Art History Lab

Unlocking the Beauty: A Guide to Watercolor Paints and Brushes

Watercolors are a fascinating medium of paint that can transform any artwork into beautiful masterpieces. Watercolors are versatile, affordable, and the colors are vibrant.

They come in various forms, and they are a popular choice among beginners and professional artists alike. If you are new to watercolors, it can be challenging to know where to start.

In this article, we will introduce you to watercolor paints, their pros and cons, and the best watercolors for artists. What is Watercolor Paint?

Watercolor paint is a type of paint that uses a water-soluble binder, such as gum arabic, to suspend color pigments. The binder is what holds the pigments together and helps them adhere to the painting surface.

Watercolor paint is thin and transparent, which means that the paper or surface underneath will show through the paint. Watercolor paints can be used on a variety of surfaces, including watercolor paper, canvas, and even wood.

Watercolor paint comes in several forms, including pans, tubes, and liquid. Pans are dry cakes of paint that are activated by adding water to them.

Tubes contain a more concentrated form of paint, and you can dilute them with water to create your desired consistency. The liquid form of watercolor paint is the most concentrated form, and you can add water to dilute it to your preferred consistency.

Pros and

Cons of Watercolor Paint

Pros of Watercolor Paint

Watercolor paint is affordable, making it accessible to many aspiring artists. You can start with a set of watercolor pans or tubes without breaking the bank.

Watercolor paint is easy to clean up. All you need is water and a paper towel to clean your brushes and surfaces.

Watercolor paint comes in vibrant colors that are transparent and can be layered to create depth and shadows. Watercolor paint dries quickly, which means that you can work on your artwork without waiting for long periods between layers.

Cons of Watercolor Paint

Watercolor paint can be challenging to control. The thin consistency of the paint means that it can flow in unexpected ways, making it hard to control.

Watercolor paint is not very forgiving. Once the paint has dried, it’s difficult to make changes or corrections.

Watercolor paint is not suitable for all surfaces. The thin consistency of watercolor paint means that it can bleed through some types of paper, making it unsuitable for certain projects.

Best Watercolor Set: WINSOR & NEWTON Cotman Pocket Watercolor Set

If you are looking for a high-quality watercolor set that won’t break the bank, the WINSOR & NEWTON Cotman Pocket Watercolor Set is an excellent choice. It is a portable set that comes with 12 half pans of watercolor paint.

The colors are vibrant and lightfast, which means that they won’t fade over time. The set also comes with a watercolor brush, so you don’t need to buy a separate brush.

The WINSOR & NEWTON Cotman Pocket Watercolor Set is perfect for beginners and experienced artists alike. The compact size makes it easy to take with you on the go, and the affordable price point makes it a great value for money.

Best Value For Money: ARTEZA Watercolor Paint

The ARTEZA Watercolor Paint set is an excellent choice for artists who want a high-quality set of watercolors without breaking the bank. The set comes with 12 tubes of watercolor paint, each with a different color.

Each tube contains 12ml of paint, and the pigments are high-quality and vibrant. One of the best things about the ARTEZA Watercolor Paint set is that it is versatile.

You can use it on a variety of surfaces, including watercolor paper, canvas, and even wood. The set also comes with a brush, which means that you don’t need to buy a separate brush.


In conclusion, watercolor paints are an excellent medium for artists looking to create beautiful, vibrant artworks. Watercolor paints are versatile, affordable, and easy to clean.

The pros and cons of watercolor paints are essential to be aware of before you decide to start using them as your primary medium. The WINSOR & NEWTON Cotman Pocket Watercolor Set and ARTEZA Watercolor Paint set are both excellent choices for artists who want high-quality watercolors at an affordable price point.

So go ahead, give watercolors a try, and see what beautiful artworks you can create!Watercolor painting is a great way to express your creativity and emotions on paper. It’s a medium that can breathe life into your art pieces and create vivid and lifelike images with captivating colors.

As an artist, choosing the right watercolor paints for your artwork can be challenging, especially with the numerous options available in the market. In this article, we will dive deeper into the different factors that artists should consider when purchasing watercolor paints.

Additionally, we will look at some of the best watercolor paints and brands in the market that professional artists can opt for. Best Watercolor Paints for Professionals: Schmincke Horadam

If you are a professional artist, you want to invest in high-quality watercolor paints that provide a rich and vibrant color payoff.

One of the best watercolor paint brands available in the market is Schmincke Horadam. This German brand offers premium watercolor paints that are highly pigmented, giving artists exceptional control over the color and texture of their artwork.

