Hello everyone! By popular demand on my last poll, I'm going to put all my watercolour swatches on a single journal entry and comment my personal experiences with some pigments, which colours or brands I dislike and why, and hopefully discuss about brands, pigments and colours with you on the comments below. I'm not going to spend time talking about every single colour, mind you. I'd like you to know that this is just my opinion and it may be different than yours, not all watercolourists like the same paints.
Watercolours without pigment information
Here is where my first watercolour set goes: the Sakura Koi 12 watercolours travel set. I puchased it back in 2017 when I was trying to get back into wet media (I used to paint with watercolours and airbrush when I was 14-17).
Honestly, I don't reccomend it at all. I used the set for a short time before quickly switching to the Winsor & Newton Cotman set. Stopping using that cursed thing was the best idea I had in a decade!
Sakura Koi paints are chalky, muted, muddy and opaque/semiopaque. They don't flow at all like watercolour should do on wet paper
and that's sad. They don't salt, either. If you mix yellow and red you get an ugly colour that's not even orange. And that depressing purple...
I don't get how people say they're good for beginenrs, for the same prize you can get artist grade paints that will be satisfying to work with and you won't have to fight with the paints.
Suggestions for beginners:
Van Gogh 12 travel set
White Nights 12 set (you get full pans)
Paul Rubens 24 set
Sennelier's Aqua-Mini (8 colours)
My watercolour collection
First of all, forgive the constant language shift. I wrote Sennelier's colour names in French and White Nights' colours in Russian, and Venezia watercolours were noted in Italian as well as my handmade watercolours have Spanish or French names depending on where I got the pigments. So, sorry!
These are 126 artist to professional quality brands (except Winsor & Newton Cotman being student grade paints) included my handmade paints (marked with a tiny star) made with arabic gum, honey, glycerin and pure pigments without fillers.The neutrals
First page of black, white, grey and neutrals. Two of those whites came with sets (I didn't buy them) and to be honest I find them useless. The third white is Winsor & Newton's opaque Titanium white, which I bought just to add milky effects to galaxy paintings and clouds.
Those blacks came with sets as well, I never use them, I mix my own black or I use Payne's grey instead. My absolutely favourite Payne's grey is from Sennelier, made from PV19, PB15:1 and PBk7.
My inner watercolourist cannot live without Payne's grey.
The Sepia from Van Gogh is warm and beautiful, it mixes nice greys with Prussian blue. In terms of colour, I prefer White Nights' Sepia because of its cooler purple undertones.The warms
Isn't Winsor & Newton Cotman's Burnt Sienna lovely? PR101 is one my favourite red pigments and I love how warm this Burnt Sienna is. The we have some of my handmade paints: Habana ocher (you can't even imagine how much I love that hue!) made from PY45, PR102 and PBk11. It's a pretty stable colour that mixes lovely greens with Phtalo blue (PB15) and beautiful skintones.
RFL red ocher is also one of my handmade colours, a lovely warm orangeish ocher made from PR102.
That fleshy pinkish yellow on the bottom left corner is Venezia's Flesh tint. It's very milky and opaque and I don't like it for skintones because it reactivates very easily in a way that glazing is almost impossible. I use it to neutralize blues and make them more pastel and muted.
That intense disazo yellow is the only yellow I ever mixed. It's my current to-go warm yellow.
I am mot a big fan of cool yellow but I have four different hues of that colour. The one I use the most is Cadmium yellow PY35 (White Nights) because it's very bright and vibrant and it mixes well with cool blues, it also neutralizes purples and makes gorgeous skintones when mixed with Quinacridone Magenta (PR122).
I love Schmincke's Cadmium orange light because of how smoothly it blends and it's semiopacity. In general, I like opaque oranges with Tiziano's red being an exception (PO36). Tiziano's red is a transparent, warm, deep orange colour that's very useful for dark skintones and landscapes.
From those warm red, the one I use more often is Venezia's Red permanent light (PR168). It's soft and it layers very well.
