31 May

Welcome to my art blog, where I share helpful information and interesting facts! For the first blog entry today I'd like to talk about watercolours for beginners. 

Even if you are just starting out with watercolours, you shouldn't be afraid of high quality paints. Aim for professional grade or good student grade watercolours if you are serious about getting into the wonderful world of watercolours! 

Think about it this way: high quality paints will help you learn instead of getting in your way. Investing in good art supplies is the first step to a steady improvement and learning journey.

Wait, what is the difference between "student grade" and "professional grade paints" and why does it matter? 

There are several different types of watercolour paints you can buy:

  1. Hobbyist/kid sets. 
  2. Student grade sets. 
  3. Professional/artist quality sets. 

Needless to say the first category is not the best if you are planning to learn how to use this art supply, so we'll ignore children grade paints. They usually contain chalks and fillers made of gums that give gummy or gritty textures that are unpleasant to work with. Also mixing vibrant colours is not possible with these. 

Student grade paints are exactly that, watercolours for art students. Some are better than others. For instance, I personally don't recommend the Winsor & Newton Cotmans. While Winsor & Newton's professional line is stunning, their student line Cotman has very dry and pale paints, to get a bit of saturation you need to scrub like crazy. 

Professional grade watercolours use better pigments which means the paints are way more stable and lightfast. They usually have less fillers and they're transparent about paint composition. 

So which brands do you recommend?

Keep in mind these are my personal choices and although it's all subjective, as far as I've noticed many experienced watercolourists agree with most of my choices. 

The criteria used to select these watercolours are: quality, price (affordable and not overpriced), pigments used and lightfastness. 

◾Roman Szmal: professional paints that are very affordable and offer a huge variety of colours. They're creamy, vibrant, intense, they layer well and are lightfast. Highly recommend for all kinds of artists. 

◾Rosa Gallery: affordable professional watercolours that come in full pans, perfect for big brush lovers! Amazing quality, lightfast, pigmented and really lively, they flow a lot in water. 

◾Van Gogh: high quality student grade watercolours, very affordable, they are vibrant, they layer well and the range of colours is quite big. 

◾Sonnet: these are the student grade line from White Nights and come in full pans, ideal for big brushes. Very lightfast and pigmented, they don't offer a big range of colours but it's enough for beginners that want to learn colour mixing. 

◾Pretty excellent: these are Paul Rubens' student line and they're a great quality/price deal. Very affordable and not chalky at all. 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preferences and availability. Don't hesitate to contact and ask questions and remember to do your research! 

Study of an eye done with Roman Szmal watercolours. 

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