Best Watercolor Paint for Beginners: Your Essential Guide

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Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Dee

Embarking on your watercolor journey? Great choice! Watercolor painting, with its beautiful, translucent colors, is perfect for both new artists and seasoned pros. If you’re new to this art form, picking out your first set of watercolor paints might seem a bit tricky with so many options out there. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you find the best watercolor paint for beginners!

Let’s talk about the two main types of watercolor paints: pan and tube. Pan paints are solid blocks that you activate with water. They’re super portable and easy to use, making them a great choice if you’re just starting. Tube paints are more concentrated and offer more flexibility in mixing colors. They’re fun to play with, but pans are generally more straightforward for beginners.

When choosing your first set, focus on a few key things. Look for a variety of colors – a mix of warm, cool, and natural shades is ideal. You’ll also want to check the quality of the pigments, how well the colors resist fading (lightfastness), and how transparent the paint is. And if you’re concerned about safety, especially if kids are involved or you’re painting in a small space, look for non-toxic paints.

We’ve done the legwork, testing a bunch of watercolor paints to find the ones that are just right for beginners. So, you can start your watercolor adventure with confidence and excitement!

best watercolor paint for beginners

Best Watercolor Paints for Beginners

We know you’re eager to start your artistic journey, so we’ve compiled a list of the best watercolor paints specifically tailored for beginners like you. Dive into this colorful selection and take your first step towards becoming a watercolor master!

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommended. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

Norberg & Linden Watercolor Paint Set

Norberg & Linden Watercolor Paint Set

We recently tried the Norberg & Linden Watercolor Paint Set and it’s honestly a fantastic starting point for anyone new to watercolor painting. Here’s why we think it’s a great choice:

First off, this set comes with an impressive array of 36 colors. Whether you’re sticking to the basics or branching out into more complex styles, these vibrant hues have got you covered. We found the color variety perfect for experimenting with different painting techniques.

The portability of this set is a huge plus. The case is travel-friendly, making it easy to bring your art wherever you go. It’s made from sturdy, lightweight plastic, so it’s durable without being bulky. This feature is super handy for those impromptu painting sessions in the park or at a friend’s place.

Now, let’s talk about the brushes and paper included. The set comes with six different brushes, each a different size. We appreciated this variety, as it gave us the flexibility to choose the right brush for the job at hand. And the 5.5 x 8.5 watercolor paper? It’s high-quality and provides a strong, dependable surface for your artwork.

However, there are a couple of things to consider. The compact size of the set might be a bit small for some, and not everyone might find the brushes to their liking. Also, if you’re planning to dive into more advanced watercolor techniques, you might eventually outgrow these paints.

Overall, we believe the Norberg & Linden Watercolor Paint Set is a top-notch choice for beginners and hobbyists. It’s affordable, offers a wide range of colors, and includes quality supplies, all in a portable package. It’s a set that will definitely support you as you start your journey into the world of watercolor painting.

LIGHTWISH MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set

MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set

We got our hands on the MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set, and it’s safe to say it’s a real gem for beginners in watercolor painting. Let us share our experience and why we think it’s worth your attention.

The first thing that struck us was the quality of the paint. Thanks to the high-quality Arabic gum, each stroke gives off a glossy, transparent finish that really makes your artwork pop. The colors are richly pigmented, and we were pleasantly surprised by how smoothly they mix. There’s no grainy texture after drying, which is often a concern with other watercolor paints.

The packaging is another big win. It comes in a sturdy, well-designed metal case that’s both functional and sleek. Opening and closing it is a breeze. The flip cover doubles as a palette, which is super handy, and the included brush means you can start painting right out of the box. The metal ring under the case is a thoughtful touch, making it comfortable to hold while painting.

However, there are a few things to be mindful of. The color chart might not perfectly match the actual paints, so you might want to create a swatch card for accurate reference. The richness of the colors is impressive but can be a bit overwhelming at first. We found that using less paint than you think is often the way to go. And if you’re working on more transparent finishes, the paint might not look as vibrant once dried, but experimenting with different techniques can help overcome this.

The LIGHTWISH MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set is a fantastic choice for those starting their watercolor journey. The high-quality, vivid colors, combined with the convenience and design of the case, make it a set that’s not just practical but also inspiring. It’s definitely a set that encourages you to explore and express your creativity freely!

Masllutn Upgraded 48 Colors Watercolor Paint Set

Upgraded 48 Colors Washable Watercolor Paint Set

We love the Masllutn Upgraded 48 Colors Watercolor Paint Set, and it’s a real treat, especially for beginners and even seasoned artists. Here’s our take on why this set might just be what you’re looking for.