That last red is not warm, it's a cool red on the pinkish side but I put it there. Cool <s>kids</s> reds club
I'm a sucker for cool red and magentas!
From this page you'll see the second colour is Porto red and it says "PR101, PR102". Well, that's wrong, it's PR48. I took the pic and noticed the mistake later. That red I made is very hard to rewet, very transparent and it mixes pretty subtle violets.
Rose Madder by Schmincke is a lovely colour I bought because it looks good but I still haven't figured out how to use it
I'm sure it can make interesting mixes.
The Intense pink I made is my favourite pink so far, Opera pink is too fluorescent for me (and not as transparent as mine).
Then we have 6 magentas, 4 of them are different versions of PR122 (quin magenta). I made a quin magenta that's transparent, cool and a bit more purple than Sennelier's PR122 but still beautiful and useful.
Lukas' PR122 is the weirdest version of the pigment: it's semiopaque and very pinkish.
The last one is W&N Cotman's Alizarin crimson hue, a dull colour, very dry and hard to rewet. 0/10 would reccomend. Oxides and purples
Remember that PR101 I said I love? Here you can see 4 more versions of that pigment. Rembrandt's Indian red has some lovely cool undertones, almost purple or magenta. Some PR101s are opaque and those make interesting textures.
Last cool red is my Bordeaux red (PR12). It's almost like a brownish perylene violet (which os not here oops).
Then we have some sadly fugitive pigments like PV19 (it fades incredibly quickly
) and a collection of dioxacine violets.
Not much to say here. I love violets and purples and that's one of the main reasons I own a lot of magentas and warm blues (you'll see
). I mainly mix my purples.
Then there's cobalt violet which is, in my eyes, pink. I love how it granulates.
The last colour is a light ultramarine (PB29) I made and LOVE! Warm blues a.k.a. Precious babies
Why do you need so many blues? They look all the same.A few seconds later, Shesvii started hugging and cuddling a pile of watercolour pans and tubes while humbling "Don't listen, my babies! It's gonna be ok!", tears on her upset eyes.
Yes. This story is almost
I love Ultramarine blue and Phthalo Blue because they're beautiful blue hues that mix perfect purples and beautiful natural greens. They're also perfect for deep sea paintings (with teals and viridian green).
My favourite grey is mixed with deep ultramarine (PB29) and burt sienna (PR101) and the richest blacks I mix have phthalo blue and vermillion red (PR242).
I love granulating blues and that's why I have three different versions of PB15 prepared by me: they all granulate, they're transparent and flow pretty well.
Indanthrene blue (PB60) deserves a special mention. It's a fairly new colour on my palette but I can't go without it now. It's rich, dark and warm, soooo deep and beautiful. The teals
And also light bright blues.
We have of course more PB15 and some PB15:1, which means phthalo blue red shade. Currently I have three cerulean blues: that "Bleu ciel" (Sky blue PB15, mixed by me) that's a cerulean blue hue, semiopaque and lovely. I can easily mix that colour with a mix of Cerulean blue phthalo (Rembrandt, PB15 and PW6) and that Flesh tint by Venezia we saw with the warms.
Then I have a Cerulean blue by Venezia which is not made from the original Cerulean pigment but with PB15:1 and PW4. It's less granulating than the PB35 by White Nights, the genuine cerulean blue (which also cauliflowers a lot).
I'm not satisfyed with how my handmade turquoise green turned out
it's not very pigmented and I didn't disolve it well enough, I need to improve the recipe.
Cobalts! Bright tropical cobalt teals and turquoises!
Their combination with violets and perylene green are perfect for sea, landscapes ans vivid deep ocean like colours. They also make interesting mixes with oranges.
We're slowly entering PG7's kingdom, the gorgeous emerald green that's so bluish it even makes purples when mixed with Quinacridone Magenta! Greens
And more PG7 attack!
My favourite Phthalo green (PG7) is the one from White Nights because it's very pigmented and the colour is strong, there's not a big hue schift between its wet and dry look.
