Watercolor Sets

Watercolor Sets

How to Choose a Watercolor Set

Painting with watercolors is a funny activity that is suitable even for beginners. How to choose a watercolor set? Irreplaceable watercolor is the choice of real aesthetes. The kits are available in tubes (a liquid form of watercolors) and pans ( in dry form). 12, 16, 24, or 36 color kits are enough for over a year! You will also need thick watercolor sheets, several types of brushes. For convenience, all this can be purchased together in one set. This way, you get all the tools you need, and they are also consistent with each other.

A good-quality watercolor paint kit consists of a wide variety of paint types, as well as drawing tools. It can also be distinguished depending on the skills level. The watercolor set classifies according to some basic properties. All of them determine the belonging of the watercolor kit to one of the types – student or professional. There are also portable watercolor sets (for those who like to paint on the way or outdoors).


A watercolor art set is made up of varying amounts of pigments. Professional kits consist of paints that contain a lot of it. That makes their texture richer. Such types of watercolor sets have vibrant saturated tones and a wider range of colors available. Student grade cheap watercolor sets are made using fewer pigments that are replaced by more economical binders and fillers.

It is quite logical that the price of both watercolor kits is different. However, the distinction between them is not so significant, provided that both types were made adhering to all production technologies and using quality material. Moreover, beginners cannot always tell the difference between a student and professional watercolor set.


Watercolors have one huge advantage - new colors can be created by mixing base shades. First, it saves money, and, second, allows you to create your own shades, the analog of which may not be included in the watercolor painting kits. Moreover, it is impossible to achieve some of the shades that a certain pigment can give. However, it all depends on your style as well as the result you are striving for.

Not all pigments are identical. Some of them are quite expensive due to the material that underpins them. Very often, these are rare minerals. Watercolor sets for beginners, as a rule, consist of those paints, natural pigments in which are replaced with fillers. Professional grade kits, in turn, are distinguished by the high quality of the material used. By the way, here is a piece of advice. If you see the word shade after the name of the pigment, then it is not a natural substance, but filler.

Permanence and Transparency

Another characteristic of the paint is its ability to maintain the brightness of the light. However, not all paints do it in the same way. Again, a lot depends on the pigments or rather their quality. Artificial substitutes do not have a sufficiently high lightfastness. Watercolor sets also have a similar mark, indicating the level of lightfastness, which is measured in the ASTM system.

Artists love this characteristic the most. Moreover, it is a distinctive feature of watercolor, since other types of paints do not have the transparency that can be achieved when using a watercolor kit. The bottom line is that light can penetrate deep into the colors and create a blur effect due to the refraction of the rays, which is a kind of optical effect. All watercolor kits indicate whether the paint is transparent or opaque. To create a multi-layer effect, only watercolor sets with transparent paint are suitable.


Not all paints are absorbed equally into the surface. Some penetrate deep into the fibers, making it impossible to correct, while others remain on the surface. That is also related to the pigment. Those paints that are less absorbed - mix worse as well. That is the factor to consider, especially if you plan on mixing colors frequently. Besides, you can experiment with colors to see which ones mix and which don't.

Tubes and Pans

You can purchase a watercolor paint kit, which can consist of both tubes and pans or half-pans. Two main types of paint packaging differ significantly. There are:

  • •    Liquid paint in tubes;
  • •    Dry or semi-dry watercolor in pans.

To use pans, wet them with water. The tube paint is ready to use immediately. Besides, it is generally accepted that tubes are a tool for professionals, while pans – for beginners. That is true and not true at the same time. Most likely, advanced painters would prefer professional watercolor sets, which consist of tubes for one simple reason – the paint is enough for working on huge-scale canvases. For that matter, in pans, there is much less paint. One more point: watercolor travel kits usually consist of pans, since they are more convenient to carry and apply to the surface.

The disadvantage of it, in turn, is that some manufacturers neglect the quality, and the paint dries up after several uses. However, it does not apply to those cases when the item is of high-quality. In this case, it gets soaked well upon contact with water. Paints in tubes mix more easily and economically. Depending on the size of a watercolor kit, paints can contain either basic or additional colors. That applies to both types of packaging. Watercolor painting kits usually contain 6 colors.

Watercolor Sets for Beginners

Use pans if you are just learning the basics of the art. First, they already contain the base colors needed to create the painting. Besides, pan`s advantage is that you can always fill an empty cell with paint from a tube. Also, you can mix colors and get new shades.

Best beginner watercolor paints are very easy to use, since applying paint from a tube is much more difficult than just dipping a wet brush into an already prepared substance. Besides, convenient packaging only contributes to versatility. It is firm and flat enough to be carried with you wherever you want. In this respect, it is more complicated to work with tubes. You can use a set of the pan as a watercolor field kit. Besides, you do not need to additionally carry a palette with you, since it is already in it.

In terms of quality, all watercolor sets for beginners are made at a certain level that can meet your expectations and skill level. Watercolor paint sets highlight your personality and help to reveal abilities. In the future, you can try using a professional watercolor paint set, which will be discussed below.

