Many watercolor painters start out with plastic palettes, which can be flimsy and are bad for the environment. A porcelain palette can upgrade your painting process. Not only does porcelain look and feel more attractive, but it can also improve the performance of your paints. Spread on plastic, watercolors tend to bead, separating into annoying pools. On smooth porcelain, pigments stick together for easier mixing. Cleaning a porcelain palette is also much easier—all you need is warm water and a sponge—and the surface won’t stain as plastic does. Once you try painting with a porcelain palette, you’ll probably leave plastic behind for good.
1. Easyou Mixing Palette
This pretty yet practical palette checks off all the boxes. It’s not too big and not too small, managing to fit six sizable wells around a generous central mixing area. Made of porcelain from Jingdezhen, known as the “porcelain capital” of China, the palette is smooth to the touch and is glazed white so your paint will appear true to their colors. Each surrounding section is roomy enough to fit two paint dabs, so you can work with a dozen colors at once, and they’re deep enough to hold pools if you want to work with more fluid.
2. Jack Richeson Palette
A palette that will be the pièce de résistance of your work surface, this hefty porcelain beauty was designed by the renowned painter Stephen Quiller. It measures 13 x 13 inches and features 24 pans circling a mixing area plus eight additional corner wells—an arrangement intended to help artists organize pigments according to a color wheel. Note that this is as heavy as a palette is likely to get, weighing in at 7 pounds, but unlike other palettes, this one will stay put on your table. It’s a pricey item, but one that will last a lifetime.
3. Creative Mark Paint Palette
This flower-shaped pick is similar to Easyou’s product, but it’s slightly smaller and therefore perfect for artists who work on small or crowded surfaces. (It’s also adorable enough to leave out on your desk even when you aren’t painting.) Made of white English glazed porcelain, it measures 4¾ inches in diameter and features seven wells of the same size. Despite its compactness, the palette can actually hold a substantial amount of color since each well has a decent depth. It also has surprising weight to it, so it won’t move when accidentally bumped.
4. ETCHR Mini Palette
Artists who paint en plein air or travel often with their watercolors should consider this mini porcelain palette, which is even smaller than Creative Mark’s product. You get two palettes, both circular and just 3 inches in diameter, that stack for neat storage in an airtight metal tin you can slip into a pocket. One holds 37 color wells set in pleasing concentric circles; the other is for mixing and features seven larger wells. Because it is designed to be super portable, this palette is best for artists who work small. The tiny wells hold just a little pigment, and you’ll only be able to dip small brushes into them.
5. ROSENICE Palette Tray
This rectangular palette features a traditional setup. It features five round wells and five gently sloped, rectangular ones so you can dispense your pigments in one section and dilute them properly in another. It’s a nice size, too, measuring 7½ inches wide and just over 4½ inches long, and the ceramic feels solid and substantial. Although the modest number of wells limits your color options, this palette provides just the right amount of space to prepare and work with your watercolors.