The variety of colors in this set is impressive. With 48 different shades, you’re spoilt for choice, whether you’re doing a simple sketch or a more complex piece. The colors blend effortlessly, which is a huge plus if you’re still getting the hang of watercolor techniques.

The brushes included in this set are a standout feature. They come with soft nylon hair, which we found perfect for creating smooth, detailed strokes. The wooden handles are comfortable to hold, adding to the overall quality of your painting experience.

Its portability is another big plus. The set is lightweight and easy to carry around, making it perfect for outdoor painting sessions or if you like to switch up your painting spots.

Now, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The colors tend to dry out fast when exposed to air, so make sure you close the set when you’re not using it. Also, after using it, leave it open to dry properly to prevent mold growth – a small step that helps maintain the quality of the paints.

One cool feature is the paint palette – it’s actually the removable transparent lid of the set. This design is super handy for mixing colors without needing an extra palette.

Nicpro Watercolor Paint Set

Nicpro Watercolor Paint Set

We had the chance to try out the Nicpro Watercolor Paint Set and it’s a fantastic option for anyone just starting their watercolor journey. Here’s why we think it’s a solid choice for beginners.

This set is like a treasure trove for budding artists – it comes packed with 48 vibrant colors, brushes, a palette, a watercolor pen, paper, and art sponges. The range of colors is impressive, and we found them easy to blend, allowing for a lot of creative freedom.

Safety is a big plus with this set. It’s non-toxic and ASTM certified, so it’s safe for artists of all ages. This is especially reassuring if you’re sharing your art supplies with younger family members or students.

The brushes in this set deserve a special mention. They’re made of synthetic squirrel hair, which we found to be wonderfully absorbent and elastic. This translates to a smooth painting experience, with brushes that hold paint well and make precise strokes.

However, there are a few points to note. We observed that some colors might fade when exposed to sunlight for extended periods. Also, the paints tend to dry out somewhat quickly, so it’s a good idea to keep them closed when not in use. And while the included paper is decent for beginners, those who are more advanced in their art journey might prefer higher-quality paper.

In summary, the Nicpro Watercolor Paint Set stands out as an affordable and comprehensive choice for beginners. Its wide color selection, high-quality brushes, and additional art supplies make it a versatile and user-friendly kit for anyone eager to dive into watercolor painting. Whether you’re experimenting with new techniques or just starting, this set provides a solid foundation for your creative explorations.

Chalkola Watercolor Paint Set

Chalkola Watercolor Paint Set

What stands out in this set is the range of colors. You get 36 tubes, including some lovely metallic shades, which really open up a lot of creative possibilities. Whether you’re experimenting with new techniques or working on a familiar style, these colors offer the versatility you need.

The set also includes a palette and 10 brushes, which we found quite useful. The brushes vary in size and shape, allowing for different strokes and effects in your painting. This variety is particularly beneficial if you’re still figuring out your preferred style or technique.

Safety is always important, and Chalkola has done well in this regard. The paints are non-toxic and acid-free, making them suitable for both kids and adults. This is a big plus if you’re looking for family-friendly art supplies.

However, there are a couple of downsides. The tubes are on the smaller side, so if you’re painting frequently, you might need to replenish your stock sooner than expected. Also, while the brushes are a nice inclusion, they may not meet the needs of more experienced artists in terms of quality and durability. You might consider investing in a higher-quality brush set as you progress in your watercolor journey.

The Chalkola Watercolor Paint Set is a great choice for those starting out or working within a budget. It offers a wide array of vibrant colors, including some unique metallic shades, and comes with useful tools and accessories. While some components might need upgrading over time, it’s an excellent kit for anyone eager to delve into the world of watercolor painting.

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors, 48 Colors

I recently had the opportunity to use the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolor Paint Set, the 48-color version, and found it to be a fantastic choice for beginners in watercolor painting. Here’s why:

The colors in this set are notably vibrant and bright, a result of the high pigment-to-binder ratio. This means you get rich colors without needing to use a lot of paint, which is great for beginners still learning color mixing and control.

The creamy and smooth texture of the paints is another plus. Unlike some watercolors that can be chalky or granular, Kuretake’s paints glide onto the paper, making them easier to blend and work with.

We appreciated that these paints don’t need to be activated with water before use, unlike many other watercolors. This feature makes the painting process more straightforward and lets you focus more on your technique and less on the prep work.

The large pan size is also a bonus. It gives you plenty of room to pick up paint with the brush, which is helpful when you’re still getting the hang of how much paint to use.

