Thursday, November 01, 2012

POLL: Which are the best artist-quality watercolour paints?

One of my most frequent questions when interviewing artists is to ask them what brand of paint they like to use.  That's because I know that other artists would also ask this question if they ever got the chance!

Guess who this paintbox belongs to?
Which are the best watercolour paints for artists?

So the Making A Mark Poll for this month asks you about:
  • which are the best watercolour paints in your view.  I'm also having a supplementary poll asking people how many brands they've tried.
  • for comments on why you like your favourite watercolour paints
[POLL IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED AS BLOGGER POLL MODULE NOT WORKING - DROPPING VOTES - I'm working on a fix which should be published later today]

The brands are listed below - in alphabetical order.

Many of you may be unfamiliar with some of them and for that reason I've included the link to the manufacturer's brand site in the name of the paint.
You can find the two polls in the right hand column.  The Poll finishes very early on 30th November and the results will be reported shortly afterwards.

Your views

Do please share your views about what you think are the best artists' watercolour paints and why they are your favourites

Do you have just one absolute favourite colour?

More about watercolour painting:


I've created a website arising out of this and another poll and started to document the various brands of watercolour paint.  See for yourself - Which is the best brand of watercolour paint for artists?  This also has a poll about the best brands of watercolour paint.


  1. I like different colors by different manufacturers! I am just starting to use the Daniel Smith Colors and they are wonderful, pigment rich paints. I have used Winsor & Newton for many years and can always rely on the quality of their paints. Experimented with the M. Graham paints and I like the fact that they accept water quickly (stay moist) when I open my palette and add a few drops of water...maybe it's the honey? As for colors- I have always loved w&n Davy's Grey as for my newest crush..I just started using pyrelene maroon and I love it! Rebecca

  2. I love comments like these - they awake my appetite to try new paint!

  3. Good poll, I too am always curious.

    The paintbox belongs to you... what did I win?

    I'm probably like most and have tried 4 or 5 brands out and have the 'go to favorite' for most colors.

    My number 1 is Windsor and Newton, like Rebecca says above it's their quality you can always count on.
    Quality it more expensive but it goes farther, lesser grade paints don't, must be less 'fillers' in it or something.

    Not on your list, Grumbacher, which I also use, I like their Naples yellow better than other brands. It leans more toward orange with less white in it so it mixes better with other colors.
    Paynes Gray I use a lot of and notice a huge difference from one brand to another. I prefer the Windsor & Newton but sometimes I want one that has more purple blue in it, it varies.

    The subtle variety in colors from brand to brand I like, using one over another for reasons specific to any given painting, the way they mix with other (predominant) colors in that particular painting.

    And yes, the W&N Davy's Gray makes a good greenish gray (grey).

    Every so often when at the art store I will randomly try a new brand, there are so many, to see if I like theirs.
    Thats one way to discover.
    I recently tried Van Gogh brand, it's ok.

    (BTW people, the 2 polls are uneven, answer both ; ) )

    Can't remember where I got this link, maybe here at Making a Mark, but here is a useful link on watercolor paints and their qualities etc.

    Keep painting...

  4. Is the question 'which is the best', or, 'which is your favourite'? It's such a personal thing paint. I pretty much adore W&N green gold - it's 'radiant neutral', which doesn't make sense, which us why I like it! Amazing tonal range and glowing tints make it thoroughly dynamic as a paint. Works well with transparent yellow.

  5. Hi Katherine,
    I am not sure about any of the rest of the watercolor paints, but I LOVE Windsor&Newton's tiny portable kit that includes 12 pots of colors, a brush, 2 palettes (or 3 if you use the water container side as a palette, which it is meant for), water "bottle" and cup. You can put this kit and a small watercolor sketchbook in your pocket and away you go!

  6. I have tried about 6 of the brands on your list and some that aren't.
    I use Winsor and Newton the most and find them consistently good and they are light fast. One of my W/N favourites for using in landscapes is transparent red brown. Shminke are also very good and have some useful colours for flower painting. I have just bought their translucent orange to play with.

  7. This is very frustrating - the poll module is NOT working properly and id dropping votes - including mine!

  8. Like many others I have tried a number of brands. Definitely like W&N but my favorite at the moment has to be Schminke as they are so smooth and rich in pigment. Favorite colour? Indigo...or is it translucent orange? or maybe aureolin? or maybe Quinacridone magenta? So difficult to decide. I must go and play with them some more.


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