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Old 11-20-2018, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default Brands of quality watercolors?

My niece will be turning 16 next month and has asked for watercolors for her birthday. I can't afford to spend a fortune, but I want to get her quality art supplies. She loves to draw so I have gotten her charcoal pencils before and when I found a set of 132 Prismas NIP at a local thrift shop, they became hers. She has a set of watercolor pencils I gave her last year.

Palette? Tube?

Suggestions please!
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:43 AM   #2
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I just bought a set of Arteza half-pan WC paints. There was a lightening deal on Amazon, so my total was $23 and a few cents.

I have only made swatches with the color, but they are easy to use. I know a have seen a video on them from The Frugal Crafter. Maybe there are others out on You Tube. Seems everybody likes the Gansai Tambi, but I wasn't sure I would love paint and didn't want to spend as much money.

Good luck with your choices. I think paper makes a difference. There are a lot of WC paper brands out there.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:16 AM   #3
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I got this set at Art Supply Warehouse. https://www.cheapjoes.com/winsor-new...RoClIoQAvD_BwE They are nice and smooth and refillable from tubes. They are supposedly art student grade.

Honestly, for a 16 year old, I wold probably go with something like this until she knew she loves it and wants to make it an art form. https://www.amazon.com/Dyvicl-Waterc...33955812&psc=1

Kristina Warner did a review of them and said they were pretty good. She did not love the brush and thought the ones right at the hinge were a bit hard to reach, but for the price they were good.
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:16 PM   #4
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This one on Amazon has good reviews as to the quality of the paints.

https://www.amazon.com/MeiLiang-Wate...899B8KWF20V0MC
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:24 PM   #5
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I personally can recommend the Kuretake Gansai tambi watercolors (36). I got them via Amazon for $33ish I think. They also have the smaller sets at Hobby Lobby. Nice variety of colors. Using the tubes are more cumbersome To me, especially if you don’t know if you will enjoy water coloring much. If I ever buy the tube ones, I like the Daniel Smith ones.
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:08 PM   #6
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Everyone has posted great suggestions, don’t think you could go wrong with any. I’d suggest a Winsor Newton Cotman pan set, choose number of pans depending on your budget. I know Amazon offers a 24 pan set for around $36.00. I do love Kuratake Gansai Tambi watercolors, but you want to buy watercolors that are the closest to artist grade color, transparency, and performance. She’ll be able to more accurately apply color theory and mixes will be less likely to muddy. They use traditional watercolor names that make learning easier.
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Old 11-22-2018, 01:07 PM   #7
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I agree that Winsor & Newton Cotman would be really nice, and pans can be added. Many years ago it was suggested by an instructor as a good starter set. Pans can be in field sets too, which is fun. Just as a starting point, Dick Blick shows quite a few in the thumbnails you can click on:

https://www.dickblick.com/products/w...saAqs9EALw_wcB

Lots of people like Kuratake Gansai Tambi, so that’s a possibility too, or even Sakura Koi for less $$. I had the Kuratake but fought with it so gave it away, but I’m weird, liking a really expensive watercolor brand as well as one that’s extremely cheap, so my vote shouldn’t count.

Last edited by bjeans; 11-23-2018 at 06:12 AM.. Reason: autospell
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:42 AM   #8
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Can't go wrong with Winsor Newton student grade watercolour set. Lots of colours for a reasonable price.
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:50 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone!
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Old 11-28-2018, 03:25 AM   #10
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I have the little Cotman (good student grade brand from W&N) Pocket Sketcher set. It has 12 or 14 half pans in an adorable and practical case. I got it at Joann’s with a coupon a few years ago for a reasonable price, and I really like it. The refill tubes are also easy to find and affordable.
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:44 AM   #11
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I have 3 recommendations; in watercolor, paper is the most important factor in getting a good result. A good brush is next. And if you have those two quality items, you can get good results with a cheaper set of watercolors.

Paper: I recommend a pad of Arches cold-press 140 lb. You can get this at Michaels or Hobby Lobby with a coupon for about $12.00. For reference, here's a link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arches-Waterc...+lb+cold+press

Brush: I recommend a Silver Brush Black Velvet #8 round; here's a link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Brush-3000S-8-Squirrel-Risslon-x/dp/B004BNAIHW/ref=sr_1_2?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1543407182&sr=1-2&keywords=silver+brush+black+velvet+watercolor+brus hes%2C+short+round+8

Watercolors: a Sakura Koi set; these are top level student grade paints; it has a removable mixing palette that hooks on either side of the case. For reference: https://www.amazon.com/Sakura-XNCW-2...atercolor+sets

So for less than $45, you have a gift any art student would be thrilled to receive, beginner or advanced.
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:50 AM   #12
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Strongly agree: Good paper makes or breaks watercolors, especially for a student. Buying student grade paper is the quickest way to discourage a newbie when it inevitably yields poor results.Also, the Silver Brushes Black Velvet line are easily available and give a very good result for a beginner.
Probably should have just said "Me Too" to the previous post from Linda E!
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:56 PM   #13
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Thanks ladies! I had my mom help my pick out some good brushes for her. I know how frustrated I was tole painting years ago when my aunt gave me her "used" brushes. There wasn't much "use" left in them.

I had picked up a Strathmore paper pad for her, but I should be able to exchange it for a better brand.
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:19 PM   #14
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In a “live” on-line sketch/watercolor class, suddenly I couldn’t do a simple assignment, and after struggling, it finally dawned on me the paper wasn’t my go-to Canson. I had grabbed some cut up pieces of Strathmore that were in my stash.

Later, one of the other students said she was having a difficulty and I asked which paper she was using. It was Strathmore.

Both Canson and Strathmore are inexpensive papers, relatively speaking. Some people like one much more, some the other.

When making cards with just a bit of watercolor I still sometimes use Canson, but Arches is the cat’s meow.

This isn’t a put-down of Strathmore at all, just natural differences in peoples’ preferences, like for watercolors themselves. For anything, almost!
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:56 AM   #15
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Not sure if you are still deciding, but just wanted to add my husband has been using the Grumbacher Deluxe for over 25 years. He bought them the first time in Germany while in the Army, and has been buying them ever since. They are available at Dick Blick.

Grumbacher Watercolor Pan Sets - BLICK art materials
I see they have opaque and transparent. Not sure what each one is better for, he has the opaque.
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