Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso
With the first specimen of art dating back to five lakh years; art has always been an integral part of human existence. Since centuries, painting has been a form of expression that has varied for every person. With different styles and characters, art just flows from one person to another, experimenting with numerous forms and medium. One of the most famous medium among them has been watercolor paints.
Watercolor as a medium gives everyone an opportunity to experiment, express and enjoy. It may be a vibrant landscape, cityscape, abstract or still life; watercolors are perfect for every genre. They are easy to work with and equally easy to clean up. They contain no harmful chemicals and are relatively inexpensive for the pocket. Watercolors are therefore great to work with; be it a beginner or a professional art enthusiast.
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How to choose the Best Watercolor Paints
There is a wide variety of watercolor paint sets available in the market with multiple shades and numerous features. If you are a beginner, you might not need all the details. Just pick a basic beginner set and you are good to go. However if you want to choose the best watercolor paints for your artwork, you should be familiar with these characteristic features.
Watercolor paints are generally available in two grades; professional and student grade. Student grade generally contains second-class pigments and synthetic binders with more fillers, as they are cheaper in budget. They are great for beginners and students, who are just starting out and want to experiment with this new medium.
On the contrary, professional grade or artist’s grade is more expensive and comes with wider range of colors. They are made of high quality pigments that are finely grounded and have high permanence ratings. These pigments are higher in intensity or concentration and have a superior transparency. Artist’s grade is clearly meant for professionals who are looking for superior quality work.
Best thing about watercolors is their ability to mix easily, providing you with an extended color palette. Technically every color can be made by mixing primary colors (red, yellow and blue). However single pigment colors are more vibrant and mixed colors are often dull and lifeless.
It therefore depends on you what colors you like to work with. If you are starting with watercolor painting, you just need a good quality students grade set that can provide you with a decent starter color palette. As you gain experience, you can accumulate high quality single pigments and build from there.
Permanence or lightfastness of a color denotes its ability to withstand exposure to light and humidity. Permanence in colors is extremely important; or else they will start fading or changing color with time. Permanence of any paint depends on the quality of pigments and the amount of fillers used, if any.
Low priced paints often contain inferior pigments and multiple fillers. It is therefore important to know that economic paint sets are perfect for beginners; they however change color with time.
Watercolors are known for their ability to create a luminescent effect. When light falls on the painted area, it passes through the watercolor paint and reflects back the white surface of the paper. This beautiful washed out effect is created because of the transparency of the color.
Most manufacturers mention if the paint is transparent or opaque. Watercolors that are more opaque can be easily thinned out by adding water. However, it is important to know about the transparency of the colors, so that you can accordingly plan out layering of colors.
Pans or Tubes
Watercolors mostly come in pans or tubes. Pans come in solid blocks or cakes that are extremely portable and great for outdoor use or travelling alongwith. But they are difficult for painting large washes and mixing, as you can take only small amount of pigment to the palette.
Tubes contain moist paste like paint which is easy to squeeze out as per need. Tubes are easy to mix with and this is why tubes are better for studio working or working on large scale paintings. If you are a beginner, it is better to start with a simple pan, so that it is easy to carry around and less messy to work with.
List of Best Watercolor in India
The quality and features of watercolor paints differ for every brand. It is therefore important to keep in mind how you intend to use the set and choose the best watercolor paints accordingly. Here we have compiled few of the best watercolor in India that will cater to a wide range of users.
Best Watercolor in India
1. SCHMINCKE Half Pan Watercolor Pocket Set
Schmincke is known for their superior quality products and they have been using the same traditional formula in their every pan since 1881. Schmincke uses highest-quality natural gums, water-soluble resins, and pigments and have been therefore used by several classic artists. This half pan set is amongst the very best professional grade paints and is therefore expensive for the pocket.
- 12 assorted half pans.
- It comes with a Da Vinci cosmotop pocket brush.
- Superior quality, natural ingredients that have been carefully selected for highest optimization.
- Paint quality and granularity is exceptional.
2. Sennelier l’Aquarelle French Artists Watercolor
Sennelier is a famous French brand, known for premium paints. Sennelier provides high transparency glazing effect with clear and bright colors. This watercolor palette is ideal for students who want to work on high quality tasks and preserve their work for a longer duration.
- 24 assorted half pans.
- Finely ground, lightfast pigments in a smooth gum arabic and honey binder.
- These watercolors are luminous, vibrant, free-flowing and lustrous.
- Highly lightfast and permanent.
3. Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Painting Set
Winsor and Newton is amongst the best watercolor brand known for good watercolor palettes. The Cotman series is the student grade paint series that is a great package for budding professionals who are looking for high quality watercolor paints in a comparatively cheaper price range.
