My 14 Best Watercolor Paint Colors

posted by Misfit June 3, 2018 4 Comments
If you have been following me for some time, you already know I absolutely love tube paints.  So just warning you, no pan paints will be listed here.

As you probably already know, I love pop colors that seem to jump off the page at you.  This is only really possible with tube paints…well that is unless you plan on spending a pretty penny on some SCHMINCKE’S pan sets – which I’ve heard is gorgeous – but haven’t been able to afford.   This is one reason I highly recommend tube paints – especially if you are new to watercolor.  Even student grade paints can be pushed to brilliant pop colors when using tubes.   Which I will talk about in a future post – but for today I’m going to be sharing with you the paint that I absolutely love currently and couldn’t live without.    So without further ado – here are my…

14 ESSENTIAL WATERCOLORS

1. OPERA ROSE – WINSOR

Honestly, I switch between opera rose from winsor and brilliant opera pink from Schmincke all the time.  Schmincke is definitely finer of a paint and alot more expensive – but I’ve listed opera rose here today – because of it’s ability to create really cool graduation that I actually don’t mind.  🙂  Usually I try and stray away from graduation in my paints – but I have to say this paint always seems to give me a pleasant surprise when painting.

2. BRILLIANT ORANGE – HOLBEIN

This is a new color I’ve recently stumbled upon.  It’s fantastic for mixing brilliant reds especially with opera rose listed above.  That’s why I don’t include a red on this list – because I can simply make a better red than what I’ve found.   However, it is a bit opaque so keep that in mind.

3. INDIAN YELLOW – WINSOR

This color is a bit deceiving in the name.  It’s actually more of a light orange or golden yellow.  I love this color because of it’s intensity and fluidity with warmer tones.

4. WINSOR YELLOW – WINSOR

This color is just a basic staple for any watercolorist palette.   🙂

5. CADMIUM LEMON YELLOW – SCHMINCKE

This is by far my favorite yellow I’ve ever owned.   When searching for watercolor paints – colors that pop off the page in brilliance are my eye candy.  And this one has never disappointed!  But be aware – it’s BRIGHT!  More like a neon yellow highlighter than a traditional yellow.   This color is also very opaque – which I like because I know where I place it – it will stay.  It also mixes nicely with other colors which is why I’m including it on this list.

6. GREEN GOLD – WINSOR

This color I would consider the biggest under sung hero for watercolor.   When mixed with opera rose it create earthy orange tones – but when mixed with winsor blue it creates stunning greens like you wouldn’t believe.  It’s one of those colors that in itself – may not be that enticing – but when mixed with other colors you might be surprised what you find 🙂

7. LEAF GREEN – HOLBEIN

You might be starting to notice a trend – but I love brilliant pop colors and that’s why this color is on my list.  It’s a brilliant green that is more on the yellow side – but mixes well with blues and also yellows.  So it’s here 🙂

8. COBALT TURQUOISE – SCHMINCKE

This one is my most expensive pint color and my favorite.  I’ve always been a sucker for turquoise and this color doesn’t disappoint!  The reason I love it over other brands is it’s fine ground pigment – which appears less grainy compared to other brands I’ve tried.  It’s also also to mix with yellows, blues, and even opera pink.  🙂  Yep, opera pink works well with this color creating vivid purples.

9. WINSOR BLUE (GREEN SHADE) – WINSOR

My favorite blue thus far!  And believe me I’ve owned and wasted ALOT of money on watercolor blues.   But this one has stood the test of time.  This is the color mixed with Winsor’s Payne’s Gray and Schmincke’s Phthalo Sapphire Blue in the Mountain fox painting.  🙂

 

10. WINSOR VIOLET – WINSOR

This color is beautiful starting point for purples.  I tend to mix my purples rather than using directly form the tube.  So this tends to be my base color.  If I want more of a pinkish hue – I mix opera rose with it – or more of a bluish hue then winsor blue 🙂

11. YELLOW OCHRE – WINSOR

This just is a staple that all watercolorist need.  It’s great for rich golds and even warm browns when mixed. 🙂

12. BURNT UMBER – WINSOR

Once again just is a staple that all watercolorist need.   🙂

13. TRANSPARENT SEINNA – SCHMINCKE

By far the best brown I own!  As the name implies, it’s transparent – meaning very little to no grain!   Most brown watercolors I’ve own tend to appear very grainy after drying.  But this one is gorgeous and mixes well with other colors to give me a wide range of browns for any whimsical animal I desire to paint. 🙂

14. PAYNE’S GRAY – WINSOR

The last color I’m going to mention is Payne’s Gray!  Most people tend to shy away from this color – but actually I treat this color as more of a tinting color for shadows in my illustration or deepening a night sky along the edges of my paper.  This is why I’m including it in my essential list!

So those are the colors I use pretty much on a daily basics.  Below I’m gonna list some honorable mentions of colors I use every one and a while but can’t seem to part with them 🙂

>>>SOME HONORABLE MENTIONS<<<

These are colors that I love to use – but don’t always mix well with other colors or I can mix one of these colors from the paints listed above.

BRILLIANT PINK – HOLBEIN
SHELL PINK – HOLBEIN
MAUVE – WINSOR (Cotman Series)
MAY GREEN – SCHMINCKE
HORIZON BLUE – HOLBEIN
QUINACRIDONE GOLD – DANIEL SMITH
NAPPLES YELLOW – WINSOR
OLIVE GREEN – HOLBEIN
CADMIUM YELLOW – WINSOR
WINSOR YELLOW – WINSOR
SCARLET LAKE – WINSOR
PHTHALO SAPPHIRE BLUE – SCHMINCKE

 

And that is finally it!  I hope you enjoyed the post and info!  Also, if you purchase through amazon from one of the links above – I do receive a tiny commission that is no cost to you.  Thanks for helping support Watercolor Misfit.
Also, if you liked this list and would like for me to provide more supplies and info tidbits similar to this post – please let me know in the comments down below 😀

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

Cindy R June 7, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Always like to know what your favorites are. Just starting out and so limited resources, so I can really appreciate knowing what you have found with the supplies. Please do more of these videos. And really enjoy the tis. They help so much.

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Julie June 9, 2018 at 10:40 am

Brushes are a mystery to me. There are so many different qualities and types. Some say always use a big brush and some say always use a small brush!

Reply
Maureen Andersen June 12, 2018 at 10:42 pm

I recently purchased one of the Daniel Smith dot cards and fell in love with ALL of the quinacridone colours. They all have the brightness and vividness that makes watercolour so compelling. Have you tried them? I am certain that they would fit well into your colour scheme!

Reply
Misfit June 13, 2018 at 8:52 pm

Yeah I’ve tried Daniel Smith 🙂 they’re great!

Reply

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