- The best watercolor paint sets have many colors, a brush, and maybe a palette.
- The right watercolor set will be lightweight and easy to carry.
- Consider paper texture and pigment transparency when shopping for professional quality paints.
- A novice artist should start with the primary colors and warm and cold tones.
- A watercolor paint set can cost between $4 and up to $100+ for a kit.
The right watercolor paint can be pivotal in making an artistic masterpiece. Besides having the power to make or break your entire painting, watercolor paints come in all shapes, shades, and consistencies. This is what makes them difficult to select, even for experienced artists.
Although stunning to behold, a watercolor painting is hard work. Most professional artists spend days and months perfecting the watercolors before making a single stroke with a brush.
The best watercolor paints are not the easiest to find or use. So, if you are a budding artist looking for professional-grade paints that will breathe life into your art, continue reading our countdown below.
No unnecessary trips to the art supplies store – artist-quality paints are just a click away on Amazon!
- 1) Winsor & Newton
- 2) Chalkola
- 3) Blablaovy
- 4) ARTEZA
- 5) AROIC
- 6) Castle
- 7) AEM Hi Arts
- 8) Masllutn
- 9) Emooqi
- 10) Color Swell
- Things to Look Out for When Buying Watercolor Paints
- 15 Amazing Tips for Using Watercolor Paint Palettes
- FAQs About Watercolor Paints
Every artist who practices watercolor painting will eventually encounter the Windsor & Newton set—one of the most established brands for watercolor paints; Windsor and Newton produce very pigmented, long-lasting paints. Although they are often used as student-grade paints, Windsor and Newman’s vibrant colors are visible in professional, high-quality paintings.
The Windsor & Newman portable tray comes with 12 professional watercolor paints, a brush, and a mixing tray. Some of the high-quality pigments include Chinese White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson Hue, Burnt Umber, Lemon Yellow Hue, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Viridian, Sap green, Ultramarine, and Phthalo blue. All the 12 colors are Cotman Watercolor half pans, plus you get a new pocket brush, which always comes in handy when you are a full-time watercolor artist.
The Windsor palette has amazing granulation, meaning you won’t leave crumbs while absorbing the colors in your painting. They also excel when it comes to transparency and boast amazing tinting strength. This is why you can use the Newton set as paint for cardboard, sheet, watercolor paper, or any canvas!
- Versatile in their use
- Student favorite
- Economical because they replace costly pigments with less expensive variants.
- Steep learning curve.
- A limited number of colors.
If you want an exhaustive list of vibrant colors, go for the legendary Chalkola! The Chalkola has watercolor paint tubes that allow for more precision than the regular watercolor paint set in palette form. With tube paints, you can squeeze out as much as you need to paint your canvas, pad, sheet, etc.
The Chalkola watercolor paint set includes tons of multicolor professional paints, ten brushes, and a palette! The watercolor artist can also squeeze 36 tubes and 12ml of every color imaginable, like Prussian blue, indigo, mauve, sap green, sepia, burnt sienna, Naples yellow, raw umber, and more.
Chalkola is one of the few nontoxic paints we have on our list that is safe for kids. The set works as an amazing gift because it’s suited for seasoned artists and professionals.
- The set is safe
- Multi-supply package
- Wide shade range.
- Some prefer a palette to pan watercolors
- Tube paints can be impractical.
The Blablaovy is the perfect set if you are looking for versatility in a regular watercolor paint set. It includes 48 unique, vibrant colors that dissolve in water hassle-free!
Coming in a fine pigment powder form, the colors are sought-after for their halo dyeing effect. If you are wondering about transparency, know that Blablavoy is instantly blendable.
Blablavoy is a lightweight plastic box with a removable cover that acts as a palette, making it amazing for traveling artists. Besides the 48 watercolor paints, you also get 2 paintbrushes and a water pen.
