Does the brand of watercolor paints you use matter?

Short answer? Yes.

Long answer, kind of.

You’ll find that there are two types of watercolor paints. You have student grade paints. And you have professional grade paints.

The student grade paints have less pigment and when possible, cheaper ingredients. That’s how the paint companies still make money when they have to sell a cheaper product.

Student grade paints are fine when you’re a student. But once you start getting to the point where you want to sell your artwork, you should be using professional quality paints.

I’ve tried a lot of paints over the years, buying paints a few at a time from various brands. And I’ve found that among the top brands, they’re all good. But often for different reasons.

I’ll narrow it down to my 3 favorite brands. Please note though that different areas have different availability. You may have an excellent watercolor paint brand available to you that’s not available to me. And vice versa. So by no means is this an exhaustive list.

Daniel Smith is an American paint company. Their watercolors are consistently good and of all the companies, they have one of the biggest, if not the biggest selection of paints.

Sennelier is a French paint company from 1887. They’re known as the paints that the Impressionists used. These are actually my favorite paints because they have a pigmentation that “pops,” which fits my personal style of paintings.

Another note – you and I aren’t the same artist. We produce different themes, different subjects, and different feelings.

I’m rattling off these three brands because I feel they’re consistently solid brands. You’ll see mostly positive reviews for these brands for a reason.

You don’t create a solid product by accident. You can tell the people who work at these companies take pride in their products.

And lastly, Winsor and Newton. I bought these paints because of their availability when I’d run low of a paint and will need to pop in the local store and pick something up immediately. I have yet to be disappointed.

Their burnt sienna is simply the best burnt sienna I’ve ever used. This is a color I use a lot so it’s important to me.

Winsor and Newton hails from England all the way back to 1832. John Constable, an excellent English Romantic landscape painter, used them.

Roman Riva and Melisa
I usually paint my paintings from a live sketch. This is Melisa, sketched live

I consider them more “subdued” than the other two, which is perfect if you want to do more realistic paintings. I’m a pop artist, not a fine artist. So not at all knocking them. It’s just of the three, they fit my style the least. However, I’d recommend them the highest if you’re painting realistic landscapes.

So once again, the brand really depends on what you want to achieve. You’ll need something that fits your style.

Also, you’ll find yourself having favorite paints that are sometimes outside of your favorite paint company. Like me and Winsor and Newton’s burnt sienna for instance.

Do you have a favorite brand? Also, have you ever used paints you don’t like?

Categories: Watercolors


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