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Best Watercolour Paints in 2023

Best Watercolour Paints

Watercolour painting is becoming increasingly popular among artists of all levels. With its unique blend of transparent pigment, water, and paper surface, the results can be breathtaking. It is often used by both amateur and professional painters alike to create eye-catching pieces.
Watercolour painting also appeals to artists who are looking for a slower, more meditative approach to art. The technique takes patience, practice, and skill; but when done right, it can create beautiful works of art that have a timeless quality about them. Additionally, the vibrant pigments used in watercolour painting stand out from other types of artwork. This added vibrancy draws many aspiring artists towards this type of art form.

What is watercolour painting?

Watercolour painting is a form of art that uses water-soluble pigment mixed with a binder such as gum arabic, glycerine, and honey to create vibrant colours on paper. It has been used by artists for centuries, and it is still popular today. Its beauty lies in the unpredictable nature of the medium; while some artists use a more controlled approach and are able to achieve highly detailed, realistic works of art, others may choose to embrace the unpredictability and create abstract pieces.

Best Watercolour Paints Currently Available on the Market

Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Paints 


Product Description

Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Paints offer a truly unique experience; boasting brilliant, permanent colour that is pristine in its mixability and transparency. With 93 out of 96 colours rated as highly durable for artists' use (AA or A), these paints provide peace of mind knowing the artwork produced can last generations without fading. As an added bonus, advancements in pigment technology allow for brighter tones than ever before!

Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Paints are available in 5ml, 14ml and 37ml sizes.


  • Brilliant, permanent and contains strong colours
  • Unrivalled transparency and clean mixing
  • 93 out of 96 colours rated permanent for artists' use
  • Brighter and more transparent colours due to advancements in pigment technolog


  • Colour Range: More than 100+ colours
  • Tube size: 5ml, 14ml & 37ml

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolour Sets


Product Description

Elevate your artwork with Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolour Sets. Crafted in the traditional Japanese style and featuring a range of carefully selected watercolours, these vibrant pigments yield rich, intense colours for use in illustrations, sketching, Sumi-e and brush lettering projects alike. Enjoy their creamy, smooth consistency as you blend each colour together to create stunning visuals—all without worrying about toxicity or unpleasant odours! Look closely at each individual tray from the palette - no two are exactly identical due to air bubbles that may cause subtle cracks or rough textures during handcrafting; however, this does not detract from its performance quality whatsoever.


  • Rich, intense colour pigments derived from traditional Japanese watercolour
  • Opaque and highly blendable with a creamy smooth consistency
  • Perfect for illustrations, sketching, Sumi-e and brush lettering
  • Handcrafted using traditional methods which may cause natural cracks or rough textures
  • Individual trays can be removed from the palette during use
  • Non-toxic and odourless


  • Sets come in 5 sizes: 12, 18, 24, 36 & 48 colours


Art Spectrum Artists' Watercolour Paints


Product Description

Unlock the vibrant, lasting beauty of your artwork with Art Spectrum Artists' Watercolour Paints. Its high pigment density and lightfastness allow you to achieve stunning results by layering thin washes or using wet-on-wet techniques. Create masterpieces that will stand the test of time!


  • Contains highly pigmented, lightfast colours for vibrant artwork
  • Great for creating thin washes or layering up colours to achieve the desired effect
  • Wet-on-wet techniques can be used to create beautiful and unique watercolour paintings
  • Exceptional colour purity, lightfastness and easy reworkability make these paints ideal for artists of all skill levels


  • Size: 10ml
  • Colour Range: 67 Colours

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Paints


Product Description

Winsor & Newton's Cotman Water Colours offer everything a beginner needs to get started with watercolour painting. By focusing on the essential characteristics of each individual pigment and offering a uniform consistency, these paints are perfect for novices in need of an economical solution. Yet they can also be used seamlessly with acclaimed Winsor & Newton supplies - granting experienced artists additional resources that will elevate their creative abilities even further!


  • Economically priced, making it an ideal choice for students or beginners
  • Uniform consistency makes the palette easier to learn, without sacrificing quality
  • Designed specifically to work in conjunction with Winsor & Newton watercolours
  • Enables versatility when working with both ranges of paints


  • Size: 8ml
  • Colour Range: 40 Colours

Reeves Watercolour Paints



Product Description

Reeves Fine Artist Watercolour Paint offers an extensive range of professional-quality pigments, allowing for unparalleled creativity in crafting opaque, semi-transparent, and transparent hues. Boasting both a granulating textured option as well as untextured washes at the user's convenience, this paint is ideal for art students or professionals who desire a clean painting experience free from harsh chemicals. Its renowned reliability can be further enhanced with watercolour paper compatible with it, resulting in improved results each time!


  • High concentration of pure pigments, providing quality and reliability
  • Range of opaque, semi-transparent and transparent paints to mix together
  • Achieves granulating textural effects and flat un-textured washes
  • Use specific watercolour paper for desired results and an optimal painting experience
  • Easy to clean up and free from harsh chemicals
  • Suitable for both students and professionals


  • Size: 12ml
  • Colour Range: 36 Colours

Tips for Selecting Top-Quality Watercolour Paints

Here are some tips for selecting top-quality watercolour paints:

  1. Choose artist-grade paints: Artist-grade watercolours have higher quality pigments and are more lightfast, meaning they will resist fading over time.
  2. Consider your budget: Watercolour paints come in a range of prices, so consider how much you're willing to spend. While some high-end paints may be expensive, they can be worth the investment for professional artists.
  3. Decide on your preferred format: Watercolour paints come in pans or tubes. Pans are better for smaller paintings or when you need to be mobile, while tubes allow you to mix larger amounts of paint.
  4. Look for transparency and vibrancy: High-quality watercolours will have strong pigmentation and maintain their transparency when diluted with water.
  5. Test before you buy: If possible, test out different brands and colours before making a purchase to ensure you like the way they perform.
  6. By keeping these tips in mind, you can select top-quality watercolour paints that will help you create beautiful and long-lasting works of art.

