For a couple of years I've been really interested in artisanal paints and making my own handmade watercolours with the most basic ingredients and zero fillers. From the paint making journey I've learned many things that helped me better understand the industry of paints, the complexity of pigments and paint chemistry. It also lead to a lot of fun investigation and research! The world of handmade watercolours is full of gorgeous paints, amazing artisans and fantastic artists.
Who wouldn't want to be part of it?
So if you want to treat yourself with something special, support a small business or simply add more watercolours to your collection, I'm giving you a list of 5 reasons to convince you to buy handmade paints.
⠀⠀ The paint maker is an artist who crafts with love and care both classic and standout colours. The standout colours are often very unique in hue, colour separation, granulation and other creative characteristics like glow in the dark, glitter, containing mulled glass, being made with unusual pigments such as local rocks or ashes... This enables a huge variety of colours and textures for artists looking for new creative ideas and inspiration!
That image above is me experimenting with vegetal ashes from my fireplace. Fun!
⠀⠀ There's always a personal touch that differentiates them from commercial paints. The aromatic scent, the unique hues, the textures, the ingredients and pigments used... Depending on the seller, you can even request one of a kind custom colours or create your own personalized palettes.
I've found that handmade watercolours often have a very nice smell that makes you want to sniff them every time you take them out to paint. Yes, I'm aware how funny this sounds.
⠀⠀ Handmade watercolours contain no fillers, no plasticizers, no brighteners and, most of the times, no undisclosed pigments.
As long as lightfast pigments are used, you always get professional grade paints. Pure pigments + binder without fillers = high quality paint.
Paint makers are honest about the ingredients and pigments used and you can contact them personally to ask for ingredient information. So far everyone I've asked has been helpful and informative.
For those worried about animal ingredients like ox gall, bone black pigment... It's also easier to find vegan-friendly watercolours when buying handmade paints.
⠀⠀ Handmade watercolours are very often small businesses run by very approachable people. It may sound silly but it feels warm when you know you're talking to a real human that offers genuine help to your questions. It's a very personal experience! You know there's someone behind the package you received, carefully putting everything together and making it for your with gratitude.
⠀⠀ Don't take a shot whenever I use the word 'unique', please! 😅
The packaging and paint containers are usually very creative. Each paint maker will choose a different packaging and branding. Not all paints will be stored in half pans and not all of them will look the same! Some will use shells or nuts as pans, others will craft their own ceramic palettes and paint containers, and others will wrap them in waxed materials. Many paint makers 3D print their own eco-friendly half pans.
Enjoy this small list of amazing handmade watercolour makers:
Cruelty free & vegan watercolours from Spain: https://www.aletheia-acuarelas.shop/
Vegan watercolours from France: https://www.aquarelledeprovence.com/
Earthy paints handmade in the Baltic countries: https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/ESSEEco?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=1021359313
Handmade paints poured into printed pans made with recycled biodegradable PLA from the Netherlands: https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/DirtyBlueShop?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=1043018480
Vibrant watercolours from Canada: https://stonegroundpaint.com/
A French paintmaker that works with genuine indigo pigment: https://instagram.com/atelierindigomanouche?utm_medium=copy_link
🙋🏻♀️ Have you ever tried handmade watercolours? Let me know in the comments!