor is a paint based on water-soluble glue with the addition of a coloring pigment. Watercolors can be diluted with water easily, creating smooth color transitions. It is thanks to this property that these paints got their name.
Watercolors come in several forms: liquid, solid, semi-solid, even pencil. Just as watercolors differ in format and design, so they differ in quality and applicability.

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The Main Criteria for Choosing Good Quality Watercolor Paints

How to choose the best quality watercolors? Let's take a closer look at the main criteria that should be followed when choosing a watercolor set:

  • quality of paints;
  • shades and their variability;
  • lightfastness of paints;
  • transparency;
  • manufacturer.

So, what are the best watercolor paints? To evaluate the quality of watercolors correctly, you need to pay attention to the following indicators: the degree of transparency and lightfastness, the amount of pigments, as well as graininess (paint granularity). Usually, all this information can be found on the product label, it is enough to be able to decipher the symbols.

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Pigmentation of watercolors. Standard pigmentation includes one or two pigments, rarely three pigments; using more pigments is rather an exception. The exact color can be identified by the name of the color indicator. For example, "PY3" is the designation for the hansa yellow light pigment.

Lightfastness of paint. Lightfastness is another important indicator that determines how long your masterpiece will not fade and retain the brightness of the entire palette. Depending on what types of watercolor painting suite you better, higher or lower lightfastness may work for you. Since lightfastness, in fact, is the durability of your painting, be sure to pay attention to this indicator when buying watercolors. Typically, lightfastness is indicated by the words "good" or "excellent", but sometimes Roman numbering is used. According to the ASTM scale, the number I stands for over 100 years, II for up to 100 years, and III for 50-70 years of lightfastness, respectively.

watercolor set

Grainy paints. Regarding graininess, it is important to choose watercolors with a fine grain texture. The disadvantage of granulated paint is that due to the uneven distribution of microparticles (granules) after drying, such paint forms a granular texture. This is caused by the heavier pigment granules, due to their larger size and weight, in comparison with small pigments. The presence and / or the possibility of paint granulation is also indicated on the package with the letter G. The Y and N sign means the possibility or absence of granulation, respectively.

Transparency of watercolors. Transparency and the ability to create light airy transitions are precisely what watercolors are most prized for. Translucent paints create a more intense pattern and blend well with each other, minimizing the effect of contamination. Opaque watercolors, like multi-pigment watercolors, are quite difficult to use and require professional mixing and careful post-processing.

Therefore, beginners are encouraged to use single-pigment clear watercolors, while professionals can experiment with multi-pigment and granular paints.

Experienced artists can turn the Achilles heel of granular paints to their advantage. These paints can be used to create a stunning relief texture effect.

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How to Choose the Optimal Set of Watercolors

It is recommended for beginners to start with a small set of 12-14 colors, this is the best beginner watercolor paints to start. In these sets colors are adapted so that when you mix you can get many shades. And later, when you decide on your personal palette, you can add those colors that suit you personally.Working with a basic color palette helps you:

  • Understand pigmentation and how to obtain color derivatives;
  • Learn to work with a limited palette, defining warm / cold colors;
  • Find a budget solution, save finances to expand the palette later.
  • Based on this, in any base palette, there must be basic watercolor colors, pairs of warm and cold triad colors: red, yellow, blue tones.
watercolor paints

Still wondering "Where can I buy watercolor paint?" We will offer you some helpful tips to help you make your final decision. Nowadays, different manufacturers offer quite interesting and convenient sets: with or without a palette, in a metal or plastic box. The best choice is a set with a built-in palette, since you do not need to buy it separately. The metal box is another definite plus, it will last longer, more convenient to use and easy to clean.

Artistro Watercolor Paint Set offers 48 colors, including additional fluorescent and metallic shades. It also includes additional tools and a color scheme. The set is quite compact, easy to transport when you need to work outdoors or in the office, and has budget-friendly price.

Watercolors are rather complex, but at the same time, a very interesting art tool that can and should be talked about, sharing your knowledge with novice artists. In this overview article, we wanted to tell you the intricacies of watercolors and how to choose the right art supplies.

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