- 24 assorted half pans.
- It also includes 1 Cotman series 111 no 3 brush with mixing palette integrated into the lid.
- It contains traditional pigments with synthetic fillers that produce an inexpensive selection of best quality watercolors.
- Excellent lightfastness, good tinting strength, good transparency and true optical working properties.
- Classed as ‘permanent for artists’ use as it aids longevity of paintings.
4. Little Birdie Watercolour Half Pan Set
The Little Birdie watercolor pan set is perfect for beginners as well as advanced artists. This set offers high concentration of pigments that allow playing with opacity and transparency, creating some beautiful colours for your work.
- 24 assorted watercolor half pan set.
- Rich concentration of pigment offers vibrancy, transparency, ease of application, and control for creating various effects.
- Lightfast colors with ability to retain color for longer duration.
- Crisp opaque tints and wonderful transparent effects can be created with these paints easily.
5. Ohuhu Watercolor Paint Tubes
Ohuhu watercolor set is a premium professional grade watercolor painting set with 24 vivid colors. These are finely grinded pigments that won’t fade or dull away on canvas. It is therefore a great buy for every budding artist who requires premium colors at an affordable price.
- 24 assorted shades in 12ml tubes.
- It comes with six professional nylon hair painting brushes.
- Premium professional grade watercolor painting set.
- Made of finely grinded pigments.
- Set of intense colors that won’t fade away after using on canvas.
6. Camlin Kokuyo Watercolor Cakes
Camlin and Kokuyo are renowned brands from India and Japan that came together for this collaboration, focussing on young school students. It is probably the go to watercolor brand of every student. Therefore Camlin Kokuyo is easily the best watercolor for beginners in India.
- 18 assorted shades in cake form.
- Formulated from rich, long lasting pigments.
- Conforms to child safety standards.
7. Faber-Castell Creative Studio Watercolors
Faber Castell is one of the best watercolor brand in India, known for their quality products. This mix palette is a perfect beginner set, ideal for young kids. It contains good quality watercolor tubes at a minimal price, and is therefore a perfect watercolor palette to start with.
- 12 assorted shades in 5ml tubes.
- Can dissolve again after applying once.
- Perfect mix of bright and dark shades.
- Intermixable colors, giving endless color possibilities.
8. BRUSTRO Artists’ Watercolor Tubes
Brustro is comparatively a newer brand with novel products. These are high pigmented colours that can be easily worked with using different techniques. These watercolors are perfect for intermediaries who want to experiment with colours and play with innovative techniques.
- 12 assorted shades in 12ml tubes.
- Formulated using rich, premium pigments.
- Set of bright transparent colors.
- Intermixable colors, giving endless color possibilities.
- The pigments can withstand exposure to light and humidity without fading or altering the color.
9. Touaretails Solid 42 Colors Foldable Pocket Watercolor Paint Set
The foldable watercolor paint set from Touaretails is perfect to carry around and work with. This paint set is perfect for hassle free painting and field sketches as it provides 42 shades in a portable palette.
- 42 assorted shades in foldable palette form.
- It comes with a water brush, detachable sponge and mixing paint palette.
- High-quality concentrated pigments make the color more vibrant, strong, rich and pure.
- Excellent transparency, tinting strength, and intensity for lasting performance.
- Resistant to fading and discoloration from direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions related to watercolor.
Which is better watercolor tubes or pans?
It completely depends on your preference. Pans are easy to travel with and are great for making small scale paintings. But only a small amount of pigment can be taken every time. They are therefore not suitable for large washes or mixing paints. Tubes are easier to mix and therefore work better in this context. Watercolor tubes are better for studio working or working on large scale work.
How long do tube watercolors last?
Watercolor tubes generally last around five years while watercolor pans last longer. This however varies for different watercolor brands.
Are watercolors toxic?
Watercolors are mostly not toxic. Their toxic index is generally negligible, but may vary depending on the pigment used. Most manufacturers conform to standard practices and label their product if it requires cautionary labelling.
Can watercolors be used on fabric?
It’s usually best to use acrylic paints for painting on fabric.
Can watercolors be used on canvas?
Generally oil paints or acrylic paints are used on canvas. Normal canvas is not absorbent enough to work with watercolors. However one can use watercolors on canvas if the canvas is watercolor canvas.
Be it for the enjoyment of self; pursuit of the creative expression or as a mode to depict a surreal world; art has served as a connection between the real and the hidden. It is extremely important that you take that brush out and unleash your creativity on a piece of paper.
Just give it a go. We are sure there will be no looking back.