The ability to easily lift the paint even after it dries was a key feature for me. This quality allows for correcting mistakes and adjusting layers, offering a bit of forgiveness as you learn. Plus, the paints can be reactivated once dry, making it easy to pick up where you left off or blend colors further.

Funcils Watercolor Paint Set

Funcils Watercolor Paint Set

We also were told to try out the Funcils Watercolor Paint Set. We found this set delightful, especially for those starting their journey in watercolor painting or even for seasoned artists looking for a portable option!

One of the most striking features is the sheer variety of colors – 50 in total, including both metallic and bright shades. This vast range allows you to experiment with different hues and combinations, making it a versatile choice for any artist.

The portability of this set is a big plus. It’s designed to be travel-friendly, fitting neatly into a stylish metal box. This makes it incredibly convenient for painting outdoors or while traveling. The kit isn’t just about the paints; it also comes packed with 3 watercolor brushes, 10 sheets of paper, a pencil, a kneaded eraser, a watercolor pen, a black paint pen marker, and a sponge. The foldable design is a thoughtful touch, allowing for easy setup and storage.

However, it’s worth noting a few points. Some users have mentioned that the water brush included isn’t of the best quality. While this might not be a deal-breaker, you might consider investing in a higher-quality brush as you progress. Also, the size of the set might be smaller than some expect, so keep that in mind if you prefer working with larger setups.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Funcils Watercolor Paint Set stands out as an excellent choice for beginners and those who appreciate the convenience of a compact, all-in-one set. It offers a wide range of high-quality colors and essential tools, making it a great value for anyone eager to explore the colorful world of watercolor painting.

CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set

CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set

If you’re venturing into watercolor painting, the CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set is a solid choice to consider. It’s a 62-piece kit that’s really thoughtfully put together for beginners. With its variety of colors and helpful tutorials, it’s like a friendly guide into the world of watercolors.

The set comes with 26 watercolors, and we were impressed by the range of colors. They’re vibrant but not overwhelming, which is great when you’re still learning to mix and match hues. The transparency of the pigments is just right for experimenting with different watercolor techniques.

The addition of a nine-part video tutorial series is a big bonus. These tutorials are super helpful, especially if you’re starting from scratch. They cover the basics and some neat tricks to get your skills up and running. The set also includes watercolor paper sketchbooks with worksheets, which complement the tutorials nicely.

You’ll also get eight synthetic squirrel brushes. They’re decent for beginners and allow for a variety of strokes. Alongside these, the set includes a palette, an aqua pen, and masking tape, which are pretty much all the tools you’d need to start painting.

That said, there are a few caveats. The intensity of the pigments isn’t on par with professional sets, but it’s good enough for beginners. The brushes do the job, although they might feel a bit flimsy at the metal tips. Also, the paper is more suited for practice and following along with the tutorials, rather than for creating professional-grade artwork.

RiseBrite Watercolor Paint Set

RiseBrite Watercolor Paint Set

The Risebrite Watercolor Paint kit comes impressively equipped with 24 non-toxic watercolor paints, 12 nylon brushes, a water paint pad, and other essentials like a pencil, eraser, sharpener, masking tape, and a large palette. This array of tools allowed me to dive right into painting without needing to purchase additional supplies.

One thing I noticed, though, is that the kit doesn’t include a sponge or a spray bottle, which can be handy in watercolor painting. Also, if you’re completely new to this art form, you might find yourself looking for guidance on how to use the different brushes, as the set doesn’t provide instructions on that.

The quality of the paints themselves was a pleasant surprise. The colors are vibrant and they lay down nicely on paper. While they may not match up to the standards of professional-grade paints, they’re more than adequate for beginner and intermediate level work. Plus, the 90-day money-back guarantee is a reassuring addition, especially if you’re trying out watercolor painting for the first time and aren’t sure what to expect.

Overall, the RiseBrite Watercolor Paint Set stands out as a solid option for beginners. It balances quality and affordability, providing a comprehensive set that covers all the basics for someone just starting their journey into watercolor painting.

Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing the best watercolor paint for beginners, there are a few key factors to consider. In this buying guide, we will provide some tips and suggestions to help you make an informed decision. Remember, practice makes perfect, so no matter what paint you choose, your skills will improve with time and dedication.

Price vs. Quality

The first aspect to consider when buying watercolor paints is your budget. As a beginner, it is not essential to opt for the most expensive paints available. Start with a reasonable price range and look for a balance between price and quality. Take note that cheaper paints may not be as vibrant or long-lasting as higher-priced options. The table below will give you an idea of the variations in quality and price.

Price RangeQuality Level

Types of Watercolor Paints

There are two main types of watercolor paints: pan and tube paints.