Schmincke Horadam watercolor paints come in both tubes and pans and have the unique feature of being formulated with honey. Honey not only helps to enhance the vibrancy of the colors, it also acts as a natural preservative, ensuring that the colors retain their freshness over time.

This creates a smooth and creamy consistency, making the paint easy to work with. Schmincke Horadam’s watercolor paints are also lightfast, giving artists the confidence that their artwork will withstand the test of time.

Famous Watercolor Brands

Several watercolor brands exist in the market today, each with its own unique characteristics and pricing. Popular among them are Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, Holbein, M.

Graham & Co, Sennelier and Daler Rowney. Winsor & Newton is a heritage brand and is known for its high-quality watercolor pigments and has a wide range of colors.

Daniel Smith is another popular brand that artists adore for its vibrant and unique color selection. Holbein is well-known for its heavy pigmentation, color vibrancy, and smooth flow.

M. Graham & Co is known for eco-friendliness, and Sennelier has been in the industry for over a century and is recognized for its high-quality single pigment paints.

Daler Rowney is one of the oldest watercolor brands and has a wide range of student and professional-grade paints. While each brand has its unique selling points, it is important to gauge which type suits your artwork the best.

Tubes or Pans

When purchasing watercolor paints, selecting the right form of paint is as crucial as choosing the right brand. Watercolor paints come in two types – tubes and pans.

Tubes contain thick, highly-pigmented watercolor paint and are perfect for artists who work on larger surfaces or prefer working with a more vibrant and fuller color palette. Pans, on the other hand, are suitable for artists looking to work on smaller surfaces or prefer a more defined or controlled color palette.

Both tubes and pans come in different sizes, which impacts the quantity of paint you receive for the price. Artists who buy large tubes or pans of colors they often use can save money in the long run instead of repeatedly purchasing smaller-sized tubes or pans.

Student-Grade or Professional Paints

Before purchasing watercolor paints, you should consider whether you need student-grade or professional-grade paint. Student-grade paints are less pigmented, contain fewer color options, and are typically sold in smaller-sized tubes, and are more affordable than professional-grade paints.

Professional-grade paints have a higher pigment density, more diverse color options, and are often sold in larger sizes. They tend to have a better lightfastness, color intensity, and offer better color mixing ability.

Artists working on art pieces that are for personal use or hobby artists may consider looking into student-grade paints, while professional artists will require the vibrancy and longevity that professional-grade paints offer. Pigment Density, Lightfastness, Non-Staining vs.

Staining, Granularity, Transparency

Pigment density, lightfastness, staining or non-staining properties, granularity, and transparency are critical factors to consider when purchasing watercolor paints. Pigment density refers to the amount of pigment used in the paint, which directly affects the vibrancy and coverage of the color.

Higher pigment density will enable you to paint deeper, richer colors with fewer layers. Lightfastness is a measure of how resistant the color in the paint is to fading over time.

It is important to ensure that the paints you buy are lightfast, so the colors do not fade with time or exposure to sunlight. Non-staining paints do not leave permanent stains after being washed off, and staining paints are visible even after being washed off.

Granularity refers to the texture of the paint when it dries high granularity creates a textured appearance, while low granularity creates a smooth surface. Transparency refers to how transparent the paint looks on paper.

Paints that have high transparency look less opaque, and give the artist an option to layer colors for a spectrum of hues.


The cost of watercolor paints can vary, depending on the brand, quality, and quantity. Professional-grade paints are typically more expensive than student-grade paints, but the cost often reflects the higher quality, pigmentation, and lightfastness of the paints.

While it’s essential to have high-quality paints, the cost can impact how much paint an artist can afford and the frequency of purchasing.


Choosing the right watercolor paint for your artwork can be overwhelming due to the numerous options available in the market. It is important to consider factors such as the paint consistency, vibrancy, and brand reputation before making your purchase.

Brands such as Schmincke Horadam, Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith are some of the most popular professional-grade watercolor paint brands in the market, along with several brands that offer student-grade and affordable options for artists. Ultimately, purchasing quality watercolor paints can make all the difference in the final art piece.

With the right knowledge of your needs and budget, artists can make an informed choice and select the perfect watercolor paints for their artwork.Colors play a crucial role in art, evoking emotions, setting the mood, and leaving a lasting impact on the viewer. When starting with watercolor painting, it’s important to choose the right colors to create a harmonious and balanced artwork.

In this article, we will explore the significance of colors in art and guide you on selecting the perfect colors to begin with. Additionally, we will discuss the different types and shapes of paintbrushes available for watercolor painting and their respective uses.

Importance of Colors in Art

Colors have the power to evoke emotions and convey messages that words alone cannot. Each color carries a unique symbolism and can have a profound impact on the mood and atmosphere of an artwork.

Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow are often associated with excitement, energy, and positivity. Conversely, cool colors like blue, green, and purple tend to evoke calmness, tranquility, and introspection.

Understanding the psychology of colors can enhance the visual storytelling in your artwork. Bright and vibrant colors can create a sense of joy and playfulness, while muted or monochromatic colors can evoke a sense of melancholy or nostalgia.

By strategically using colors, artists can manipulate the viewer’s emotions and create a more immersive experience.

Starting with Primary Colors

When beginning your journey with watercolor painting, it is often recommended to start with a limited color palette. One of the best ways to do this is by using primary colors red, blue, and yellow.

Primary colors are the foundation of all other colors and can be mixed together in various combinations to create a wide range of colors. By starting with primary colors, artists can develop a better understanding of color theory and how colors interact with one another.

Mixing primary colors in different proportions allows you to create secondary colors, such as green (mixing yellow and blue) and orange (mixing red and yellow). These secondary colors can then be mixed further to create tertiary colors, expanding your color palette.

Using a limited color palette also helps to create cohesion and harmony in your artwork. With a well-balanced selection of primary colors, you can achieve a unified color scheme throughout your art piece.

Brush Hair, Shape, and Size

Selecting the right paintbrush for watercolor painting is essential to achieve the desired effects and textures. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a watercolor paintbrush:


Brush Hair: The most common types of brush hair for watercolors are synthetic and natural. Synthetic brushes are more affordable, durable, and work well with both thick and thin paints.

Natural hair brushes, such as sable or squirrel hair, hold more water and create smoother, more controlled brushstrokes. 2.

Brush Shape: The shape of the brush determines the type of strokes you can create. Some common brush shapes include:

– Round Brush: Suitable for detailed work, creating fine lines, and filling small areas.

– Liner Brush: Thin and pointed, ideal for creating intricate details and fine lines. – Oval Wash Brush: Flat and wide, perfect for covering large areas and creating washes.

– Angular Brush: Has an angled edge, useful for creating sharp edges and precise lines. – Square Wash Brush: Flat and squared, ideal for broad washes and covering large areas.

– Mop Brush: Large and round, used for blending and creating soft edges. 3.

Brush Size: The size of the brush refers to the width of the ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles). Brushes come in various sizes, ranging from 000 (very small) to 24 (very large).

Smaller brushes are suitable for fine details, while larger brushes cover broader areas.

Types of Brush Shapes

Different brush shapes offer unique characteristics and can be used for specific techniques in watercolor painting. Here are some commonly used brush shapes and their purposes:


Round Brush: The round brush is a versatile shape that can be used for a variety of techniques, including detail work, controlled lines, and washes. It has a pointed tip, allowing for precision and controlled strokes.

2. Liner Brush: The liner brush has an extra-long, thin shape that is perfect for creating fine lines and intricate details.

It is commonly used in botanical illustrations and other detailed artworks. 3.

Oval Wash Brush: The oval wash brush has a flat, wide shape, making it ideal for creating large washes and covering expansive areas with consistent color. It holds a lot of water and is great for blending and creating smooth gradients.

4. Angular Brush: The angular brush has an angled edge, allowing for sharp, precise lines and controlled strokes.

It is often used for calligraphic strokes, foliage, and architectural details. 5.

Square Wash Brush: The square wash brush has a flat, squared shape that holds a large amount of water and paint. It is excellent for creating broad washes and covering large areas.

6. Mop Brush: The mop brush is large, round, and has a full belly.

It is soft and holds a significant amount of water, making it ideal for blending colors, creating soft edges, and applying washes.


Colors hold immense power in art, evoking emotions, setting the mood, and leaving a lasting impact on the viewer. When starting with watercolor painting, choosing the right colors is crucial to create a harmonious and balanced artwork.

Beginning with primary colors allows artists to explore color mixing, understand color theory, and create a cohesive color palette. Additionally, selecting the perfect paintbrush is essential for achieving desired effects and textures in watercolor painting.

Brushes come in different shapes and sizes, each suited for specific techniques. By considering factors such as brush hair, shape, and size, artists can enhance their control and creativity with watercolors.

So, grab your primary colors and paintbrushes, and let your imagination flow onto the canvas!Watercolor painting is a captivating art form that allows artists to create beautiful and unique artworks using water-soluble paints. As you begin your journey into the world of watercolors, you may have some questions that need answers.

In this article, we will address some frequently asked questions related to watercolor paints. We will discuss why watercolor paints can be expensive, whether water is required to work with watercolor paints, whether watercolor paints are washable, and the best watercolor paints for beginners.

