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Old 06-06-2019, 05:55 PM   #1
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Default Watercolor product question - want opinions

Hi!
As a birthday gift to myself I want to upgrade the quality of watercolors that I have in my stash. I was ready to buy Altenew’s watercolors after watching Jen McQuire’s video about how they were “watercolors for non watercolorers”. Of course they are out of stock EVERYWHERE! Which lead me to doing web searches on what watercolor brands were blogger favorites.

My question for WC experts here on SCS is this: i am considering a set of Daniel Smith handpoured half-pan set of 15 colors (Simon Says Stamp’s) for $99 plus shipping OR a set of Winsor Newton Professional (not Cotman student) 24 half pan set for $114 free ship (Amazon).
Of these 2, which would be the smart one to go with? Why would you choose one over the other?
And of course the next question is, what brand/set would you recommend and why?
I really am looking for guidance on this since it involves a good amount of $$.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me with my decision.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:23 AM   #2
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The frugal crafter has several wc reviews: The Frugal Crafter Blog | Groovy craft projects, crafty recipes and other artsy stuff. YT link in posts.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:53 AM   #3
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Daniel Smith is my favorite brand of watercolors. However, I purchased one of the hand poured watercolor half pan sets and do not like the plastic case they come in. The case does not lay flat when opened, so you can not use it to mix colors. (It is hard to believe that Daniel Smith would have released
such a poor quality pan.) If you want to try Daniel Smith paints, I would suggest you purchase a dot card so you can try out the paints to see if you like them.
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:35 PM   #4
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I often thought if I had the money id try Dr PH Martin liquid watercolors. Michaels carries them so I'm thinking someday with a 50% or 60% coupon.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:16 PM   #5
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Aack, I lost my post! I'll try again!

Just my opinion, Susy!

First thing I would look at is the quality of paints, and you already chose two that are great quality. A few artist quality colors are worth more than many student grade colors.

Next, my choice is for colors that provide great mixing capabilities over many single-use colors. I can't make that choice for you, but in general, if the colors are single pigments rather than mixtures, they will mix better. Pigments are labeled on the tube or on the paper on the pan with letters and numbers like PB7 or PO33 or the like. I would not choose a set if all, or almost all, of the colors have multiple pigments in them, and especially not if they have PW100 or PW24 in a lot of the colors. It is a white filler. I don't think that those you chose would fall in that category.

Daniel Smith makes a great mixing palette of colors in the Jane Blundell Ultimate Mixing Palette. It is 15 outstanding colors in half pans and sells at many places online for around $75.

One of the best resource pages I have found for creating a great mixing palette is this page: Building your palette of colours - Jane Blundell - Artist
I prefer selecting my paints in tubes since that is what I already have. But I am considering something more compact than my current palettes (I have two) so that I can travel with them, and pans would work well in that situation.

I must give a caveat...I've been trained in color mixing and so that is why I have limited palettes (there are repeats in the two I have) and I mix my colors. One can do a lot with six primary colors and 4 earth colors...make about any color you want to create! That's better, in my mind, than having 100-200 pans of color in one...or two...or ten...palettes. I confess, though, to liking some specially mixed colors (by Terry Harrison) and several single-pigments that are harder to mix or only available in one or another brand. So I have more than ten colors.

Well, I hope I got all the info I originally had...and this time I'll click on "post" before I hit the back arrow.
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Last edited by fionna51; 06-07-2019 at 09:27 PM..
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:23 AM   #6
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I have been a watercolourist for many years and have always used Windsor Newton and been very satisfied with the results.
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:40 AM   #7
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Thanks to each of you for responding to my question. Dianne, you have helped me immeasurably with the info you provided. Thank you for taking the time to do that!
I have zip-zero-nada knowledge about color mixing, etc, but I am willing to learn by doing. I have played with the Daniel Smith WC dots sheets (even have the 238 all-inclusive set!!!), and I have appreciated the transparency and ease of stroking the color on to paper. I knew I wanted to own some of these but the question has always been, what colors do I get to have a good basic set that can create the colors I want when needed.
Thank you for the info and link about the Jane Blundell set, I will definitely check it out. I will pop back in here if I have questions after looking at it.

Mucho thanks, everyone!
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Noofy View Post
I have been a watercolourist for many years and have always used Windsor Newton and been very satisfied with the results.
What is your opinion on the Winsor Newton Professional WC set that has 24 colors?
https://www.dickblick.com/products/w...olor-pan-sets/
The link shows the colors in the set....are the colors included ones that you use regularly or would find useful if you had?

I have watched several video reviews of the WN Professional series and they all remark on how easily the WC accept a wet brush without having to prewet the pans, and how beautifully the colors flow on quality WC paper. Has that been your experience as well?
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:40 AM   #9
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I liked Diane’s answer. I am not a watercolorist with much experience. I buy small tubes of DS in the colors I like and put them in pans. I bought a not expensive hinged case on Amazon. Starting over I would take Diane’s advice about Jane B. In choosing mixable colors.

