Watercolor paint comes in different varieties, so if you are not sure of what to buy, you need not worry because this article will tell you everything you need to know and consider when buying watercolor paint.
There are several colors to select from, and their features vary from brand to brand. While you can produce any color by mixing the primary color(red, blue, and yellow), you should keep in mind that mixed colors are usually dull and lifeless. Single pigmented colors are more vibrant and intense.
Understandably, most people can’t afford to buy a lot of water colour paints, so there’s a lot to consider when you are thinking of building a versatile color palette. You don’t have to worry much about this. There’s no right way to do this because choosing a color type is all about personal preference. Some artists can have up to 50 colors in the palette, while some can have just 10 colors.
If you are starting out, you only need basic colors in your palette, and as you gain more experience, you can add more colors and determine what works for you.
It would help if you also considered getting an artist or student quality, depending on your budget. If you are buying your first set of watercolor paints, buying from a good brand is good for your starter color palette. You can add more as time goes on.
The quality and properties of water colour paint differs from one brand to another but it doesn’t mean you can’t mix or match. You should note that no brand can be tagged the best. It all depends on individual preferences. Some manufacturers that are good at producing some colors aren’t that excellent with others. It is often advised that you try several colors from different brands and see the ones that align well with you. Once you have decided on the colors and brand you like, then you can start saving up to buy them in large quantities.
Permanence is also an important factor to consider. It is defined as the ability of the paint to withstand exposure to light and humidity without fading, darkening or shifting colours. It is also called light fastness. If you’re going to make an art that lasts for generations, then you should take good note of this feature when buying your water color paint.
When buying, you should look out for ASTM rating on the packaging and go for nothing below “Excellent” or “Very Good” light fastness.
Staining Vs Non-Staining
There are some watercolor paints that penetrate the fiber of the paper on top which they are used—staining while others do not.
If you want to buy watercolor paint for practice sake, you may not need to worry about this, but if you plan to use layering or “lift off” techniques, then you might need to consider having a good mixture of staining and non-staining paints.
While these two properties are important, they are difficult to determine as all pigments fall between the continuum. What artists do to know what they have bought is. to first paint on a separate sheet of paper before the actual painting is done. To be on safer side, some employ the use of masking fluid.
Another factor to consider is transparency. An intriguing feature that watercolor paint is valued for is transparency.
Simply put, transparency is the ability of light to pass through a paint and be able to reflect back off the white surface of a paper and give a great luminescent effect.
Watercolor paint can also be purchased as opaque watercolor. While these two properties are important, you might not need to worry about them if you’re just starting out. Some artists don’t believe in using opaque watercolour paint while some use it. As you grow in your painting experience, you’ll get to know if you need opaque watercolor paint or not.
To know if a watercolor paint set is transparent or not, you should check the tube or the pan containing the paint. Another way to determine opaqueness and transparency is by doing a transparency test.
A transparency test is simple. All you have to do is to use a permanent marker to draw a wide black line across a piece of paper. Stroke each of the colors bought across the line. After drying, the transparent color will seem to disappear while the opaque one will be visible or seem to leave a sediment behind.
One of the most important things to consider when you want to buy watercolor paint is quality. Depending on what you want, you can get watercolor paint artists quality or in students quality.
Artists watercolor paint sets contain high concentration of finely ground pigment with high performance rating. On the other hand, student’s quality watercolor paint can have cheaper pigments with more fillers and extenders.
The choice to opt for is dependent on the artistic quality you are trying to achieve. Although you should keep in mind that artists quality watercolor paint is expensive, even at that, you’ll get value for your money as regards performance, superiority in transparency and intensity.
Suppose you are a beginner experimenting with new media, then you should consider starting with student quality. With time, you can incorporate the artistic quality into your work. You should however, note that if you’re ever going to create a painting that will last for generations, you will need an artist’s watercolor paint quality.
Getting the right water colour paint while setting out might be a bit challenging but by putting into consideration the above mentioned points will make your buying journey easier.