From their satisfying flow to their calming results, watercolor paints are among the most widely embraced media. Easily invigorated with just a bit of water, they are also among the most accessible. A little usually goes a long way: watercolor sets have a long shelf life, and pigments can be reactivated even when dry. As a bonus, watercolor paint is easy to wash off, making every painting session stress-free. There are many ways to use watercolors. Brands offer pigments in paint tubes, paint cakes, and even inside brushes. Review our picks for the product that works best for you.
1. Arteza Watercolor Paint Set
The chief asset of this set is the sheer number of colors you get—60—which means you don’t have to spend a lot of time mixing colors. Placed in trays that stack neatly in a box, the five dozen 12ml paint tubes come in vibrant hues from lavender to sap green. To help you decide which colors will work best for your projects, each tube is printed with the paint’s transparency level. One potential downside: Squeezed onto a palette, these paints tend to get chalky when they dry, which might bother artists who prefer little granulation and more of a matte finish to their masterpieces.
2. Crafts 4 All Watercolor Paint Set
This compact paint set features 12 tubes of basic colors, including blues, greens, reds, and yellows. The small assortment will require that you experiment with mixing if you want more shades, but the highly pigmented material is easy to work with and blends well. The paint also dries nicely without flaking, so you can reconstitute it without losing any of its quality. Crafts 4 All’s set also includes three paint brushes, one of which has a super-thin point.
3. Aem Hi Arts Watercolor Paint Set
You’ll find everything you need to start painting immediately in this set: 24 paint tubes, a plastic palette, a 12-sheet watercolor paper pad, and three good-quality brushes—one round, one flat, and one fine-tipped. The pigments are strong and long-lasting and go on smoothly once hydrated. And there’s no need to worry about a gritty or chalky finish once your works are dry. Because the paints have no odor, this is also a great option for artists who are sensitive to smell.
4. Sophie’s Art Supplies Premium Watercolor Brush Pens
If you aren’t too keen on the mess that standard watercolor sets often make, consider watercolor brush pens instead. These writing implements combine pigment, palette, brush, and hydration source in a single tool. This set of 48 brush pens features bold and bright ink that flows easily from soft bristles. After applying the paint, you then use the included pair of blending pens, which feature refillable water reservoirs, to create your desired saturations and transparencies. The pens are easy to control, allowing you to produce both broad and fine lines in brilliant hues.
5. Winsor & Newton Water Colour Paint Brush Pen Set
Small enough to fit in your pocket, this beautifully designed watercolor set is something you won’t want to leave behind on your travels. It includes a dozen watercolor cakes in a minimal white case that flips open to function as a palette with six paint pans. Simply hydrate the pigments with the included small brush, which features its own water reservoir. You need just one small drop: the cakes may look tiny, but they provide strong color saturation. Though there are only 12 colors, you can easily mix them to produce many other shades.