  • Pan paints are solid and compact, making them easy to transport and store. They are usually available in sets and are a great option for beginners as they are easy to mix and less messy.
  • Tube paints contain more liquid and are typically richer in pigment. This type allows finer control over the concentration of color and is suitable for more advanced watercolor techniques.

As a beginner, you might want to start with pan paints due to their affordability and convenience, but feel free to explore both types depending on your preferences.

Pigment and Transparency

A crucial aspect of watercolor paint is the quality of its pigment. Vivid and long-lasting colors can make a significant difference in your artwork. Always look for paints with high-quality pigments. Another essential factor is transparency. Watercolor paints have different levels of transparency, which can influence the way your artwork appears:

  1. Transparent: Allows light to pass through, showcasing underlying layers
  2. Semi-transparent: Partially allows light through, creating subtle layering effects
  3. Opaque: Does not allow light to pass through, covering underlying layers completely

As a beginner, it’s a good idea to have a mix of all three types in your paint collection, allowing you to experiment with various techniques and styles.

With these factors in mind, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the best watercolor paint for your needs. Practice, experiment, and enjoy the creative process!

Best watercolor paint for beginners

Using Watercolor Paint in Your Bullet Journal

Getting Started with Watercolors
Adding watercolor to your bullet journal can transform your spreads into vibrant works of art. To begin, select high-quality watercolors like the Kuretake Gansai paints. These are well-loved for their creamy texture and intense colors, making them a fantastic choice for bullet journal enthusiasts.

Choosing Your Journal
It’s crucial to have a bullet journal that can handle the moisture from watercolors. Opt for journals with heavier paper weight to prevent bleeding and buckling. Journals like those from tumuarta are designed to withstand wet media and are a great option.

Watercolor Methods
Experiment with techniques to achieve different effects:

  • Wet on Wet: Apply watercolor to a wet surface for diffused edges.
  • Wet on Dry: Paint on dry paper for sharp, controlled lines.

Watercolor Tools for Bullet Journals
In addition to traditional watercolor sets, you might consider:

  • Watercolor Brush Pens: They are perfect for on-the-go painting and require less setup. A good set of watercolor brush pens can be found here.
  • Watercolor Pencils: These allow for precise application with the ability to add water later for a paint effect. You can find a quality set of watercolor pencils here.

Applying Watercolor in Your Bullet Journal
To incorporate watercolor into your journal:

  1. Page Preparation: If your journal’s pages are on the thinner side, you might want to protect them by placing a plastic sheet or wax paper behind the page you’re working on to prevent bleed-through.
  2. Color Testing: Before applying paint to your journal, test your colors on scrap paper to ensure they’re the hue and saturation you want.

Remember to let each layer dry thoroughly before applying new colors or writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best budget-friendly watercolor sets for a novice artist?

As a beginner, you don’t need to spend a fortune on paints. Some budget-friendly yet quality watercolor sets include Prang Watercolors, Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors, and Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Set. These brands offer a good balance between cost and performance, allowing you to learn and experiment without breaking the bank.

How do I choose good quality watercolor paints as a beginner?

When choosing watercolor paints, look for pigmented and vivid colors, good lightfastness, and easy solubility. Opt for individual tubes or sets designed for beginners, such as the ones mentioned earlier. Starting with a limited palette helps you focus on developing your skills and understanding color mixing.

What key features should I look for in watercolor brushes for beginners?

As a beginner, look for brushes with synthetic bristles, as they are affordable and durable. Choose a set that includes a round brush, a flat brush, and a fine detail brush to cover your basic needs. Some excellent synthetic brush options are Princeton’s Snap! brushes or Royal & Langnickel Zen brushes.

What are some good watercolor projects for someone just starting out?

Start your watercolor journey with simple projects like painting fruit, landscapes, or flowers. Try monochromatic studies, practicing gradients, and experimenting with wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques. Also, seek out online tutorials, instructional videos, and workshops to improve your skills step by step.

Which colors are essential for a beginner’s watercolor palette?

A basic watercolor palette should include a warm and cool version of each primary color. For example, a yellow (lemon yellow or cadmium yellow), a red (cadmium red or alizarin crimson), and a blue (cerulean blue or ultramarine). Additionally, consider including a green (sap green), a brown (burnt sienna), and a neutral color (black or gray) for versatility.

Can you recommend non-toxic watercolor brands suitable for new painters?

Safety is important, especially if you’re a beginner or sharing your supplies with children. Seek out non-toxic watercolors like Reeves watercolors, Prang watercolors, or Faber-Castell watercolor tubes. Always check the labels to ensure the paints are labeled as non-toxic and safe for use.

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