Now those light greens... I don't like like greens. They all came in sets which doesn't even make sense because the sets already included cold yellows and cool blues and those two babies mix light greens.
Light greens are the biggest scam ever. :stare There's no light grass green you can't mix yourself. Besides that, when would anyone use those agressive almost neon colours?
They don't even make interesting mixes except when you neutralize reds.
I love me some olive greens and dark greens!
But my Terre verte (PG23) is a big huge massive fail.
I know that pigment is sadly known for being very hard to rewet and not flowing very much but it still makes me sad. I need to improve the recipe, too.
Look at the bottom left corner!
That green is gorgeous. Whenever I feel down, I look at that colour and it instantly cheers me up!
PG7 is a very rare pigment that just a few brands work with, White Nights is one of them.
Then there are two oxides of chrome (PG17); I prefer the second one by Lukas. It's an often misunderstood and discriminated colour because of its high opacity. It mixes lovely light green and pretty browns, and it spreads like a disease
on wet paper. I love it!
Then perylene green (PBk31)
this baby made me a happier artist. It's a gorgeous dark green, very versatile: with quin magenta it creates dark purples, mixed with cold yellows it makes awesome light natural greens and it is a perfect shadow hue for dark skintone.The unsorted a.k.a. Those who came later
I finished to swatch my last Indigo when I realized I forgot Van Gogh's Hooker's green (PG7, PY154). I swatched it next to W&N Cotman's Indigo and then I bought four new colours.
I love Hooker's green, I use it very often for water and for blacks, too. It's a bright green with yellow undertones, perfect for tropical foliage, water, dark skintones and bright browns.
Sennelier's Burnt green earth reminds me of a less intense, more bluish perylene green. They're very similar but they don't make the same mixes and they flow and make different patterns. This one is also less stable than perylene green, meaning not as lightfast, and it's a mix of three pigments.
Then we have Perylene violet by Schmincke (PV29). I'm still exploring this colour but I already love it!
Potter's pink (PR233) is the perfect shade of pink we find in nature, unlike those artificial super bright opera pinks. It is also useful to mix your own lightfast Rose madder/rose genuine hue with quin magenta since sadly the original Rose Madder and Rose genuine are very fugitive.
It's also a granulating pigment. It goes crazy with granulation, which I personally love.
Water soluble paints with no pigment information available
I also own a couple of wet paint sets that aren't exactly watercolours, I won't include Ecoline liquid watercolours here because they're actually dye-based liquid paints, not watercolours and I haven't got to know them well enough to share my thoughts with you.Gansai paints
These paints are not gouache, they're not a mixture between gouache and watercolours either. They're not like western watercolours because they're not watercolours!
They're traditional japanese water soluble paints that's made from miner pigments and binders that are not vegan friendly, they use animal sourced glues and also sugar. Some paints do smell like candy. (My cat wants to eat them, seriously)
They're creamy, easy to rewet, they feel like watery ink when applying them on wet paper and the have a glossy vibrant finish (unlike watercolours' matte finish).
They're not meant to be mixed, this is why you usually get large sets of gansai paints. I never mix more than two colours since mixing more than 2-3 colours gives you muddy yucky colours.
I love how easily they lift, they're super forgiving
and the white is pretty opaque so I use it for highlights and stars. I usually mix them with watercolours and it works perfectly.Inktense or how a pun became paint
Apart from this 12 travel set, I own 14 more colours as Inktense pencils. This set has a very good colour selection and I absolutely love them (except the light green, of course
I use them very now often although when I got my first Inktense paints I was intimidated by the fact that they're permanent. Once they dry, they can't be lifted. So hello, exposed mistakes!
However, it's not as scary as it may look. They're very fun to work with, the layer awesomely and they're vibrant and make rich mixes.
I totally reccomend them, both as Inktense bars or pencils.
Oh wow... This journal is a boring wall of text for those who aren't watercolour addicts!
Anyway, I hope you liked at least the swatches. Let me know if you have any questions or simply want to discuss about watercolours.
Thank you very much for reading!