The set is also great for newbies and professional artists due to the high-quality pigments that don’t crack easily. The watercolor paint is quick-drying and blendable with completely nontoxic paints and ingredients.
The Blablavoy’s paint’s finish is matte. It blends with just three drops of water, dries quickly, and is fade-resistant. The best part is that it does not stain, making it instantly washable if you make any mistakes. Reviewers also report that the paints don’t have a grainy or chalky feel after drying on canvas or water paper.
- An endless vibrant range of colors
- Perfect for outdoor painting
- Mixes with only a few drops of water.
- The paintbrushes might be too thin for some.
- The palette is plastic.
If you want your entire home to be your canvas, you must power up with the ARTEZA set! Jam-packed with 60 tube paints and a huge box designed by professional artists, the Arteza watercolor paint set is filled with highly pigmented colors that will make every canvas stand out.
The vibrant colors are quick-drying, preservable, individually labeled, easy to organize, and non-toxic. When selecting watercolor paints from the ARTEZA set, you can choose from: titanium white, latte white, wine berry, mauve, peach, stone blue, apricot, etc.
The best part about these professional paints is that they allow you to use them as much as you want without wasting any. The watercolor tubes all come with detailed descriptions of the pigment, transparency, and lightfastness.
Since it’s created by artists, the set is dedicated to aspiring painters from all levels! Besides watercolor paint, Arteza offers the best-rated acrylic paints on the market!
- Excellent pigment quality
- Freedom of choice
- Non-toxic materials.
- Too opaque for watercolors
- Not very travel-friendly.
The AROIC high-quality paints are a classic example of why palettes never go out of style. Besides various bright colors, the AROIC set is easy to mix, allowing you to create various painting styles. The plastic box is easy to carry and travel-friendly, making it the perfect gift for children and adults of all ages!
AROIC is overflowing with 36 vibrant colors, 10 nylon, and 6 refillable watercolor brushes. The 10 nylon brushes will be an excellent addition to your paintbrush collection, while the 6 reusable brushes are economical, durable, easy to clean, and multi-functional.
The 10 brushes vary in size and bristles but are also elastic, sturdy, and durable. The refillable fountain pen is transparent, and you can use it for various functions.
The AROIC paint brand is known for including ingredients that are all safe for children, completely non-toxic, and conform to ASTM d4236 standards. Each AROIC pan paint is characterized by saturated, beautiful colors with high transparency, strong tinting power, and smooth consistency.
- You get multiple supplies to start your watercolor journey
- The best palette to try wet-on-wet techniques
- Lightweight and travel-friendly
- The 6 reusable pens are very helpful.
- Not the strongest pigment
- The colors are predominantly bright.
If you want the highest-quality watercolor paints, choose the majestic Castle! Unlike other expensive watercolor paints, the Castle set is one of the most affordable on our list, making it the perfect pick for novice artists.
The Castle liquid paint has a glossy finish rather than a matte one, and some of the most popular colors included in the box are ivory, rose, crimson, violet, flesh, emerald green, quinacridone, burnt orange, etc.
The Castle set has a stunningly decorated box that keeps your watercolor tubes organized and tidy. Suitable for gift-giving, Castle is recommended for both children and adults.
The best part about Castle watercolor paints is that they are designed by other artists who know what it’s like to be new in the business. Although it has fewer watercolor tubes than other brands, the Castle set includes all primary colors with rich pigments arranged by shade families.
The textures are smooth, and the super transparent paints easily blend, spread and mix on a pallet or plate. They are also cost-effective since the tubes give you only as much as you need for a brush stroke!
- You can learn while watching Castle tutorials
- Money-back guarantee
- Fewer choices
- No additional supplies.
7) AEM Hi Arts
The AEM Hi Arts watercolor paint set is the perfect set if you are looking for a diversity of use. With their 24 incredibly versatile colors, you can paint on all surfaces, like paper, wood, fabric, ceramic, and sheets!
