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Is Watercolour Paint Quality Important?


Do you remember when the watercolour paint quality became important to you?

I remember I had this palette made of plastic with 12 big rounded pans of colours. You know the kind of palette you buy at the store in the kids’ section. I had that palette for kids who would come over at our place to play.The colours where so fake and synthetic. You could see from a thousand miles that the quality was so poor haha.

Anyway, when I started with Islamic geometry, I bought myself a Winsor&Newton palette made of 12 students’ grade watercolour. Back at that time, I didn’t know anything about the quality of watercolour paints. I saw many artists using Winsor&Newton watercolours, so I thought that anything from them could be ok.

The Cotman palette wasn’t cheap, it cost around 25€, and for me, it was a huge investment. This makes me laugh out loud now because I’m willing to spend 4 times more than that sum for good quality watercolour paint.



With time and practice, I learned that watercolour paint quality is essential.

High-quality watercolour paint is usually labelled as “professional watercolour”. This kind of paint is known to be the purest of pigments and is known for its brilliance, permanence and strength of colour.

Where you find lower quality, less expensive paint is when manufacturers substitute expensive pigments for synthetic ingredients. Not only are they more harmful to your health, but they can also lack vibrancy and permanence. If you see the word ‘hue’ after the name of the pigment, you will know that it is a substitute for the real thing!

Professional watercolours are expensive, but if you are serious about becoming an artist, you should consider investing some money into professional stuff.

In my opinion, it’s preferable to have fewer colours but of the highest quality instead of thousands cheap colours.


When I switched to professional watercolour…OH MY… the colour was so rich and vibrant. I remember I had to use a lot of red pigment from the Winsor&Newton “Cotman” palette to obtain a deep red (I was in love with deep red back then), but when I tried the professional version, I only needed a little bit of paint to obtain the same result.

This is also another reason why you should invest your money into high-quality paint. I know it’s expensive, but a little tube can go on for a very long time considering that you only need a little bit of pigment to obtain a vibrant result.

Other professional paint brands that I recommend, beside Winsor&Newton, are Daniel Smith, Schmincke and Zecchi.



Hand-made paints are unique because of their hand-made nature.

Using hand-made watercolour give more story and value to your painting, especially if it’s you who made the paint.

Hand-made watercolour paints are not a budget option. The high manual labour cost of making watercolour in small batches means that they tend to be more expensive than commercial brands.

I recently switched to hand-made watercolours. My wallet is still crying because of the money I spent on them but GUYS they are the best thing I’ve bought in years. I can’t stop using them like any other “professional” watercolour is nothing compared to hand-made watercolour.

Here are the brands that I love and support: Alina Gallo, Greenleaf & Blueberry, Lost in Colors and Bristleandbrush.


Watercolour’s grade is  only one the many things you should consider before choosing the right brand for you. This resource guide is what you need to learn more about this amazing medium


***Affiliate disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links which means that I may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. This helps to support my work so that I can continue to make valuable free content for you.***


Is Watercolour Paint Quality Important?

July 23, 2020

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  1. Thank you Sandy, that was very helpful! I always wonder about how the streaky some of my paints are and sometime chalky. I appreciate the fact you shared some of your favourite brands.

  2. Marzieh Kaviani says:

    Interesting tips!
    You are great

  3. Vivien Adler says:

    Thanks Sandy as always for your informative blog. Is there a difference between tubes and pans? What do you prefer and why?

    • Sandy Kurt says:

      I haven’t found any difference between tube and pan in terms of quality. The colours in tubes are ready for painting as you just a little bit of water and that’s it while the colour in the pan needs to be wetted, lifted, put into a palette and you do it several times to get the amount of paint you need.

  4. Adrienne says:

    I have that Cotman palette too! It’s my first and I was wondering why the colours weren’t as vibrant and strong as the ones I see on social media… now I know why. Next time I’ll try professional grade. Thanks for the info!

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.
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