HDP Would you consider letting DS know about their palette being poor quality? I visit their store in Seattle each year. They seem like the kind of company that would want feedback about their products. That’s really disappointing. Also I bought their big set of dot cards on Amazon and painted them out. It really helped me a lot in picking specialty colors.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:08 AM   #10
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I have a variety of brands of paint and the few I have in the Artist line of Winsor & Newton are really nice. You would not go wrong with those.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #11
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The set of 24 is the one I use. I prefer to blend and make my own colours most of the time so I don't need a lot of variations. It's a nice basic set and good for beginners in my humble opinion. LOL
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Noofy View Post
The set of 24 is the one I use. I prefer to blend and make my own colours most of the time so I don't need a lot of variations. It's a nice basic set and good for beginners in my humble opinion. LOL
Thanks for responding to my question about the WN professional (artist)set of 24. You answered my unasked question on whether these colors lend themselves to blending to make custom colors. They are in my Amazon saved-for-later list waiting to jump into my cart.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:57 PM   #13
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I am not a watercolorer, but I LOVE to see Debbie Hughes' work. Her blog is Limedoodle, and she talks about different brands and types, and had a post this week about Gouache, which interests me.
She has a lovely accent when you watch her videos. I think, on Youtube, also.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:31 AM   #14
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I love Jane Blundell - definitely get on her email list for lots of information about watercolor brands, pigments, and essentials!

My favorite paints are the QoR line from Golden, to throw another brand into the mix... but I do have some Daniel Smith paints I can't live without, particularly the granulating Lunar ones - love them.

I would not buy the DS set from SSS, just because of their markup - I see it at $75 from Ellen Hutson and Blick. Also check with Lydia about her Daniel Smith splits - she has a group on Facebook with lots of options for color sets.
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:01 AM   #15
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Dina, thanks for the tip about QoR watercolors. I will definitely check them out.
Thanks, too, for the advice about better prices on the DS at places other than SSS.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
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The frugal crafter has several wc reviews: The Frugal Crafter Blog | Groovy craft projects, crafty recipes and other artsy stuff. YT link in posts.

Thanks for sharing my blog! Given the 2 choices I'd go with the Windsor & newton set because the tin it comes in is more useful and it has a fabulous range of colors. That said consider how you will be using it. Many qualities that make watercolor desirable for artists painting on watercolor paper are not going to work as well if you are working on cardstock and other papercraft supplies. Altenew works well for paper crafters because it can function highly on cardstock due to the fillers and extenders added to the paint and the convenience of colors. The artist grade will grow with you as you learnt to mix and if you want to create watercolor paintings but one of the cheaper sets with lots of premixed colors might suit you better for cardmaking. I know I reach for cheaper watercolors when papercrafting, not because I think cards don't deserve the "good stuff" but because the cheaper stuff works better on cards and the paper in art journals. Also, when we spend a lot of money it can make the supply feel "precious" and we can be afraid to waste it. Pick a set you can use with gusto and most importantly give yourself time to learn the nuances of the paint. Enjoy your new set!
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsaymay View Post
Thanks for sharing my blog! Given the 2 choices I'd go with the Windsor & newton set because the tin it comes in is more useful and it has a fabulous range of colors. That said consider how you will be using it. Many qualities that make watercolor desirable for artists painting on watercolor paper are not going to work as well if you are working on cardstock and other papercraft supplies. Altenew works well for paper crafters because it can function highly on cardstock due to the fillers and extenders added to the paint and the convenience of colors. The artist grade will grow with you as you learnt to mix and if you want to create watercolor paintings but one of the cheaper sets with lots of premixed colors might suit you better for cardmaking. I know I reach for cheaper watercolors when papercrafting, not because I think cards don't deserve the "good stuff" but because the cheaper stuff works better on cards and the paper in art journals. Also, when we spend a lot of money it can make the supply feel "precious" and we can be afraid to waste it. Pick a set you can use with gusto and most importantly give yourself time to learn the nuances of the paint. Enjoy your new set!

Thanks SO much for popping in on this discussion. You have given me some valuable information to consider. I had NO clue that the Altenew WC (and other inexpensive sets) were designed to perform on regular cardstock. That makes them definitely worth considering for that reason alone.
I switched to using WC paper for any of my cards that have watercoloring on them for the simple reason that I had horrible results using any of the WC products I had on regular card stock. I didn’t realize that certain WC would yield an acceptable result on card stock as opposed to WC paper.

By the way, I have enjoyed watching several of your video reviews. They are helpful as well as fun to watch!
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:43 PM   #18
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I started taking watercoloring lessons a couple of years ago..I was started on DaVinci
watercolors in small tubes. Only ones I have every used...love them
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:17 PM   #19
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Susy, Lydia (understandblue) does a Daniel Smith watercolor split - an economical way to get the paint. I think she has a FB page for this.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Susy, Lydia (understandblue) does a Daniel Smith watercolor split - an economical way to get the paint. I think she has a FB page for this.
Thanks for the tip. I follow Lydia here on SCS and enjoy her tutorials. I’ll check out her product shares!
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