Professional Watercolor Sets

They are no different from the first type, actually. The variety is more visible in quality indicators. It is also available in both tubes and pans, the same as at the beginners` level. Professional watercolor sets can contain only the most popular colors, as well as more exotic ones. The same applies to the pans. The amount of pigments in such paints is greater, and the colors are more saturated. A distinctive feature of professional watercolor sets, in general, is also high lightfastness.

Such paints mix well and penetrate deep into the surface, creating an even texture of the picture. As a rule, a professional watercolor set consists of transparent paint, as it remains more in demand among advanced artists. It also includes a color mixing palette. Professional watercolor sets are usually made of metal or wood, as these are the materials best suited for mixing paints. In this case, the plastic comes short of them in its practicality.

Traveling Watercolor Kit

The watercolor field is a great idea for a gift to a loved one. Also, it is a tool that will come in handy when you don't expect it. One may long enumerate the advantages of a portable watercolor set. Here are the most basic ones:

  • •    The opportunity to do what you love on the way, in a hike;
  • •    Comfortability, small size;
  • •    Contains everything you need to create paintings;
  • •    Convenient for those who often forget brushes or other tools (all included);
  • •    No need to think ahead of what to take with you for the road;
  • •    The color palette includes only the most necessary colors from which you can create any other;
  • •    Convenient packaging;
  • •    Different types of decoration (bag, folder, backpack, etc.).

As a rule, such sets include everything you need, without which it is impossible to paint. The only exception is water, which must be taken separately.

What Does the Traveling Watercolor Kit Consist of?

The developers include only the most necessary things, so you don't need to rely on the refinement or uniqueness of the details, but you can be sure of the convenience. The travel kit consists of:

  • •    drawing surface (sketchbook, drawing paper, the canvas that can be folded);
  • •    set of paints (tubes or pans);
  • •    brush (one or more);
  • •    palette;
  • •    pencil and sharpener;
  • •    other tools.

The content of the watercolor field kits may differ depending on the price category, dimensions, and purpose.

Mixed Sets

You can buy watercolor sets, which consist of a variety of tools and differ in sizes. For example, a watercolor art set with watercolor paint sheets would be a great gift idea. Alternatively, you can look at bigger sets, similar to a watercolor travel kit, but which includes a much larger number of paints or tubes. It may also include additional accessories, such as a wooden stick, sponge, watercolor pencils, sketchbooks with watercolor paper, etc.

In addition to the division into professional and student grade sets, one also divides it into children and adult kits. Moreover, there are also separate sets of watercolor paper too. It may include a different number of special watercolor sheets that are suitable and compatible with this particular type of paint. By the way, watercolor paint sheets have very distinctive features suitable only for watercolor. Painting on the common piece of paper has no sense, indeed.

Solid Watercolor Blocks. Such paint is sold in sets, which includes basic colors. Watercolor sets are an economical option for schools, kindergartens, and other educational institutions, or novice artists. There is no point in paying for professional liquid paints in tubes, which we will discuss below, if you just begin practicing. Nevertheless, solid watercolors must be of high quality too. It is used for drawing posters or for creating the first pictures.

Semi-Solid Watercolor Pans. Semi-solid watercolor paints apply smoothly on the surface and have bright and rich colors. Such paints mix well, take long-term benefits. Besides, you can buy watercolor pan sets at a very affordable price. As a rule, a watercolor pan is either in cardboard or plastic boxes. However, experienced watercolor painters prefer ones in a plastic package, since cardboard packaging gets dirty very quickly when mixing paints. Buyers can choose from two types of semi-solid paint: watercolor half pans and watercolor pan paints. Both have an identical chemical composition and other properties. Nevertheless, there is a small difference which lies in its size. The watercolor pan is twice bigger than half pans.

Liquid Watercolor Paints. Watercolor in tubes is considered to be the classics. Besides, it is convenient to work with when painting large pictures. Artists usually buy a big liquid watercolor set since they need a lot of it to work with large-size paper. Moreover, professional watercolorists prefer watercolor tube paints due to the previously stated reasons. Nevertheless, according to some artists, the paint falls on the brush unevenly, and sometimes the strokes on the canvas also leave uneven ones. Therefore, for the wet-on-wet technique, such a watercolor is not suitable.

If you wonder where to buy a liquid watercolor set, do it in our store. Moreover, choose watercolor tube paints, which include the base colors. Such watercolor can be used for a long time. Also, use a palette to mix it. Some watercolor tubes provide a palette as a gift. The advantages of liquid watercolor are the brightness of shades, and interesting combinations of colors. It is also used when working with an airbrush.

All about Liquid Watercolor Paints

Watercolor painting is not easy. Someone gets along with it, and someone categorically avoids, not understanding and not accepting such material. Illustrators prefer liquid watercolor, but it is widely used for sketches as well. What is liquid watercolor and how to apply it? Liquid watercolor has the same properties as an ordinary watercolor in half pans.

  • •    Huge range of colors and shades;
  • •    Saturation;
  • •    You can experiment with semi-transparent layers;
  • •    Mix well.

