THE BEST WATERCOLOR PASTLE PALETE FOR ME

posted by Misfit October 21, 2018 13 Comments

FOR YEARS I HAVE SLAVED OVER MIXING & HONING THE PERFECT PASTLE PALETTE FOR MY STYLE.

I truly love watercolors – but the traditional watercolor palette never really “JIVED” with me.   That’s why I’ve spent WAY TOO MUCH MONEY and WAY TOO MANY HOURS – WELL REALLY YEARS – honing this palette and making it mine.  And NOW I can finally say I’ve done it!   I’VE FINALLY NARROWED my palette DOWN TO 22 COLORS that make the perfect pastel watercolor palette for me!

SO WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT PASTLE WATERCOLOR PALETTE?

It starts with choosing good solid primaries colors both the traditional set (red, yellow, deep blue) and the modern set of primaries (yellow turquoise, and pink).  The next item I pay attention to when honing my palette is if the colors can be watered down to a nearly transparent hue – thus making them good light pastel tones.  Next – I look for very vibrant colors that I can use as bases.  These colors are almost too vibrant when coming directly from the tube – but that’s not a problem.  You can always tone down a color – but making a paint color more vibrant and that brilliant pure color is impossible.   And lastly – I look for colors that will be good toners (or colors that can tone down these bright vibrant colors) to my liking and Voilà the perfect pastel watercolor palette for me!  SO below are my colors and I hope you enjoy!  

 

SO HERE ARE MY FAVORITE WATERCOLORS

 

1. BRILLIANT OPERA ROSE  – SCHMINCKE

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.  If you can’t afford schmincke – try to invest in professional opera rose from winsor and newton.

2. SHELL PINK – HOLBEIN

This is a new color I’ve recently stumbled upon.  It’s fantastic for mixing brilliant peachy colors and sweet pastels. However, it is a bit opaque so keep that in mind.

3. SCARLET LAKE – WINSOR

This red is the most brilliant and transparent red paint I’ve ever run across.  It’s awesome if you desire to use red in a painting.  Just keep in mind – since it’s transparent it will dry lighter than when first applied.  So you might end up using more than you originally planned.  But still well worth it.

4. CADMIUM ORANGE – WINSOR

This color is the color I used for my brilliant fox!  It’s a stunning firey orange that mixes beautifully with scarlet lake, winsor yellow, and brilliant opera rose.   🙂

5. INDIAN YELLOW – WINSOR

This beautiful yellow looks more like a yellow orange.  The reason I love this paint is it’s transparency and it’s ability to glide over the page like ink.   It’s truly mesmerizing.  🙂

6. JUANE BRILLIANT NO.2 – HOLBEIN

This was an unexpected color that popped into my palette a couple of months ago and I’m so glad it did!  If you are interested in skin tones – this color mixed perfectly for peachy skin tones.   It also is my palette because it creates really unique pastel greens and blues when mixed with cobalt turquoise.  This color is a must for me in my palette!

 

7. WINSOR YELLOW – WINSOR

This is considered a true or primary yellow – meaning it mixes well with both warm colors and cool colors – which means it’s a must in my palette.

8. NAPPLES YELLOW – WINSOR

This is a pale yellow – which if you desire pastel colors in your palette – this color is a must have.

9. 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 🙂

10. OLIVE GREEN – HOLBEIN

This color is beautiful for dark leaves and deep organic greens.  It’s not necessary – but I love it so.  🙂

11. COBALT TURQUOISE – SCHMINCKE

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.

12. HORIZON BLUE – HOLBEIN

THIS BLUE IS AWESOME!  Great for bright sky blues!  A must if you like those super light and airy blues.   But keep in mind it’s very opaque – so not good for glazing and even mixing with some colors.

13. 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.  🙂

14. PHTHALO SAPPHIRE BLUE – SCHMINCKE

In all honesty – I don’t use this color often. But I’m still including it on my list because sometimes you just need a good dark intense blue.  And this color does the job!  This is another color (as mentioned earlier) in the mountain fox painting.   If you desire rich deep blues – especially for night skies – this is your color!