Besides the 24 watercolor paints, the package has 3 brushes, 1 mixing palette, and 20 sheets to paint on! The paint quality is exquisite, and the visually-appealing pigment powders are created from only the finest ingredients.
The AEM Hi watercolor paints come in a sturdy carrying box that keeps your pigments steady and organized wherever you go. The plastic palette is also handy since it allows you to mix colors without buying additional appliances!
Perfect for whenever inspiration strikes, the AEM Hi set is an ideal gift for every aspiring artist because it provides many services. Most watercolor artists use sheets, brushes, and paints for art projects, DIY crafts, holiday decor, portraits, etc. With AEM Hi, you can tap into your creative side and create a masterpiece on any surface.
- All-in-one package
- Huge range of choices
- Additional appliances
- Supplies can easily get misplaced
- The brushes are for beginners.
Simplicity and portability are the key components that make a watercolor paint set worthwhile. You get all that and much more with the Masluttn watercolor paints! The 3-in-1 set comes with 48 solid watercolor paints, 3 wooden brushes, and a removable transparent lid to mix colors. The brushes are premium-grade, meaning there won’t be any hair slip-offs on your sheets.
Unlike its predecessor, the upgraded Masluttn has 48 colors rather than 24 and three brushes instead of one. They are sturdier than the previous batch and guarantee no breaking, bending, or shedding! The brushes might be nylon, but high-quality, soft nylon makes the set one affordable investment. Each color is quick-drying, easily washable, highly transparent, etc.
The Masluttn is one of the easiest watercolor paint sets to carry – you can create impressive paintings wherever you go! Masluttn is a watercolor brand that cares for its customers, making its paints non-toxic, acid-free, and 100% safe for artists of all ages!
- Very vibrant colors
- You get additional art supplies
- Portable, lightweight
- Nylon brushes are not the most durable
- Good for a first set – not recommended for professionals.
This Emooqi set boasts 36 colors that are vibrant pigment powders and dissolve in water instantly. Besides the high transparency, the Emooqi colors are easily blendable, creating an endless range of new shades!
The Emooqi professional grade paints are 36 visually-pleasing colors, 2 water brush pens, 10 waterproof papers, and 2 hook line pens. The powdered pigments are finely ground, elevated, and pressed, making them durable enough to endure a fall! They are also fast-drying, fade-resistant, and are semi-transparent.
The Emooqi watercolor paint set offers professional-grade paints applicable to varying ages and environments. The lightweight box can be carried, so you can take watercolor paints anywhere.
- Has excellent fluid.
- The design could be plain for some
- Some artists require more colors.
10) Color Swell
Go for the Color Swell set if you want something on a budget that still sparks artistic creation. This watercolor paint set is the only one on our list that comes in bulk, making it the perfect pick for art teachers!
Unlike the usual paint tube, the Color Swell comes with multiple watercolor paints in separate sets and cases with a single wooden brush. There are 36 individual watercolor paints; you can use the lids as a mixing palette. Each set has 8 vibrant primary colors, like lemon yellow, orange, red, blue, brown, black, violet, and white.
Although you have probably seen them in art class, the nostalgic Color Swell has excellent, long-lasting pigments that are easily washable and don’t stain. Besides being super-suitable for toddlers and children, the Color Swell is completely body-safe and non-toxic.
The Color Swell watercolor paints are sturdy and durable, meaning they won’t change shape or consistency no matter the amount of use! Color Swell is a watercolor paint you can store everywhere because of its small stature, and they’re a favorite for crafts, projects, holiday cards, and anything artsy you can think of.
- Top choice for classrooms
- Very durable and storage-friendly.
- It only has 8 colors in the palette
- There’s only a single wooden brush.
Things to Look Out for When Buying Watercolor Paints
Watercolor paints come in many forms, but the most used by professional artists include liquid, like a paint tube; solids, like palettes; semi-solids; and pens and pencils. As they differ in design and condition, watercolor paints vary in applicability and quality – more on this below.