Professional or Student Grade Paints?

The decision to use professional or student-grade paints ultimately depends on your artistic goals, budget, and skill level.

Professional grade paints are typically made with higher quality pigments, have better lightfastness, and offer a wider range of colours. They may come with a higher price tag, but this can be offset by the amount of value they bring - especially if your budget is tight.

Student grade paints offer a great opportunity for those new to art or honing their skills with different techniques. Not only do they come at an economical price point, but these paints are also easy and fun to use!

In the world of watercolour painting, there are two main grades of paint that can be used - Professional and student. Professional grade paints offer a higher quality pigment with greater colour intensity and vibrancy, making them suitable for more detailed artwork. They tend to have higher costs, however, so they may not be ideal for a beginner painter. Student-grade paints are much cheaper but have a lower pigment concentration, making them best for practising and learning about watercolour effects without breaking the bank.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Watercolour Paint Colour

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a watercolour paint colour:

  1. Hue: The hue of the paint colour is its basic colour identity, such as red, blue, or yellow. When selecting a hue, consider its saturation, or intensity, as well as its value, or darkness or lightness.
  2. Transparency: Watercolour paints vary in their transparency, which affects how light passes through the layers of paint. More transparent colours allow for more layers and subtler colour variations.
  3. Lightfastness: The lightfastness of a colour refers to how resistant it is to fade over time. Some colours, particularly those made from organic pigments, may fade more quickly than others.
  4. Granulation: Some watercolour pigments have a granulating effect, which creates interesting textures and patterns as the paint dries. This can be an appealing characteristic for some artists.
  5. Staining: Staining colours have a higher level of permanence and can be difficult to remove from a surface once they have been applied. This can be an advantage for some techniques, such as washes.
  6. Colour mixing: Finally, consider how the paint colour will mix with others. A colour that mixes well with others can expand your range of options and give you more control over your final outcome.

By considering these key factors, you can choose watercolour paint colours that will help you achieve the effects you want in your artwork.

Get Started with Watercolour Painting

Looking to get started with watercolour painting? We have some ideas for you in our Mastering Watercolour in 3 Easy Steps guide, as well as some Popular Watercolour Techniques that every artist needs to know. Also check out our roundup of the Best Watercolour Brushes in 2023 you'll need for your masterpiece. 

FAQ - Watercolour Paint

What materials are needed to use watercolour paint?

To use watercolour paint, you will need watercolour paints, a range of brush sizes, water, and a painting surface (e.g., paper).

How do you mix different colours of watercolour paint?

To mix different colours of watercolour paint, you can either directly combine the two paints or add one colour to an existing tone by using a damp brush. For best results, it's important to gradually mix the colour for subtle shades and hues.

How long does the average watercolour painting take to complete?

With watercolour painting, the amount of time required to create a masterpiece varies greatly depending on the intricacy and size of your work as well as your proficiency. Though it can take anywhere from just one afternoon to multiple days for most artworks, ultimately each creation is worth its weight in gold!

What types of paper and surfaces are suitable for painting with watercolour paint?

Watercolour paper is generally the best surface for creating a painting with watercolours, but other surfaces such as cardstock and illustration board can also be used if they are primed with gesso beforehand. Additionally, some papers are specifically designed for certain effects when used in combination with this type of medium; these include hot press paper, cold press paper, and rough press paper, which all give distinctive outcomes when used appropriately with adequate technique.

What techniques can be used when applying watercolour paint?

When applying watercolour paint to create a painting, there are numerous techniques that can be employed depending on what is desired as an end result. These include the wet-on-wet technique, where multiple layers of wet paint blend together freely; the brush technique, where thick pigments are applied over dry areas; glazing, which involves controlling large swaths of colour through thin layers; wet into wet blending, which combines darker tints into brighter pigment tones; layering to define details while retaining luminosity; scumbling, which is layering lightly opaque washes over an already painted area; and isolating by carefully adding white highlights around edges or shapes.

How long do watercolours last once they have been applied?

If properly cared for, finished paintings made with watercolours have been known to hold their original vibrancy for centuries or even longer given archival storage conditions such as keeping them out of direct sunlight or in cool temperatures away from moisture sources like bathrooms, which can promote mould growth on artwork if left unchecked over time.

How do you protect a finished painting made with watercolours?

To protect finished artworks made with watercolours, it is important to use an Acid-Free/Archival mat or frame. Additionally, the artwork should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from sources of moisture, such as bathrooms. If the painting is stored in a frame, it should be sealed off from the wall surface behind it to prevent any air circulation from degrading the paint over time.


With so many options for watercolour paints, it can be tricky to determine which is the best fit; however, there are certain criteria that should not be overlooked when making your choice. Artist-grade quality, transparency, vibrancy, and lightfastness are important features that can impact the final outcome of your artwork. By exploring the latest offerings in the market, we can identify some of the top watercolour paints of 2023. Ultimately, the best watercolour paints are those that help you achieve your artistic vision and express yourself through the vibrant and fluid medium of watercolour. With the right tools, techniques, and creativity, you can unlock the full potential of watercolour paints and create stunning and timeless works of art.