Why Are Watercolor Paints So Expensive? Watercolor paints can often come with a higher price tag compared to other art mediums.

There are several reasons why watercolor paints can be expensive:

1. High-Quality Pigments: Watercolor paints are made from color pigments that are finely ground and carefully selected for their lightfastness and color intensity.

High-quality pigments can be costly to produce and acquire, thus contributing to the overall cost of watercolor paints. 2.

Manufacturing Process: The production of watercolor paints involves complex processes, including milling the pigments, combining them with binders, and creating the paint consistency. These processes require specialized equipment and skilled artisans, adding to the cost of production.

3. Packaging: Watercolor paints are often packaged in tubes or pans, which require specific materials and designs to ensure the longevity and protection of the paints.

The packaging costs are factored into the pricing of the paints. 4.

Brand Reputation: Established brands with a long history of producing high-quality watercolor paints often have higher prices due to their reputation and demand in the market. While some watercolor paints may be more expensive, it’s important to remember that investing in quality paints can improve the longevity, vibrancy, and overall performance of your artwork.

Do You Need Water to Work With Watercolor Paint? Yes, water is an essential component of watercolor painting.

Water acts as a vehicle to dilute and manipulate the watercolor paints. It aids in controlling the paint’s consistency, creating washes, and achieving various techniques like wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and layering.

To work with watercolor paints, you need to dip your brush in water and mix it with the paint to achieve the desired consistency. The amount of water you use will depend on the effect you want to achieve.

Adding more water will create a more transparent and diluted color, while using less water will result in a more intense and concentrated color. Water is also crucial for cleaning your brushes between colors and for cleaning the painting surface after completing your artwork.

It helps to prevent unwanted color mixing and creates a clean canvas for subsequent layers or new artwork. Are Watercolor Paints Washable?

Watercolor paints are generally considered washable, especially during the painting process. Since watercolor paints are water-soluble, they can be easily diluted and washed away from brushes, palettes, and other surfaces with water.

However, it’s important to note that once watercolor paints dry on certain surfaces, they may leave stains or be challenging to remove completely. The staining properties of watercolor paints can vary depending on the pigments used.

Some pigments, such as certain reds or blues, may have more staining characteristics compared to others. When painting on watercolor paper, any stains or residue from the paint can often be masked or incorporated into subsequent layers or artworks.

It is advisable to test the staining properties of watercolor paints on different surfaces before beginning a final artwork. What Are the Best Watercolor Paints for Beginners?

As a beginner to watercolor painting, it is essential to choose paints that are beginner-friendly, affordable, and offer good quality pigments. Two popular options for beginners are:


Winsor & Newton Cotman: Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor paints are known for their affordability and quality. They offer a wide range of colors, including beginner sets that provide a variety of hues to experiment with.

The Cotman series is a great starting point for beginners due to its ease of use, value for money, and availability in both tubes and pans. 2.

Daler Rowney: Daler Rowney offers a range of watercolor paints suitable for beginners. Their Aquafine series is a budget-friendly option that provides good color vibrancy and performance.

The Aquafine paints are available in tubes and pans, making them accessible and convenient for beginners to explore. Both Winsor & Newton Cotman and Daler Rowney paints offer a good balance between quality and affordability, making them ideal choices for those starting their journey into watercolor painting.


Watercolor painting is a captivating art form that offers endless possibilities and creative expression. Understanding the reasons behind the pricing of watercolor paints can help artists appreciate the quality and value they offer.

Water is an essential component when working with watercolor paints, serving both as a diluent and for cleaning brushes and surfaces. While watercolor paints are generally washable, the staining properties of certain pigments may leave residue or stains on certain surfaces.

For beginners, starting with beginner-friendly paints such as Winsor & Newton Cotman or Daler Rowney can provide a good foundation and affordable introduction to watercolor painting. With these frequently asked questions addressed, you can now embark on your journey with watercolor paints with more confidence and knowledge.

In conclusion, watercolor paints are a fascinating medium that allows artists to evoke emotions, create harmonious color palettes, and express their creativity. While watercolor paints can be expensive due to high-quality pigments and production processes, they offer vibrant and long-lasting colors.

Water is an essential component in working with watercolor paints, enabling artists to dilute the paints, create washes, and clean their brushes and surfaces. While watercolor paints are generally washable, some pigments may leave stains when dry.

For beginners, affordable options like Winsor & Newton Cotman and Daler Rowney provide a great starting point. Remember, embracing the world of watercolor painting brings forth endless possibilities, where colors come to life with each brushstroke.

Happy painting!

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