Packed full of pigment with organic binders, watercolors in tubes are a beautiful, convenient paint, providing saturated color with consistent results. The paints may be used straight from the tube for optimal color saturation; they may also be mixed with water for lighter hues and washes. Because the pigment load is high for these paints, they apply vibrantly. They also mix well, creating a full spectrum of amazing color. The binder in these paints traditionally is gum arabic, which is a tree sap; some formulas include honey and other natural ingredients. Most watercolors may be reactivated with water after they dry. Neatly packed in their small, portable tubes, they are perfect for painting en plein air or on the move.
1. Daniel Smith Introductory Watercolor Set
Daniel Smith’s highly pigmented watercolor paints are mixed by hand using the highest-quality pigments suspended in pure, premium gum arabic binder. The pigments are more finely ground than other watercolor pigments; they’re also permanent and lightfast, rated at LR I or II. On close inspection, the particles of pigment, sourced from all over the world, glimmer and shine. The paints apply in clear, clean washes for excellent transparency—even when layered, and even when applied straight from the tube. This set includes six 5-milliliter tubes of primary colors: two yellows, two reds, and two blues. Most colors can be created by mixing these six. If these aren’t enough, Daniel Smith offers 240-plus colors, including some that are unique to the company. These amazing paints will become your favorites and are well worth every penny.
2. ShinHan Professional Watercolor Paint
Do you want beautiful, vibrant watercolors at an affordable price? ShinHan’s Professional Watercolors are the paints for you. ShinHan selects the best organic and mineral pigments available from around the world, and most of their paints are created with single sourced pigments. The pigments are mixed with high quality gum arabic for a highly adhesive paint. The hues are based upon the Munsell color system, Natural Color System (NCS), and the Ostwald System: their full range of 72 hues are ideal for artists, designers, and illustrators learning these wonderful and useful color theory systems. This set offers a full range of 24 basic colors. The paints apply transparent in thin washes; most colors are opaque when applied straight from the tube. The paints mix well, offering a full spectrum of colors. They are formulated to be rewetted after they dry on paint palettes, paint trays, and paper to reactivate the paint. The paints are not chalky; they dry vibrant and true. ASTM-4236 certified, the paints are safe and non-toxic and perfect for young artists and more advanced watercolor painters. With ShinHan’s Professional Watercolors you’ll create dramatic paintings with their vibrant colors.
3. Darice Studio 71 Watercolor Painting Set
Darice’s Studio 71 watercolor painting set appeals to teachers everywhere: affordable watercolor paints with high quality extras, ideal for their serious painters of all ages. This set include 24-12ml tubes of traditional artist colors; the set has 12 colors with two tubes of paint for each color. The paints are made with good, solid pigments and gum arabic: not to fancy but great for those learning how to use watercolors or for more serious student artists. The set includes three round paint brushes of various sizes; the brushes are well made and sturdy. Also included are two pencils (2B and HB), one eraser, one pencil sharpener, one watercolor paint palette, and 24 sheets of watercolor paper, all within a sturdy, well designed wooden carry case. Everything to give the special young — or not-so-young — artist in your life a case full of watercolor possibilities.
4. Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set
Looking to try your hand at watercolor paint with a full range of pigments, but don’t want to break the bank? Van Gogh’s watercolor paint set offers ten eye-popping, premium colors at affordable price. The paints are made from premium quality raw materials, but the paint set’s most expensive pigments are replaced high-quality analogous pigments. Featuring pure pigments, the paints are extremely easy to mix and to create subtle washes. The purity and consistent viscosity ensures the paints are easy to mix and use with a wide variety of watercolor techniques. The paints are rated with the highest degree of lightfastness; they will not fade or shift in color over time. Extremely transparent, these paints layer well and maintain intense color with diluting. They are not chalky but dry vibrant. This set includes 10 basic colors; Van Gogh watercolors are available in 72 colors for when you need or want more of their brilliant rainbow of colors.
5. M. Graham & Co. Watercolor Paint
Painting with M. Graham’s watercolor paints is like sitting in a comfortable arm chair, setting colors free with each brush stroke. M. Graham’s paints are a specialized blend of premium pigments, pure gum arabic, and natural blackberry honey. The paints are creamy and easy to mix and dilute. The honey within the paint absorbs water from the air, preventing the paint from hardening in the tube or on the palette. The paints reactivate and dilute easily, even after months of disuse. The honey and its moisture ensure the paint applies easily, maintaining high pigment concentrations. The paint’s formula is ecological and does not rely on preservatives — a plus for environmentally conscious painters. M. Graham is a small company in Oregon, and they are committed to producing the best quality paints using environmental processes and practices: no toxic solvents within the paints, and no toxic chemicals are used within the manufacturing of the paints. Their care in all aspects of the paint is evidence while painting with it, an absolute dream to apply the intense colors. Washes are lovely and can be applied in many transparent layers. The paints are transparent even straight out of the tube. They mix well with other premium brands such as Daniel Smith’s watercolor paints. M. Graham’s Basic 5-Color set includes: ultramarine blue, permanent alizarin crimson, sap green, burnt sienna, and azo yellow, a wide range of saturated colors which mix well to create a rainbow of hues. The tubes in this set are large: 1/2 oz. (15ml) tubes — ample paint to provide hours, days, and years of pure painting joy. But if five colors are not enough, M. Graham offers 70 hues. Each hue has its gouache counterpart, if opaque colors are also needed to create your next masterpiece.