In fact, its properties resemble colored ink, which is used for calligraphy but has all the properties of watercolor. Open a tube and start painting, adjusting the color with water. Nevertheless, the jar packaging can be a problem. Storing such paints will immediately require a fairly big amount of space and a reliable box. In that case, watercolor in tubes is easier to use. However, pay attention that it is denser, in turn.

Liquid watercolor colors are bright. You can achieve very beautiful transparency. There are many pure pastel shades too. It is usually best to buy bright, basic shades at once and mix them. For that matter, they mix well, both with each other and with ordinary watercolors.

Pastel shades, however, will not become brighter if you layer them. There are some problems in that case. When water gets on the already dried layer of paint, spots often appear. Moreover, if you use a brush, you can generally make a white spot. So this is one of the disadvantages, but you can adapt to such nuances. To get liquid watercolors from a jar, we use pipette. One may ask: why pipette, not a brush? Still, it will be a kind of insurance that one color does not get into another, when using brushes. Besides, you cannot wash the paint off, which is, although, possible when working with ordinary watercolor sets.

You can use a palette, preferably porcelain or metal (forget about plastic!). If the paint has dried on the palette, you can easily dilute it again with water. There are frequent complaints that the color fades and sometimes changes. Therefore, it is better to scan the originals of works, in particular illustrative. Do not hang the original work on the wall. Nevertheless, it all depends on the quality of the tube watercolors.

What Should You Know Before Painting with Liquid Watercolor?

To paint huge pictures, artists use watercolor in tubes. Their big plus is that the colors barely mix, as they are squeezed out separately and applied to a certain place on paper or canvases. However, it should be borne in mind that the tube watercolor is very soft and is applied to the brush by squeezing it. That does not always have a good effect on the even distribution of pigments, though, which can be considered a disadvantage. If you work in definite techniques, such as glazing, then such nuances will hardly be noticeable, since the layers of paint overlap each other, hiding the flaws. However, if you choose the alla-prima technique, which, as you know, involves working on a wet surface, then you need to be careful not to allow uneven distribution of the pigment.

In general, liquid watercolor is more comfortable to use when painting in a classic style. However, nothing is impossible for an experienced artist, who perfectly copes with the task even when working in a wet-on-wet technique with liquid watercolors. The only question is whether you prefer such a painting style. It is important to remember that if you do not use liquid watercolor for a long time, it can deteriorate. For example, the pigment can separate from the binder.

Aerograph is well suited for working with liquid watercolors. However, it is important to remember to use distilled water to dilute the paints. Then it will blend well and create beautiful patterns on paper. Another plus is a wide selection of colors and shades that will appeal to beginners. Professionals, on the contrary, often buy only primary colors to create the desired shade on their own.

All about Solid Watercolor Paints

Watercolor pans are dry rectangles of paint. The paint is poured into special cells (called pans) and dried, after which it is packaged in sets or remained separately and sold. There are cuvettes of different sizes - for example, professionals prefer watercolor full pan. People who paint not so often, in turn, can purchase half pans. Furthermore, watercolor half pan sets are convenient because their inner side may be used as a palette. In this case, it is better to choose metal boxes with enamel. Plastic is also often used, but some artists avoid it.

In ancient times, only solid watercolor paints existed. In the modern world, it is more appreciated when working on drawings or posters. However, high-quality watercolor cakes sets can also be helpful for more sophisticated work, such as landscape or still life painting. In student-grade paints, glue and potato syrup serves as the blending agent. Sometimes other substances are added, such as honey or gum arabic.

To understand that you have high-rated solid watercolor paints in front of you, you need to know that their consistency is something in between. They should be firm enough not to break at the first touch. If a lot of gum arabic is present in the paints, then the watercolor half pan becomes fragile. The more sugar it contains, the more solid the paints are. If animal glue dominates, then the paints will easily crumble in the hands. As a reminder, good solid watercolor paints are not too soft.

How to Use Solid Watercolor Paints?

Typically, watercolor pan paints are used, when it is necessary to perform work on relatively small areas of the paper. For example, if an artist has a sketchbook at hand, he can quickly sketch a drawing. If it were necessary to paint huge pictures, then mixing paints would take much more time than the painting process itself, and besides, it is not always convenient to wash the paints out of the pans. As for the chemical composition, there should be enough honey, molasses, and glycerin in the watercolor. However, an excessive amount of the listed substances can cause paints to adhere poorly to the surface.

Semi-solid paints are heavier than solid ones. For their preparation, the same chemicals are used. However, their concentration is slightly different. For example, water is also taken, without which watercolor can hardly be called watercolor. Gum arabic also remains as a binder agent. Dextrin is often added to it too. Manufacturers use a lot of honey in watercolor paint pans as well. Glycerin is added to more budget paints, in turn. It should be noted that the best quality semi-solid watercolor paints are made of pure gum arabic. Candy sugar is sometimes also used in professional-grade paints (its concentration is from 15 to 45 percent).

The paint that is sold in cans is immediately ready for use. You can draw with both a brush and an aerograph. The liquid watercolor does not leave a residue even after long-term storage. If there are particles of dried paint on the palette, it can be soaked with water and used again.


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