Go for a watercolor set that will perfectly accomplish your artistic goal. One of the most important things to look for in a watercolor paint set is a wide variety of primary and secondary colors! Next, you need additional appliances like premium brushes, lids, and palettes.
Make the best decision for your artistic career, and consider the following factors before choosing your watercolor paints:
Very few masterpieces are in black and white, so color is important to an artist, especially when working with watercolors. The watercolor painting will lack mood, emotion, and style without coloring. Every watercolor artist must paint with bright, vibrant colors and darker hues.
To have the best watercolor paintings, you need a wide selection of colors that provide the best possibilities for mixing and blending. The best way to start your watercolor journey is with six primary colors, like warm and cool blue, red, and yellow versions.
Next, you can use the primary hues to mix with any color. You need to have one cool and one warm version of a primary color to get a wider variety of mixable colors.
Best Watercolor Paint Set and Objectives
When it comes to an array of colors, the ARTEZA watercolor paint set is the best choice because there are so many options! If you don’t want to bother mixing and mashing new colors, ARTEZA will provide you with all the rainbow colors and some more.
Before picking your first watercolor paints, consider objective measures like transparency, permanence, pigment quality, and color names. Ultimately, choosing colors comes down to personal preferences, ideas, and artistic goals. Novice artists usually use a basic color palette to start and accumulate other colors as they gain experience.
Watercolor paints can produce a few different textures on your canvas. Depending on what form of watercolor paint you own, the texture on your sheet will mimic it. For instance, if you have solid pan watercolors, you can expect smooth strokes and textures, while using tube paints leaves oily textures on your painting paper.
Different kinds of paper provoke different effects from the paint. Smooth paper is perfect for going into detail, like painting landscapes, meadows, flowers, fruits, etc. A textured surface is best for painting moving things like waves, water reflections, etc.
Types of Surface Textures
The three main surface textures are hot, rough, and cold. Hot press is a texture that’s smooth and even, perfect for prints and drawings. Those that paint with exaggerated rough techniques need the rough press texture because it provides a bumpy surface.
The cold press is the best surface texture for watercolor paints, which is slightly bumpier than the hot press. The texture is equally uneven, letting the paint settle into the texture pockets, go over or sit on top of the bumps while creating different painting technique options.
Some transparent paints are more see-through than others, and that does not depend solely on the brand. Almost all watercolor paints can be made transparent if mixed with water, but some pigments cover more of the underlying color or paper than the rest.
When deciding on your watercolor paints, see if they have a transparency rating categorized as “opaque,” “semi-transparent,” or quite “transparent.”
Transparency refers to the ability of light to pass through the paint and reflect off the paper, creating a luminescent effect. If the watercolor paints are transparent, they’ll be of more value. Transparent watercolor paints create a more intense pattern on the canvas and blend better with each other. So, when considering transparency, beginners should choose single-pigment clear watercolors, while experienced artists work better with multi-pigment and granular paints.
Unlike transparent watercolor paints, opaque watercolor pigments block the light from the paper, preventing luminosity. The only way to get opaque pigments to become more transparent is by thinning the color with water. That way, the opaque color will lose intensity and sharpness and may become more transparent to the sheet paper. Otherwise, opaque colors do not let you see the white of your canvas.
If you want your watercolor painting to be smooth, it’s important to go for watercolor paints that have a fine-grain texture. If the watercolor paints are too grainy, microparticles or granules will be uneven after drying, forming a granular texture on your canvas.
The cause is heavier pigment granules, which affect textures due to their size and weight. You can check whether your watercolor paint set has granulation if it has a G or Y label on the package.
A few watercolor paint samples penetrate the fibers of the paper and stain it, while others cover only the surface. All watercolor pigments either stain or don’t, so choosing a mix of staining and non-staining colors is best.