15. 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 🙂

16. MAUVE – WINSOR COTMAN SERIES

This just is a staple that all watercolorist need.  I love it’s rich warm purple hues – as well as it’s ability to create warm rich brown hues when mixed with orange. 🙂

17. YELLOW OCHRE – WINSOR

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

18. TRANSPARENT SIENNA – SCHMINCKE

If you are wanting to paint wild life and need a good brown – this colors is spectacular!  It’s transparent – so glazes like a dream and mixes beautiful with most colors!  Awesome neutral to add pop to your palette.    🙂

19. BURNT UMBER – WINSOR

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

20. PAYNE’S GRAY – WINSOR

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!

21. NEUTRAL TINT – WINSOR

And finally, this is a new color that I’ve stumbled upon and love so much I’m including it into my essentials list.   This color can create beautiful grays when mixed with yellow ochre and easily tones down colors to form shadow hues.   It’s very opaque – so you will need to water it down.  You also don’t need alot!  Plus it activates well inside a palette after drying.  Thus you won’t be wasting this paint fast.

22. ZINC WHITE – WINSOR GOUACHE

And finally, I do use gouache white for small details or even lightening colors in my washes.  If you don’t already know – I’m a modern watercolorist – not a traditional one.  So yeah – I use white 🙂 But mainly I use this as and added accent.

So those are the colors I use pretty much on a daily basics.  I hope that helps and also know this will be the staple palette I use in all courses from here on out.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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13 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!

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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!

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Misfit June 13, 2018 at 8:52 pm

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

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Jayne Kuchcinski October 24, 2018 at 9:54 pm

Thanks for this valuable information on your pastel pallete Carrie, I have most of them so now will be on Amazon for a few others tomorrow.
Your the best ?

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Annelouise October 25, 2018 at 6:41 am

Great article, Carrie! I have several of your favourite colours already, but mostly in Schmincke, Sennelier and Holbein rather than Winsor and Newton. I was going to buy W and N Opera, but will now check out the Schmincke version first. And thank you for reminding me about Holbein’s Shell Pink! I was about to use a very watered down crimson for some soft pink tulips I’m painting, but the Shell Pink is actually near-perfect! 🙂 Anne in Oz.

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Peggy October 27, 2018 at 3:41 pm

What a great post. So useful. I was just bemoaning a very dull looking pink in my palette last night. Thanks so much.

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Radhika October 29, 2018 at 9:30 am

Hi Carrie,

Thanks so much for compiling this for us. I love pastel palettes and this is such a wealth of valuable information!!
Just a quick question. For the single-pigment paints you listed above, would using a corresponding paint (with the same pigment) in another brand look similar in terms of vibrancy and hue? I wish I could use W&N and Schmincke, however as they are not vegan, I can only stick to Daniel Smith or Holbein for now. Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one. Thanks again!

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Jane October 31, 2018 at 12:08 am

Great information! Thank you for sharing!

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Michelle Cook November 28, 2018 at 8:26 am

Hi Carrie,

I have been trying to find a good true red watercolor paint. Most that I have tried are a bit too orange for what I want, or the truer reds seem to get grainy and break apart easily. I guess I am looking for a more Christmas red. Do you have any in mind that you like?
All of the paints that you have suggested that I have tried have been lovely.

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Misfit December 3, 2018 at 11:12 pm

I really love my scarlet lake red from Winsor and Newton. I see it as a more true bright red. It’s not grainy at all either. So hope that helps. That is the only red I own and for the same reasons you suggested 😀

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skott wyze November 29, 2018 at 11:39 pm

Hi Misfit! I love your palette! Unfortunately, the amazon links are all broken so I cannot tell if they were the professional or student grades of the colors. Any help you could provide would be super useful.

Love your art style. Cheers!

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Misfit December 3, 2018 at 11:16 pm

Thanks for letting me know – recently the website has been doing some wonky things. I think it’s a bit overloaded with views. I’ve noticed alot more traffic to the site recently – so gonna need to check on that. As for the metal palette – I just checked and it seems the seller is actually out of the supply. I’ll need to do some digging and find another brand that is similar to the one I own.

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