Knowing which watercolor paints stain and which don’t is beneficial if you try erasing something off your canvas. You should know whether scratching the paint will reveal white underneath or a light tint of the underlying pigment.
The best way to determine whether your watercolors stain is to experiment on a separate piece of paper. Staining can also play a big role when layering paint since some non-staining pigments mix with other layers and muddy up the colors, hindering the luminosity.
Regarding quality, artists choose watercolor paints from two categories – professional and student-grade paints. Professional watercolor paints have a higher concentration of finely ground pigment with high permanence ratings, while student watercolors contain cheaper pigments with more preservatives and fillers.
The choice depends on the aspiring artist’s budget, aim, and ability. Professional watercolor paints are more expensive pigments, but the quality is better. You get your money’s worth in intensity, transparency, and permanence! Student-grade watercolor paints are best suited for novice artists or children just starting to experiment with colors.
The price will directly depend on the watercolor paint’s brand reputation, the number of colors, and additional appliances like brushes, papers, and pens. The watercolor sets on our list have varying prices, but the general cost starts from $4 and reaches up to $100.
The beginner sets usually come between $4 to $20. Student-grade watercolor paints are between $20 and $60, while professional artist paints can be between $60 and $100 and upwards!
To choose the right watercolor paints, you must rely on customer reviews. This does not mean taking every comment by heart but trying to filter the honest from the phony ones. Read customer reviews to know what like-minded artists think about the product, how it worked for them, what they praise, and what they complain about.
15 Amazing Tips for Using Watercolor Paint Palettes
Before you insert your credit card information and buy your next watercolor kit, make sure you have all the following tips considered:
- Always have a clean palette nearby.
- Keep wet wipes and water when you plan to paint.
- The best palettes are the transportable ones!
- When you are mixing colors, try not to allow contamination.
- Choose your brushes carefully and consider their shape and size.
- Decide between paper types.
- Paint with good lighting.
- Your brush is your best friend – try to keep it neat.
- If bristles start falling out of your brush, replace it ASAP.
- Pick only the best student-grade watercolor paints.
- Use darker shades after you get used to watercolors.
- Using less water will produce darker hues.
- Using more water will lead to flowy paints that will be harder to dry.
- Define which of the colors are warm and which are cold.
- Have an artistic goal in mind and Stick to your budget.
Whether you are a beginner lever watercolor enthusiast or a skilled professional, the right watercolor paint set can transform your entire artistic experience. It does not matter if you are on a tight budget – tons of options online will meet everyone’s needs! Every artist can find something according to their preferences, from tube paints to palettes to whole boxes with ready-made sheets and paper.
In our opinion, the best option offers versatility, choice, and additional tools to maximize your buck. The Arteza watercolor paint set is one of the most extensive in our guide, while the AROIC comes at a close second with its 16 brushes and 36 vibrant colors. Both differ in form, so those who like a paint tube choose Arteza, and those who like palettes go for AROIC. Whichever you choose, make sure you are happy with the result and can bring your artistic vision to life!
FAQs About Watercolor Paints
1) What are the best watercolor paints?
The best watercolor paints are the ones that offer plenty of colors and additional supplies, like Winsor & Newton, ARTEZA, ACROIC, Emooqi, Castle, etc.
2) What is the best brand of watercolor painting?
Overall, the best watercolor paints are Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colors. However, depending on your unique watercolor painting needs, you should choose the best brand for you.
3) How are watercolor paints made?
Watercolor paints are made from finely ground pigments suspended in a binder made from Gum Arabic, distilled water, and other preservatives needed to stabilize the paint.
4) What watercolor paints do professional artists use?
Professionals flock towards Daniel Smith Extrafine Watercolor, M Graham Watercolor, Winsor & Newton, and Arteza.
5) What watercolor paints are good for kids?
The Blablavoy, Emooqi, Castle, and Color Swell are all amazing brands for kids with an artistic side.